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2016-10-11 13:03:00

The next steps in CO2 reduction for shipping could be determined at the end of October 2016, according to the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA).

The announcements comes on the back of International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) agreement on a new global market-based measure to control Green House Gas (GHG) emissions from international aviation reached last week.

"We are confident that at the end of this month the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will decide on the next steps for shipping," said ECSA President, Niels Smedegaard.

The shipping industry has a mandatory global CO2 reduction regime which has been in force since 2013. IMO will now build on the substantial CO2 reductions already achieved by shipping, introducing a global CO2 data collection system, which will be fully operational by 2018.

Based on the data collected and a real understanding of the emissions, realistic targets for CO2 emission reduction can be set for the sector, according to ECSA.

"We fully support our colleagues at the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in their recent plea to set a timeline for the further reduction of the shipping sector's GHG emissions," Smedegaard said, adding that "it is important that IMO doesn't stop at data collection and effectively responds to the Paris Agreement on climate change."

2016-09-09 13:12:29

Accession by Finland has triggered the entry into force of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention.

The Convention will enter into force on Sept. 8, 2017, marking a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can cause havoc for local ecosystems, affect biodiversity and lead to substantial economic loss.

Under the Convention's terms, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.

"This is a truly significant milestone for the health of our planet," said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

"The spread of invasive species has been recognized as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. These species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend. Invasive species also cause direct and indirect health effects and the damage to the environment is often irreversible," said he.

He added, "The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimize the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships."

Finland's accession brings the combined tonnage of contracting states to the treaty to 35.1441 percent, with 52 contracting parties. The convention stipulates that it will enter into force 12 months after ratification by a minimum of 30 States, representing 35 percent of world merchant shipping tonnage.

The Convention will require all ships in international trade to manage their ballast water and sediments to certain standards, according to a ship-specific ballast water management plan. All ships will also have to carry a ballast water record book and an International Ballast Water Management Certificate. The ballast water performance standard will be phased in over a period of time. Most ships will need to install an on-board system to treat ballast water and eliminate unwanted organisms. More than 60 type-approved systems are already available.  

"The entry into force is a very good step towards clarifying what ships have to deal with in the near and bit farther future," says specialist ballast water management consultant Jad Mouawad. "Many questions remain during the implementation phase: how the revised Type Approval guidelines will be integrated into the retrofit timeline, how ship owners should choose a ballast water treatment system strategically to ensure compliance with the U.S. Coast Guard requirements (that have not yet type approved a ballast water treatment system), what changes will the IMO do to the Convention text besides the timeline changes already agreed to.

"The immediate reaction to the anticipated ratification for us has been a sharp increase in requests for market and feasibility studies for shipowners. Simply put, shipowners are asking us which systems they should buy, how to lay an installation strategy based on their scheduled survey dates, dry docks and so on. I recommend all shipowners to do this homework before starting to buy systems."

2016-09-06 11:37:06

Classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has released two new tools focused on assisting the container ship sector with pressing operational challenges.

The two tools are expected to contribute to safety for the sector and include the Guide for Certification of Container Securing Systems (Container Securing Guide) along with its companion software, and the Guide for Fire-Fighting Systems for On-Deck Cargo Areas of Container Carriers (FOC Guide).

"In today's operating environment, container ship owners must improve performance while maintaining reliability and safety," said Matt Tremblay, ABS Vice President for Container Ships.

As container ships become larger, stack weights increase, and new lashing systems are designed, container ship owners and operators are facing increased challenges to optimize the cargo securing systems on their vessels.

To help address this concern, ABS said it has updated the Container Securing Guide dealing with new procedures for twist lock testing. By year's end, the guide will introduce changes in on-deck container stack load analysis and lashing bridge design load calculations, introducing a methodology to on-deck container stack load analysis to more accurately determine container carrying capabilities.

To facilitate application of the updates to the guide, ABS has developed a software tool known as C-LASH. The tool provides full non-linear direct calculations for load analysis of on-deck container stacks.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements for additional container deck firefighting capabilities went into effect this January. In order to comply with the new regulations, ABS has updated its FOC Guide. According to the classification society, the FOC notation provides additional arrangements that improve capabilities for fighting fires on deck in cargo areas of container carriers.

2016-09-02 17:00:08

China's Port of Shenzhen is planning to introduce a requirement for ships to use fuels with no more than 0.50% while at berth from Oct. 1, 2016, ahead of other key ports in the Pearl River Delta, which are due to implement the requirement on Jan. 1, 2017.

The decision, taken by local authorities, is due to be formally announced by the Shenzhen Maritime Safety Administration (MSA Shenzhen) soon, the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) cited a circular from Huatai Insurance Agency & Consultant Service.

Chinese authorities have unilaterally decided to introduce domestic emission control areas (ECAs) in three coastal regions, requiring ships to use fuels with no more than 0.50% sulphur, initially at berth and then from Jan. 1, 2019 while operating within the designated ECAs. The three areas are the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and Bohai-rim waters.

Eleven key ports were identified within these three ECAs where the low sulphur requirement would take effect from Jan. 2017, and from Jan. 2018 the requirement would be extended to all ports located within the ECAs.

The 0.50% sulphur at berth limit became effective for ships at berth in key ports in the Yangtze River Delta ECA, namely Shanghai, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Suzhou, and Nantong, from April 2016.

Under the Chinese requirement, ships must switch to compliant fuel within one hour of arriving at berth and continue to use it until not more than one hour prior to departure.

As an alternative to using low sulphur fuels, ships can plug into shore power where available.

