Calls for more transparency at BWTT ConferenceTaken from: Marine Propulsion & Auxiliary Machinery news desk, 30 April 2012
A need for greater transparency among regulators, system suppliers and shipowners was the clear message from the first day of Riviera Maritime Media’s Ballast Water Treatment Technology Conference in London, attended by 111 delegates. Dr Joe Thomas, director, ballast water systems Wärtsilä Environmental Solutions, giving the Platinum sponsor’s introduction, said that ratification of the Ballast Water Management Convention is slowly edging forward. He expressed encouragement that the announcement in March by the US Coast Guard on its Final Rules might help clarify the position there in terms of implementation.
Capt Moises De Gracia, technical advisor, Panama Permanent Mission to IMO, in the keynote address, made it clear why Panama is holding back from ratification. “The key sticking point for Panama is trust and especially regarding sampling and testing, the need to know that equipment that is type approved will meet port state control compliance. Universal application of sampling and analysis protocols are important. We want them to be transparent.
”Dr Cato C ten Hallers-Tjabbes, CaTO Marine Ecosystems & North Sea Ballast Water Opportunity Project, said: “Owners need to make informed choices so transparency is necessary for confidence. There is a need for clarity regarding the implementation of standards. Owners need confidence that systems will work to achieve compliance and that standards will be applied consistently. Administrations also need to be transparent in their approach to implementation. Transparency will also help recognise and deal with emerging challenges.
”Jon Stewart, President International Maritime Technology Consultants said that the US will apply its own type approval process but it will be some time before this is in place and even then it is likely to take at least two years for systems to gain approval from initial applications. This means that shipowners will have to select systems without knowing if they will be type approved in the US.
Capt Peter Lundahl Rasmussen, senior marine technical officer, BIMCO expressed full support for the need for greater transparency. “There is also a need for trust, and specifically a need to bridge the gap between equipment type approval and testing for compliance. At the System Suppliers’ Forum, Andrew Marshall, chief executive of Coldharbour Marine said that a contentious issue expressed by some owners is that suppliers all make the same claims for their systems. It is hard for owners to know which technology is most suitable for their ships and which ones work.
He confirmed that some manufacturers have been in discussion about setting up a trade body to develop standardised data sets to inform owners for comparison purposes, but there are questions over the accuracy of some data. “The danger of transparency is that honest suppliers could penalise themselves.
Independent consultant Peter Lockley pointed out that nine different technologies have gained type approval. Owners need to be able to compare reliable data to aid decision making. There is still a lot of incomplete data regarding unit price, downtime needed for installation, costs of chemicals, costs of maintenance and spare parts, crew training and operational requirements. “So there is a need for more transparency from suppliers to enable owners to make decisions.”
In an additional keynote speech Kuba Szymanski, director general, InterManager called for a re-think on some of the fundamentals. Consideration should be given to treating ballast water ashore instead of onboard.
“There is still a lack of information to make decisions. There is a need to discuss everything with all stakeholders. We need to start thinking outside the box and look for other solutions.” Capt Szymanski suggested that this is the latest example of the shipping industry not being sufficiently pro-active and waiting for new regulations before responding. Katherine Stanzel, deputy managing director, Intertanko commented that the only way forward is for manufacturers and owners to work together to meet standards.