Due to enter into force on 2017 September 8th, the Ballast Water Management Convention has wide-ranging impacts however is still the subject of uncertainty and discussion.
The BWM Convention aims to minimise the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ballast water. Adopted in 2004 and ratified on 8 September 2016, it stipulates two required standards for discharged ballast water: D-1 relating to ballast water exchange and D-2 relating to treatment. The D-2 requirement is most commonly met by installing a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS).
Shipyards, yacht owners, operators and managers are responsible for implementing the new requirements and obtaining the relevant certificates. As both new and existing vessels are affected, all are sensitive to last-minute amendments, interpretations or additional flag interpretations.
Among these is a decision issued by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 71), which compromises on compliance dates for ballast water discharge and tentatively accepts an amended implementation scheme for the D-2 standard. The scheme will circulate to Member States for adoption during MEPC 72 in early 2018. However, the Committee recommended its immediate application to avoid a dual-treaty regime during the time between the entry into force and amendment of the Convention.
Under this proposal, existing ships with the renewal of the IOPP certificate between 2017 September 8th and 2019 September 8th must comply with the D-2 standard at the second renewal survey after the Convention enters into force. Existing ships with the IOPP renewal after 2019 September 8th must comply at the first renewal survey after the Convention enters into force.
A new clause prevents ships in this last category from bringing forward the IOPP certificate renewal between 2017 September 8th and 2019 September 8th. Existing ships not subject to the IOPP renewal survey must comply not later than 2024 September 8th.
There are two pieces of good news. First, the market is responding with new technical solutions to fulfil IMO Convention or US requirements in more efficient ways. Second, RINA Academy offers various courses and training events concerning Ballast Water Management, covering both rules and technical solutions. All of them are kept fully up to date with new amendments, interpretations and additional flag requirements.
Among all the training options offered by RINA Academy, BWM courses are bestsellers. Standard courses, customised presentations and seminars have been held all over the world, from Monaco to Dubai to Shanghai. Partly due to the topic’s importance and uncertainty, partly due to the presence of experts and stakeholders from all sides of the globe, these sessions have always attracted great interest and knowledgeable debate.