Regulation is welcome but should be measured and wise

INTERCARGO is committed to a safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly dry cargo shipping industry and support for free and fair competition.

INTERCARGO held its Technical and Executive Committees’ meetings in Singapore recently.  It re-iterated its commitment to a safe, efficient, high quality and environmentally-friendly dry cargo shipping industry and support for free and fair competition.

Casualties investigation

The Secretariat published its annual Bulk Carrier Casualty Report covering the period 2008-2017. In 2017, there were the tragic losses of M/V Stellar Daisy, carrying an iron ore cargo, and M/V Emerald Star, with a nickel ore cargo.  These losses raised questions of structural integrity and safety condition of high density cargoes carried on board.
These two bulk carrier casualties caused the loss of 32 seafarers, the highest annual loss of lives since 2011.
INTERCARGO expects the full investigation reports will provide answers to the questions and highlight lessons learnt.


On the implementation of the 0.5% sulphur cap for ships’ bunkers from 2020, INTERCARGO is highlighting transitional issues.  These include availability and safety aspects of compliant fuels, and incidents of non-availability of low sulphur bunkers at certain ports.
INTERCARGO encourages the effective implementation of the “2020 Sulphur Cap” regulation yet with a pragmatic approach.
A reasonable and measured enforcement of the Regulation during an initial transitional period would thus be welcome instead. INTERCARGO raises its concerns about challenges faced by shipowners in achieving compliance from 01 Jan 2020, given the bunkers’ supply landscape and widespread uncertainty.
The availability of compliant fuels and their safe consumption are especially of concern.
A drastic step-change can happen in 2020.   Therefore, if there is no smooth transition, there will be great impact.
There will be an impact on trade, economic growth and societies of both developed and developing countries.

Ballast water management

INTERCARGO welcomed the entry into force of the BWM Convention and aspires to its effective implementation.
But early on, our Association had made public the critical challenges faced by the bulk carrier segment of the industry at least. INTERCARGO had invited regulatory provisions, in view of the nonavailability in practice of ballast water systems appropriate for bulkers with gravity top side tanks.
One of the many issues owners and operators faced is the type-approved systems currently fitted onboard vessels.  However, they do not fulfil their purpose, i.e. the D-2 standard.
Instead, Ballast Water exchange is often more effective in achieving the D-2 Standard.
Practical problems remain in retrofitting existing dry bulk ships with BWM systems and operating them.
Implementation challenges also include adequate worldwide support for these systems, the availability of proven systems, which can perform under all conditions, and spares backup.
Achieving the effective implementation of the BWM Convention will require working closely with the manufacturers.
INTERCARGO remains committed to investigating the related problems. The regulation in place should respect the highly capital intensive nature of the industry and avoid distorting the market’s level playing field by marginalising viable and quality bulk carriers.

Port state control transparency

INTERCARGO will continue its efforts to persuade regional MoUs to establish auditing schemes and transparency mechanisms.  There is currently a lack of any self-assessment structures.
The objective is targeting unethical behaviour.  Regional MOUs have not sufficiently addressed this problem.

Bulk ship is workhouse of international trade

Secretary General Dr Kostas G. Gkonis noted  that the bulk ship is the workhorse of international trade.
“We should make sure we do not slay the horse though.
“Regulation is welcome but should also be measured and wise.
“We see regulations being adopted whose implementation cannot be effective.
“Two examples are BWM, with experience building this year, and the bunkers’ Sulphur Cap, where important decisions are also to be taken this year.
“In both cases we have set a deadline without having yet the technologies in the first case or the fuel in the second case to meet the regulatory requirements.”

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