Navigating New International And Regional Regulations

With the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 sulphur cap regulations now having come in to force on 1 January, there are many more decarbonisation measures expected to come in to force soon, it’s important for everyone involved to know what regulations apply where.

Aside from international regulations, there are also regional regulations also to consider. There are discussions concerning a new Mediterranean emissions control area (ECA), which have started the process for an agreement covering the Mediterranean similar to those in the Baltic and the USA, according to Hellenic Shipping News.

On top of international and regional regulations, more ports are adopting specific rules that mean masters can have difficulties knowing which rules apply at different designations, as well as ports visited on journeys.

It is essential for masters to be knowledgeable of all local regulations. In the US, Port Everglades prohibits the discharge of ballast water, including treated ballast water, within the port, and in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, it is prohibited to clean and paint the hull above the water line, as well as boiler blow down, grey water discharge, and underwater hull cleaning.

There are severe fines for failure to adhere to the many regulations and rules, especially in the US and EU. It has become imperative that there is absolute clarity. These complex rules require advanced and expensive mitigation technologies, such as ballast water treatment systems, and even low sulphur fuel tests, tank cleans and checks to ensure that switching to a more costly fuel is safe and efficient.

With regulations changing, masters will need to be aware of which rules apply in each region, and what actions need to be taken so that the vessel is compliant for all jurisdictions. Many rules will be easier to meet as they are global, enforced in all regions. Other regulations, such as ECAs will need to applied locally. For example, the US has stricter rules for ballast water cleaning than the thresholds set by the IMO.

NAVTOR’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Total Marine Solutions (TMS) offers owners and operators the kind of clarity that is needed to avoid falling afoul of regulatory authorities. The MoU allows for TMS’s Ocean Guardian data to be integrated in to ships navigation systems, meaning masters can be sure their vessel will remain compliant no matter the region.

Ocean Guardian was launched by TMS in 2017, and is designed to simplify the access required to regulations and requirements no matter where a vessel in in the world. The information is vetted by  a third party maritime law firm for all international, national, regional and port jurisdictions, providing a comprehensive and reliable source of information.

In offering an e-Navigation system with regulatory updates, the most pressing issue for the service provider is to make certain that all the information is correct and up to date. Using the TMS system, masters can show port authorities that environmental issues have all been taken in to account during the voyage.

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