On Monday in London Belgium signed up, through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to two international agreements. These are intended to make shipping both more sustainable and respectful of the marine environment. The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships of 2009 was signed, as well as the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship Ballast Waters and Sediments or the so-called “BWM Convention”. So stated the FPS Mobility and Transport and the Minister of State for the North Sea, Bart Tommelein on Tuesday.
The FPS states that shipping recycling aims to take account, from the moment of construction, of “the entire ship life cycle”…“by removing completely or limiting the use of potentially dangerous substances” from the conception phase. This “favours safe and ecologically rational recycling of ships at the end of their useful life.”
Belgium is the fourth state to sign up this convention. The convention will enter into force “when it is ratified by the fifteen states whose merchant fleets represent 40% of gross tonnage of the world fleet of trade ships and whose maximum annual recycling volume represents at least a total of 3% of gross tonnage of all merchant fleets,” FPS Mobility and Transport says.
The BVM convention aims to avoid erosion of the marine environment by water in ballast tanks, which serve to keep ships stable. Harmful aquatic organisms may be found in such tanks.
Bart Tommelein says, “efficient management of ballast tanks and adequate checks in this field are essential.”