The International Chamber of Shipping asked the International Maritime Organization to revise ballast water regulations that would require retrofitting of tens of thousands of ships within the next two to three years.
The ICS said its member shipowner associations support the environmental rules on ballast water but are concerned about the implementation schedule and other details.
Those concerns include the availability of suitable ballast water treatment equipment, the “robustness” of the approval process, and bottlenecks that could result from having to retrofit so many ships in a short time.
The IMO’s 2004 Ballast Water Management convention takes effect within the next two years. Existing ships that don’t meet the new standards must be retrofitted, at a cost estimated at between $1 million and $5 million.
The International Chamber of Shipping urged the IMO to allow ships to be retrofitted at their next scheduled five-year special survey instead of immediately. “This would effectively ‘smooth out’ the demand over five years and provide additional time for fitting facilities to meet the already identified very heavy demand,” the ICS said.
The ICS also proposed the IMO exempt older ships approaching their fourth special survey, and allow them to continue to empty ballast water in open sea. Alternatively, the ICS suggested an exemption for ships over 18 years old.