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Regulation is welcome but should be measured, says INTERCARGO

Regulation is welcome but should be measured, says INTERCARGO

During its Technical and Executive Committees’ meetings in Singapore on 5 and 6 March, INTERCARGO re-iterated its commitment to a safe, efficient, high quality and environmentally-friendly dry cargo shipping industry and its support, at the same time, for an industry governed by free and fair competition.

Discussions focused on a wide range of topics, including:

Casualties investigation: The Secretariat published its annual Bulk Carrier Casualty Report covering 2008-2017. In 2017, the tragic losses of M/V Stellar Daisy, carrying an iron ore cargo, and M/V Emerald Star, with a nickel ore cargo, raised questions of structural integrity and safety condition of high density cargoes carried onboard. These two bulk carrier casualties caused the loss of 32 seafarers, the highest annual loss of lives since 2011. INTERCARGO and the industry expect that the full investigation reports will provide answers to the questions and highlight the lessons to be learned.

Emissions: INTERCARGO hopes for ambitious yet pragmatic objectives in the development of the IMO GHG emissions reduction strategy in April. On the 2020 0.5% sulphur cap, it encourages effective implementation, yet with also a pragmatic approach, seeking for a reasonable enforcement of the Regulation during an initial transitional period.

INTERCARGO raises its concerns about the practical - technical and operational - challenges faced by shipowners in achieving compliance from 01 Jan 2020, given the bunkers’ supply landscape and widespread uncertainty. The availability of compliant fuels and their safe consumption are especially of concern. A drastic step-change is expected in 2020 and if a smooth transition is not ensured, the impact will be great. There will be an impact on trade, on economic growth and on the societies of both developed and developing countries worldwide.

BWM: The Association welcomed the entry into force of the BWM Convention and aspires to its effective implementation, but highlights critical challenges faced by the bulk carrier segment at least. One of the many issues currently being faced by owners and operators is that there are type approved systems currently fitted onboard vessels that do not fulfill their purpose, i.e. the D-2 standard. Instead, evidence was recently presented at IMO that Ballast Water exchange is often more effective in achieving the D-2 Standard.

Practical problems remain in retrofitting existing dry bulk ships with BWM systems and operating them. Implementation challenges also include adequate worldwide support for these systems, the availability of proven systems, which can perform under all conditions, and spares backup. Achieving the effective implementation of the BWM Convention will require working closely with the manufacturers.

INTERCARGO remains committed to investigating the related problems. The regulation in place should respect the highly capital intensive nature of the industry and avoid distorting the market’s level playing field by marginalising viable and quality bulk carriers.

PSC transparency: In relation to Port State Control transparency and the lack of any self-assessment structures, INTERCARGO said it will continue efforts to persuade regional MoUs to establish auditing schemes and transparency mechanisms with the objective of targeting unethical behaviour within their areas, a problem that has regrettably not been sufficiently addressed by the regional MOUs so far.

Secretary General Dr Kostas G. Gkonis, noted:

It is said that the bulk ship is the workhorse of international trade. We should make sure we do not slay the horse though. Regulation is welcome but should also be measured and wise. We see regulations being adopted whose implementation cannot be effective. Two examples are BWM, with experience building this year, and the bunkers’ Sulphur Cap, where important decisions are also to be taken this year. In both cases we have set a deadline without having yet the technologies in the first case or the fuel in the second case to meet the regulatory requirements.