IMO Approves Ballast Water Resolution
The IMO plenary approved the resolution for the Ballast Water Management Convention without comments at the 28th session of the IMO Assembly.
The Ballast Water Management Convention (BWM Convention), that will see all ships, regardless of size, that are designed to carry dischargeable ballast water, have to install and implement a ballast water management system at the first renewal survey following entry into force.
However, in order for this regulation to be enforced across the industry, 30 countries need to ratify the wording before the Convention can be finalized and come into effect. This condition has already been met. However, a second condition that demands that the ratifying countries cover 35 percent or more of the global tonnage is yet to be reached, as between the 30 countries that have ratified the wording, only represent 29 percent of the global tonnage.
The draft resolution (and hence the resolution that has now been approved) was submitted on the 28th session of the IMO Assmebly, following the submission and approval of the draft resolution of the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 65) held earlier this year. It detailed the application of regulation B-3 of the BWM Convention to ease and facilitate the smooth implementation of the Convention.
The aim of the resolution that has been approved is to clarify uncertainty in relation to the application of regulation B-3, through the application of a realistic timeline for enforcement of regulation D-1 (ballast water exchange standard) and regulation D-2 (ballast water performance standard), upon entry into force of the Convention.
It recommended that ships constructed before the entry into force of the Convention will not be required to comply with regulation D-2 until their first renewal survey following the date of entry into force of the Convention.
The approval of the resolution will effectively postpone the date from which shipowners must be able to prove that their vessels have a system in place for treating ballast water. For shipowners, this means that compliance with the Convention is postponed until after a ship’s next drydocking after the Convention enters into force, rather than ships having to comply after a fixed date.
The approval of the resolution will make it easier to reach the necessary number of countries for full ratification and will also bring a higher degree of security for shipowners and suppliers of ballast water systems.
An important milestone indeed.