North P&I considers the impact of reduced ballasting transfer rates on charterparties
The forthcoming entry into force of the IMO Ballast Water Convention, and the already in place US regulations, require many vessels to have ballast water treatment systems installed. INTERCARGO has recently raised awareness on the impact these systems may have on a vessel’s performance, which may affect charterparties and in particular, warranties given in the vessel description clause.
In its submission to IMO (MEPC 71/INF.20), INTERCARGO discussed a number of areas where the retrofitting of a ballast water treatment system can affect a vessel’s operation. These included ballast transfer performance and increased power demands. With this is in mind, we encourage shipowners to check their charterparties to make sure they reflect any changes in performance.
INTERCARGO highlighted the probable reduction in a vessel’s ballasting capacity when retrofitting a ballast water treatment system. This drop in performance may be due to the unavailability of treatment systems that can match the throughput of the vessel’s ballast pumps as well as the filters introducing additional pressure drops in the system.
If a vessel’s ballasting/deballasting performance is reduced following the retrofit of a ballast water treatment system, then we recommend the vessel’s description (and any associated warranties) is amended accordingly. If the charterparty remains unamended, a shipowner may be exposed to a charterer’s allegations of breach of warranty if delays are experienced as a result of the longer time needed for ballasting/deballasting.
“If the charterparty remains unamended, a shipowner may be exposed to a charterer’s allegations of breach of warranty if delays are experienced as a result of the longer time needed for ballasting/deballasting.”
Meeting power demands
INTERCARGO also raised the possibility of a vessel being unable to meet the greater power demands of a treatment system. Electro-chlorination and UV systems require significant levels of power. For existing vessels, this demand would not have been factored in at the design stage.
We reminds shipowners of the importance of assessing whether or not the vessel has the electrical capacity to power the cargo gear at the same time as the ballast water treatment plant. If the vessel’s power generation capacity prevents the operation of all of its cargo handling equipment (for example cranes or cargo transfer pumps) when the treatment plant is in-line, this could result in delays to the cargo operations and lead to disputes.
When installing a ballast water treatment system on an existing vessel, we stress the importance of thinking about the potential impact on charterparty warranties. The vessel description/warranties may need to be amended to reflect any change in the vessel’s performance.
North P&I Club, a marine liability insurer, provides P&I, FD&D, War Risks and ancillary insurance to shipowners worldwide. For more information visit http://www.nepia.com/.