Just How Close is the Ballast Water Convention?
The IMO has not yet issued a confirmation about whether or not the ballast water management convention has reached the tonnage required for its entry into force.
The convention will come into force 12 months after the date on which 30 IMO member states, representing 35 percent of the world’s tonnage, ratify it.
Morocco, Indonesia and Ghana ratified the convention during the week starting November 23, and Jad Mouawad of Mouawad Consulting has collated their tonnage figures from 2014. Morocco contributed 0.03 percent to the required gross tons. Indonesia contributed 1.1 percent and Ghana contributed 0.01 percent gross tons.
This means the total gross tons as of November 26, based on 2014 figures, is 34.14 percent.
“The ratification of Ghana came as a surprise since the expectations were that Finland, India, Argentina and Philippines would be next,” says Mouawad.
The IMO has announced that it is recounting the world gross tonnage figures based on updated 2015 data as the numbers are so close. Iran, Indonesia and the Marshall Islands, countries that have already ratified the convention, are among those that could have a significant increase in their gross tonnage, says Mouawad.
“So far, everyone is anxiously waiting for the recount of the IMO,” he says. “Shipowner Associations like ICS, Intertanko and others were quickly out to reassure their members that the recounting is taking place and that nothing is sure. Intertanko mentioned that there is a legal discussion at the IMO on whether the figures should be updated yearly or whether the percentage of gross tonnage at the ratification date is the one that counts. We know from other conventions that the figures are updated yearly so we don’t expect this to be an issue.”
For Mouawad, it’s not really an issue whether or not the convention enters into force in November or a few weeks or months later. “Shipowners, manufactures and the industry at large must understand that the convention is real and will come into force. All must prepare for a significant challenge to meet its requirements in the next six to seven years, at least.”