Leading shipping association BIMCO has written a practical guide for officers who are responsible for managing new ballast water treatment systems. It coincides with the entry into force of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.
BIMCO's new Shipmaster's Ballast Water Manual is intended to provide accessible information for seafarers dealing with practicalities of daily ballast water management. The manual covers all aspects of the Convention including regulatory implementation, inspections by port state control and charterers and the latest guidance issued by the IMO.
The BWM Convention came into force earlier this month. To prevent the transfer of potentially invasive species, ballast water must now be treated before it is unloaded into a new location, so that any micro-organisms or other small marine species are destroyed. There are numerous ballast water management systems that have been approved by the IMO, but IMO member states and most seafarers are still unfamiliar with their operations.
"Implementation of the BWM Convention has been just around the corner for a long time, but there is still a great deal of confusion over the actual realities of the operational requirements, each ships' ballast water management plan and the associated record keeping,” said Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General at BIMCO. "This new guide has been written with seafarers in mind, in a practical and easily accessible way, to be used onboard at sea.”
BIMCO's Shipmaster's Ballast Water Manual links to the ship’s pre-existing safety management system (SMS), which includes proper plans for shipboard operations. The SMS requires crew and officers to be familiar with applicable onboard instructions and procedures, including ballast water management.