Only 7.1% of the global fleet has been fitted with ballast water management systems (BWMS), according to data presented by Clarkson Research Services managing director Stephen Gordon at the 12th Annual Maritime HR Conference (May 24, 2018).

The BWM Convention entered into force on 8 September 2017.

The low level of take-up of BWMS could be due, in part, to delays in the all-important approvals from the US Coast Guard. The number of systems being submitted for approvals is rising, and the wider range of options may spur owners to commit to one system or another for entire fleets.

The Clarkson Research data also showed that only 300 vessels, or 0.3% of the global fleet, are known to be fitted with SOx scrubbers. The issue here seems to be a question of timing. No owner wants to be the first to invest in expensive technology, and there are the practical considerations of coordinating the fitment of new environmental technology with a vessel’s Special Survey.

Speaking off the record, one supplier noted that it is relatively easy to ramp up production of both scrubbers and BWMS; the bottleneck lies in the fixed pool of surveyors, engineers and dry docks experienced in planning and executing fitments. The inference was the longer owners leave the decision, the more difficult it will be to locate resources to execute the task to their required satisfaction.

Clarkson Research Services is the research division of the world’s largest shipbrokers. It boasts over 100 researchers, data compilers and analyst in offices in China, Singapore and London.

(SOURCE: marine propulsion & auxiliary machinery)