Intercargo questions practical implementation of ballast water management convention

Intercargo’s latest submissions to MEPC 71 indicate that it believes that owners and operators of bulk carriers have tougher technical and operational hurdles to overcome in the implementation of the ballast water management convention, compared with owners of other ship types.

While it supports the convention, the Association believes that some of the additional treatment phases associated with UV systems is technically and financially very difficult to do on bulk carriers. This is largely to do with how the existing arrangement would have to be altered.

In bulk carriers, a gravity discharged topside tank is a major feature. However, simple connection of the topside and double bottom tanks is not possible due to the rise in pressure from the additional head of water without additional tank strengthening.

In its submission to MEPC 71, Challenges faced by bulk carrier owners and operators, Intercargo notes that there are issues with gravity discharged tanks and benefits that are gained by them, such as faster ballasting and energy efficiency increases would be lost.

New connections between topside tanks may also have impacts on stability, meaning that these would need to be reassessed.

Intercargo also believes that power requirements directly related to the bulk carrier fleet will make it more difficult for them to fit ballast systems.  In the current fleet there is little spare power to run a BWTS and so on-board power generation and electrical systems may have to be updated.  According to Intercargo this would lead to increased fuel and subsequent air emissions.

In its second proposal to MEPC, Information on the technical and operational challenges of retrofitting ballast water treatment systems on existing bulk carriers, Intercargo states that bulk carriers are more complex when it comes to finding a BWTS that has sufficient treatment capacity equal to the capacity of the ballast pumps.  Accordingly, this gives them less systems to choose from.

The Association also proposes that smaller bulk carriers will be particularly affected by footprint of the BWTS.  Intercargo believes that this could result in the system having to be installed in different locations over the ship, exacerbating installation difficulties and costs, which it also states will have an impact on monitoring and safety.

It proposes that MEPC consider the flexibility in transitioning to the requirements of the convention and suggests a draft amendment that recognises the challenges faced by bulk carriers.


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