Almost a decade after it was initially intended to become effective, the IMO’s 2004 ballast water convention will finally be in force as from 8 September this year.
Shipowners have found a legal loophole that could give them as much as five more years if they take action quickly enough, and while not all flag states are happy with the situation, most are prepared to allow owners to take advantage. If they had not, then there was a very strong possibility that shipowners faced with a big bill would have voted with their feet and switched flags.
There are other developments that will work against system manufacturers also taking place. Countries in Northern Europe and South East Asia are actively looking at the possibility of establishing ‘Same Risk Areas’ in their respective locations which could see ships that trade only in those areas made exempt.
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