Towards the end of 2019, the Chinese government is scheduled to determine if the fuel sulphur limit in its domestic ECAs should be reduced to 0.10%. This would bring the Chinese ECA requirements into line with MARPOL Annex VI, the International Maritime Organization regulation.

2016-09-02 13:24:53

Beijing is clamping down further on ship emissions in rulings that could change the shipping industry forever. The Chinese government has come under pressure to act over the dire state of the environment and has already taken sweeping measures against many industries, including shipping with the creation of the nation's first ECAs (emission control areas). It is now going a step further, issuing its first ever set of national standards to curb harmful emissions from the shipping industry.

The standards issued jointly by the Ministry of Environment (MEP) and the country's quality watchdog – the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine – aim to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses and other particulate matter from ships with an engine capacity of over 37 kilowatts.

MEP data claims that the shipping industry contributed 8.4% of the total sulphur dioxide emissions and more than 11% of nitrogen oxide released in 2013.

In the first stage of the new standards, the shipping industry is required to cut emissions of PM10 and PM2.5 by about 70% from the levels in 2016 over the next three years. 20% of the current nitrogen oxide emissions must also be slashed over the same period.

The second stage will see ship operators need to cut another 40% of PM10 and PM2.5 emissions from levels in 2019 and reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by a further 20% from 2020 to 2022, according to the document.

2016-08-12 13:19:17

On Aug. 1, 2016, the European Commission adopted a decision granting recognition to the Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 391/2009 of the European Parliament.

The Deputy Director General MOVE, Mr. Fotis Karamitsos in a letter dated Aug. 5, 2016 conveyed this decision and has extended his compliments to the Indian Register of Shipping.

With this, IRClass joins the elite group of classification societies recognized by the EU.

This recognition confirms IRClass meeting the stringent EU requirements and having a "performant and well-established quality system in place, certified as compliant with relevant statutory and industry standards, currently implemented throughout the organisation."

The approval paves the way for IRClass to now access the very important European market.

2016-08-11 11:35:36

Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry has introduced new tax incentives for shipbuilders and ship repair yards.

The ministry said in a statement that new companies can either opt for pioneer status which comes with a 70% of income tax exemption on statutory income for five years or an investment tax allowance of 60% on the first qualifying capital expenditure incurred within five years.

Malaysia has 100 shipyards, of which six are deemed large. Shipbuilders' heavy focus on offshore-related construction has seen orders dry up in the past couple of years. Within Southeast Asia, Malaysia faces great competition when it comes to shipbuilding with neighbours in Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines all having significant yard facilities.

2016-08-03 13:03:03

Indian seafarers could well start to price themselves out of the market with shock news that the income tax department will now tax them up to 30% of their salaries whether working on local or foreign flagged ships.

Until this month, Indian crew who spent more than six months at sea had enjoyed similar benefits to non-resident Indians, but now following an income tax tribunal in Kolkata that could all change. Tax authorities are also looking at taking tax income from the previous six years.

India is one of the world's largest suppliers of crews to the world's merchant fleet.

Two seafarers associations, the Maritime Union of India (MUI) and the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), are set to challenge the tax tribunal decision.

2016-08-02 16:40:42

Global Shippers' Forum (GSF) has developed a plan to end container shipping surcharges within five years, GSF said during its Annual Meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

GSF is looking to end "the imposition of surcharges on shippers by 2020" through a series of actions "that will expose the scale and injustice of the practice to world trade bodies," said Chris Welsh, Secretary General of the Global Shippers' Forum.

The reasons given for applying a surcharge and the scale of charges are growing, but shippers claim they are not related to the true costs of the service being provided.

Examples of surcharges amounting to US$250 per container, were given by GSF members using Asia-Europe trade routes. The cost can sometimes exceed the contracted price for shipments making the management of total shipping costs unpredictable for cargo owners, GSF said.

"Our campaign will expose the extent of surcharging and make it an issue in future trading agreements," said Welsh.

He added that GSF "is determined to end these practices and restore visibility to shipping rates and confidence to shippers."

2016-08-02 13:26:57

The Italian government led by the prime minister Matteo Renzi is shaking up the national law on ports and ships. The latest Council of Ministers has just approved some important changes dealing with port authorities and the so called motorways of the seas.

Starting with the ports law, the Cabinet said yes to a new regulation aiming at cutting bureaucracy, reviewing a system regulated by a 1994 law and assigning to port authority presidents more managerial tasks. The two main points of the new law are: decrease from 25 port authorities to 15 regional Port System Authorities and transformation of the former Port Committee (which included representatives also of the private stakeholders) into a lighter Management Committee (where the new members will be named only by local political institutions). As for the bureaucratic simplification, the new law establishes that all the administrative port-related procedures will be united in a new Customs and control single window.

Some big changes regard the Italian local cabotage rules too. Following a fierce competition between Grimaldi Naples (on one side) and Tirrenia, Moby and Snav (on the other side) on the motorways of the seas market where some extra-EU seafarers were embarked thanks to tailor-made agreements with labour unions, the minister of transport decided to limit the access to the Italian international registry's fiscal benefits only for the Italy flagged ro-ro and ro-pax ships with 100% Italian or EU crew members onboard on the routes linking two national (continental or insular) ports.

As of today, Italy's government did not amend yet its tonnage tax scheme in order to allow other EU flag ships to access the regime that basically allows for the determination of presumptive income based on the net tonnage of the qualifying ships apportioned to the effective shipping days (tonnage income).

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