“Persisting industry challenges remain at the top of the INTERCARGO agenda while its Membership increases drastically”
INTERCARGO’s Technical and Executive Committees held in Athens their semi-annual meetings on 9 and 10 October 2017, along with a well-attended Dinner Reception on the first day. 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 meetings were chaired by Chairman John Platsidakis, Vice Chairman Jay K Pillai and Technical Committee Chairman Dimitris Fafalios. Main topics were the Safe Carriage of Cargoes, the non- availability and adequacy of Reception Facilities for cargo residues and cargo hold washing waters Hazardous to the Marine Environment (HME), Port State Control transparency and anti-corruption practices, operational challenges after the Entry Into Force of the Ballast Water Management Convention, Air Emissions, Design Standards for Bulk carriers and related equipment.
INTERCARGO was deeply concerned at the tragic loss of the VLOC vessel STELLAR DAISY reported on 31 March 2017. In its aftermath, the shipping community should be concerned about the nonavailability of sufficient Search And Rescue (SAR) capabilities in the vicinity of busy shipping lanes (as was the case of STELLAR DAISY in south Altantic) around the world and revisit this issue. INTERCARGO has been stressing the importance of timely submission of the casualty investigation reports to IMO from relevant flag States, as a means of identifying the causes of the incident and enabling corrective actions. Also, the Secretariat published its annual Bulk Carrier Casualty Report covering the period 2007-2016.
PORT RECEPTION FACILITIES (PRFs):
INTERCARGO has been assisting bulk carriers in complying with Annex V and especially the proper treatment of HME cargo residues and hold washings. Feedback from its members have raised a number of issues: Port State Governments need to provide incentives in order for ports and terminals to increase investment in the provision of adequate PRFs; floating plants could be arranged in ports such as barges, in order to reduce discharge times rather than relying on trucks and portable tanks; HME washing water treatment plants need to be located as close as possible to ports or PRFs. INTERCARGO also proposed recently to IMO a “model port reception facilities” concept with the purpose of assisting IMO and its members to have a more consistent and complete idea about adequate PRFs.
INTERCARGO, in relation to Port State Control corruption and the lack of any self-assessment structures, will continue its efforts to persuade regional MoUs to establish auditing schemes and transparency mechanisms with the objective of targeting corruption and misbehaviour within their areas, a problem that has regrettably not been sufficiently addressed so far.
BALLAST WATER MANAGEMENT:
After the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention entry into force on 8 Sept. 2017, INTERCARGO expresses its concerns about the practical problems faced by its members for retrofitting the existing dry bulk ships with BWM systems, and operating them. While it welcomes the purpose and the focus of the Convention, the implementation challenges of the Convention especially concern retrofitting BMW systems, adequate worldwide support for these systems, the availability of proven / actually performing under all conditions systems, and spares backup. Achieving the effective implementation of the BWM Convention will require working closely with the manufacturers to this direction, who should consider establishing an association of their own for this purpose.0
On the implementation of the 0.5% sulphur cap from 2020 for ships’ bunkers, INTERCARGO is promoting the consideration of transitional issues such as the availability of 0.5% fuel, the impact on machinery systems, verification mechanisms and any regulatory amendments or guidelines required. INTERCARGO also participates in the development of the GHG emissions reduction strategy at IMO in collaboration with its industry partners.
A number of new Members joined the Association in 2017 Members and also existing Members have been adding significant number of ships. As a result INTERCARGO in the first three quarters of 2017 has seen the number of its registered ships increasing by 48%, passing the 1,500 ships threshold with a total tonnage of 138 mil. dwt, and its number of Full members increasing by 32%, passing the 100 threshold.
Chairman Mr John Platsidakis said “We are proud that INTERCARGO-entered ships continue to outperform industry averages in respect of detentions and deficiencies per inspection”. INTERCARGO’s commitment to safety, operational efficiency and the environment have become reference themes even more so during the challenging times, when ‘quality’ makes the difference, which is the primary focus of INTERCARGO. “We are very proud and honoured observing the growth of our Association, as it is also indicating that INTERCARGO’s work and participation in international fora is appreciated by its Membership.” Mr Platsidakis added he would encourage the formation of a dry cargo charterers’ assessment scheme which would enable them to promote their quality of performance.
Secretary General Dr Kostas G. Gkonis noted that the criteria for accepting new members have remained high, while the Secretariat will continue monitoring the performance of the INTERCARGO registered fleet and maintain it at the desired levels. INTERCARGO will hold its next meetings in Singapore in March 2018.