Ballast Water Summit Planned at Posidonia

File image courtesy Damen

Published Jun 7, 2016 9:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

Posidonia 2016 coincides with the ever-closer approach to ratification of IMO ballast water management requirements: 34.8 of the world's tonnage is flagged in signatory countries, very nearly the required 35 percent to bring the Convention into force next year. In anticipation of the requirement, many BWM system manufacturers are present at the gathering to convince shipowners that now is the time to invest, before shipyards receive a sudden rush of orders for retrofits. 

On Thursday, leading equipment firms and class societies are sponsoring a Posidonia Ballast Water Management Summit to give detailed updates on the status of BWM technology and regulation. Speakers from DNV GL, ABS, BV, Desmi, Headway, OceanSaver, Sunrui and others will discuss the available methods (UV, chlorination, electrolytic, ballast-free vessel designs, and others) and the specifics of meeting local requirements - especially the stringent U.S. Coast Guard mandate for a United States-specific type approval standard, which differs enough from the IMO's certification that no system has yet obtained it. 

About 20 manufacturers have equipment under evaluation at independent labs for U.S. type approval, and some – like Boston-based Ecochlor – expect that they will successfully complete evaluation this summer. Ecochlor even has two American shipowners, Alabama-based International Ship Holding and Liberty Maritime of New York lined up with fleet agreements for its system, and it is in talks with many others. Like other leading firms, it will be present at Thursday's summit as a sponsor. 

U.S. type approvals aside, considerable uncertainty remains over the IMO's implementation of BWM rules. BIMCO has called for clarification to ensure that approved systems meet the standards of the Ballast Water Management Convention – especially in varied water temperature, salinity and turbidity conditions. 65 ballast water treatment systems have received IMO approval, but BIMCO and others have expressed concern that the IMO's testing standards may not be adequate to ensure the proper treatment of ballast water organisms in the conditions found in various ports worldwide. The IMO discussed the issue at MEPC 69, but Secretary General Kitack Lim said that shipowners' concerns "should not stop us from implementing the convention . . . there can be no doubt that we must move to entry into force and implementation."