MARITIME | EEDI implementation raises safety fears

Shipbuilders, owners and class societies raise fears over manoeuvrability of vessels in rough seas

Colum Murphy | LLOYD’S LIST

A GROUP of prominent shipbuilders, owners and classification societies will call on the International Maritime Organization to consider more closely the safety implications of the proposed energy efficiency design index.

At a closed-door meeting concluded late last week in Seoul, South Korea, delegates at the tripartite workshop on greenhouse gas emission reduction agreed to raise concerns about manoeuvrability of vessels in rough seas at the upcoming Marine Environment Protection Committee 61 session, scheduled to take place in London later this month.

“One of the important subjects that was discussed was this concern that the design index could lead to underpowered ships, ships that will not be able to maintain speed or heading in rough seas, which would be a very unsafe condition, ” said Intertanko managing director Peter Swift who was a participant in the meeting.

He said the group considered the possibility of industry workshops on safety, manoeuvrability of ships in rough seas and industry’s views on minimum power requirements.

These concerns initially cover bulkers and tankers, which would be the most susceptible to manoeuvring problems in heavy seas if the installed power was less than necessary, Mr Swift said.

Mr Swift said there were also special cases that needed consideration, such as when ships needed extra power in ice. Discussions were needed on how to incorporate correction factors, or allowances, into the design index, he said.

While most of these discussion items were on the table already by way of IMO proposals, the tripartite meeting was a chance for the industry to have its own internal discussions on the details.

Such “pre-discussion” added value by providing industry consensus, Mr Swift said.

“We do not promise unity but we certainly have good sharing of information, which means we have a more professional approach to the discussion at the IMO.”

Annual tripartite meetings began in 2002. The informal gathering is made up primarily of Asian shipbuilders, shipowners and classification societies, but also has representatives from international bodies such as Intertanko, Intercargo and the International Association of Classification Societies.

The group has no formal status but given the caliber of its participants, its views tend to carry weight as an expression of industry voice.

The findings of the tripartite discussions are relayed to IMO working groups by the individual associations acting as non-governmental organisations.

Last week’s meeting in Seoul was a working group-level meeting focused on GHG emission reduction, and was the third such meeting this year, following gatherings in Tokyo and Beijing.

The parties will meet again in Japan in October to discuss contractual implications of EEDI for shipbuilders.

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