In line with the INTERTANKO-led joint proposal last year, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to a rescheduling of the International Ballast Water Management Convention implementation dates, which will smooth the installation scheduling for ships installing ballast water management systems (BWMS), a trial period for port state control and new guidance on BWMS type approvals.
Katharina Stanzel, INTERTANKO Managing Director, said: “INTERTANKO applauds the progress made last week by the IMO’s MEPC on the challenges of implementing the Ballast Water Management Convention, specifically related to the implementation schedule, port state control and improved transparency of ballast water equipment capabilities.”
At its 65th session, the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 65) of IMO approved a draft Assembly resolution which recommends that ships not be required to install a BWMS until its first renewal survey after entry into force of the BWM Convention.
“This revised schedule is more logically pinned to the entry into force date of the Ballast Water Convention and allows for the installation of the ballast water treatment system to be undertaken at the first renewal survey after entry into force”, explained INTERTANKO’s Senior Manager – Environment, Tim Wilkins.
While the actual IMO Resolution in which the revised schedule is detailed still has to be formally adopted by the IMO’s Assembly when it meets in November this year, it is largely understood that this final draft is likely to be unchanged.
MEPC 65 also adopted a circular to initiate a trial period for the sampling and testing of ballast water by port state control, during which port state control will refrain from detaining a ship or taking criminal sanctions in the event that a BWMS does not meet the discharge. “This will allow time for PSC to determine which sampling and testing techniques work in practice and importantly will also allow the industry to identify any compliance problems associated with the operation of type approved BWMS,” said Wilkins.
The third development relates to increasing the transparency of the Type Approval process and the adoption of amendments to both the Type Approval certification documents as well as the guidance to Administrations on the Type Approval process. Wilkins commented that, “with these amendments accepted the revised documents will mean more information is provided to the industry and the owners on the capabilities of the BWMS as well as the ranges and limiting conditions in which the BWMS can operate”.
The BWM Convention will enter into force 12 months after 30 countries representing 35% of the world’s tonnage have ratified it. At present, 36 countries representing 29.07% of the world’s tonnage have ratified the BWM Convention.