Intercargo: Dry Cargo Owners Preparing for Landmark Changes

This year signifies a year for dry cargo owners to prepare their vessels in view of landmark changes in shipping, the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (Intercargo) noted during its meetings in Hong Kong on March 4 and 5, 2019.

The association re-iterated its commitment to a safe, efficient, high quality and environmentally-friendly dry cargo shipping industry and its support for an industry governed by free and fair competition.

At the meeting, Intercargo covered a number of topics, including safe carriage of cargoes and investigation of casualties; air emissions; ballast water management; as well as port reception facilities.

“The importance of investigating incidents and the subsequent publication of casualty investigation reports in a timely manner, in order for lessons to be learnt, cannot be overstressed,” according to Intercargo.

Moisture related cargo shifting, widely referred to as liquefaction, continue to be a major concern for dry bulk shipping. Although there were no reported loss of life or vessel attributed to liquefaction in 2018, the association urged all stakeholders to remain vigilant as cargo liquefaction continues to pose a major threat to the life of seafarers.

While the ship operators need to be especially cautious when loading cargoes (prone to liquefaction) during wet season, as currently being experienced in certain parts of South East Asia, “it is paramount that the shippers and the local authorities fulfil their obligations as required by the IMSBC Code.”

Regarding the 2020 sulphur cap regulation, the association said that it “cannot ignore the safety issues that are likely to arise with this important regulation. The successful, effective and orderly implementation of the regulation rests not only with ship operators but equally with the IMO Member States and with suppliers who need to secure the worldwide availability of safe compliant fuels – a particular problem for ships in the dry bulk tramp trades.”

Additionally, Intercargo said it remains committed to investigating the ongoing practical problems in retrofitting existing dry bulk ships with BWM systems and operating them. Implementation challenges also include adequate worldwide spares and service support for these systems, the availability of proven systems, which can perform under all conditions.

“Achieving the effective implementation of the BWM Convention requires the manufacturers and ship operators to work closely together. We urge the port States not to develop more onerous local requirements for ballast water on top of IMO’s Convention.”

Finally, compliance with the discharge requirements of MARPOL for cargo residues and cargo hold washing water which may be Hazardous to the Marine Environment (HME) depends largely on the availability of adequate Port Reception Facilities (PRFs), the association noted.

“The non-availability and adequacy problems of PRFs unfortunately continue. We would urge a more effective system by IMO for information collection and sharing to ensure compliance.”

“For our industry and our members, 2019 represents a year of preparation for the consumption of 0.5% m/m sulphur content fuel oil. Ship implementation plans should be in place and applied at the earliest opportunity,” Dimitrios J. Fafalios, Intercargo’s Chairman, said.

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