26 September 2012

As individual port states begin imposing their own national ballast water treatment rules, Gearbulk and many other ship owners are concerned about a patchwork of compliance regimes. They fear these regimes will overtake the International Maritime Organisation's efforts to standardise ballast water treatment requirements.

"Gearbulk is closely monitoring all environmental regulation developments, and as always, our objective is to exceed compliance mandates," explained Sjur Gjerde, Managing Director of Gearbulk Norway which manages Gearbulk's owned fleet.

IMO is expected to introduce an International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments within the next couple of years. Phase I requires ballast water exchange in deep water. Phase 2 will require the treatment of ballast water to ensure that the number and size of living organisms in the ballast water are within prescribed limits.

Mr Gjerde discussed these issues today as a member of the opening panel at Informa Maritime's second annual Green Ship Technology Asia conference in Singapore.

"Over the last two years we have evaluated many ballast water treatment systems in anticipation of the IMO's international convention. This is a costly undertaking," Mr Gjerde said. "We are concerned that when the IMO's final requirements are enacted, they will not be stringent enough to meet individual national standards, for example in the US.

"It is important that the IMO regulations are ratified including the implementation time line. If the IMO process is further delayed and the shipping industry is perceived to be dragging its feet, we can expect to see more unilateral port state regulations being imposed."