Masamichi Morooka, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), has warned about the dangers of regional maritime regulation being adopted by governments at variance to the global maritime conventions adopted by IMO.
Mr Morooka began by highlighting the big problem caused by the different ballast water treatment regime that applies in the US to that adopted by the IMO through the Ballast Water Management Convention.
Mr Morooka said: “Whether we like it or not, the political reality is that the IMO convention is probably going to enter into force, sooner rather than later, and we therefore have to make it work.
“But the conflicting IMO and US requirements, when combined with the lack of systems fully approved by the US, could produce an impossible dilemma in which some ships might not be able to operate in US waters if the IMO Convention enters in force before US approved equipment is commercially available.”
He added: “The problem is that the United States has adopted a process for the approval of ballast treatment equipment that is different to that adopted by IMO. At the request of the shipping industry, led by ICS, IMO has agreed to make the IMO type-approval process more robust while also advising governments not to penalise shipowners that have installed first generation equipment in good faith. But the US will not be a party to the international convention.”
Under the current U.S. regulations, as applied by the U.S Coast Guard, shipowners that have installed IMO type-approved systems, at a cost of between US$1-5 million per ship, might have to replace the system completely after only five years. This is a particular concern for operators that have installed ultra-violet systems.
Mr Morooka then turned his sights onto the European Union’s decision to pre-empt the current IMO negotiations on a global data collection on shipping’s CO2 emissions by adopting a unilateral, regional regulation on the monitoring, reporting and verification of individual ship emissions – which will also apply to non-EU flag ships trading to Europe – in advance of IMO completing its work.