INTERCARGO reaffirms support for free, fair competition

2019 is a year for dry cargo owners to prepare their vessels in view of landmark changes in shipping.

During the recent Executive and Technical Committee meetings in Hong Kong, INTERCARGO 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.

The main topics discussed are outlined below.

  • Safe carriage of cargoes and investigation of casualties. 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.

INTERCARGO urges all relevant administrations, that have not done so, to investigate incidents and publish the reports – especially the one concerning the Stellar Daisy loss has been long expected by the industry.

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, INTERCARGO urges 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.

  • Air emissions.  INTERCARGO of course supports the 2020 Sulphur Cap and its implementation date of 1st January 2020.

However, our Association 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 (involving oil refineries, bunker suppliers and Charterers) who need to secure the worldwide availability of safe compliant fuels – a particular problem for ships in the dry bulk tramp trades.

INTERCARGO welcomed the initial strategy for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) from ships adopted by IMO and continues its participation in the global regulator’s deliberations.

The ambitious objectives that have been set will require in the long term adequate innovative technological solutions, which are non-existent yet, as GHG emissions largely depend on the design and the technology of the constructed ships, their engines and machinery, and the fuels used for propulsion.

So it is crucial that charterers, who have the responsibility about how ships are utilised for the transport work and speeds, along with shipbuilders, engine manufacturers, and fuel suppliers also get involved in IMO’s deliberations.

  • Ballast water management (BWM).  INTERCARGO 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.

  • Port reception facilities.  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 (e.g. per cargo type) Port Reception Facilities (PRFs).

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.

INTERCARGO’s Chairman Dimitrios J. Fafalios said: “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.”

INTERCARGO will hold its next semi-annual meetings in Athens in October 2019.

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