Under the weight of coping with a tsunami of regulations, more dry cargo ship owners are turning to Intercargo in record numbers for support.
Ships registered with the association representing the interest of dry cargo vessel owners rose by half in the January – September, 2017 period to 1,510 units of 138m dwt with over 60 more vessels currently being vetted prior to joining. Full members jumped from 77 to 102 in the period.
“Influx of regulations, especially ballast water system and port reception facilities for cargoes hazardous to marine environment… is contributing to the number of new members,” said Jay K Pillai, vice chairman of Intercargo and fleet director of Hong Kong’s Pacific Basin Shipping, speaking in Athens.
Association chairman, John Platsidakis said: “Intercargo-entered ships continue to outperform industry averages in respect of detentions and deficiencies per inspection.” He noted ships entered were trading worldwide in the larger bulk sector leading the association to express new concern about the practical problems faced when retrofitting existing dry bulk ships with ballast water management systems, and operating them.
While Intercargo welcomes the purpose and the focus of the convention it says implementation challenges are great. This is especially so regarding retrofitting BWM systems, the adequate worldwide support for the systems, the availability of proven / actually performing under all conditions systems, and spares backup.
Speaking in Athens, after the association’s biannual meeting of its executive and technical committee meetings, Platsidakis said BWM was one of the issues addressed “during hot discussions on issues related to the dry bulk sector”.
Intercargo maintains achieving the effective implementation of the BWM convention will require working closely with the manufacturers, “who should consider establishing an association of their own for this purpose”. He said: “Not enough attention has been given to the implementation problem” and the association wants to present these to IMO “so that a practical solution can be found”.
Likewise, implementation of the 0.5% sulphur cap from 2020 for ships’ bunkers, is a concern and Intercargo is promoting the consideration of transitional issues such as “the availability of 0.5% fuel, the impact on machinery systems, verification mechanisms and any regulatory amendments or guidelines required”. “We are here to buy what is available in the market, we don’t have an option as the charterer is dictating the use of the asset, but makers have to produce products that tackle the problem,” said Platsidakis.
“We can’t be marginal operators. We want quality. But who is really responsible for emissions, the shipper or the consumer and this leads to who is paying the bill,” said Platsidakis.
The non-availability of sufficient search and rescue (SAR) capabilities in the vicinity of busy shipping lanes and the lack of urgency in producing casualty investigation reports following an incident is another concern. In the aftermath of the tragic loss of the VLOC Stellar Daisy in the South Atlantic at the end of March, the industry needs to revisit the SAR issue.
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