Ballast Water Management – the clock is ticking!


The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) enters into force 8 September 2017 and preparation time is running out! 

Though for some ships IOPP renewal might still be utilised for postponing its individual compliance date for D-2 (treatment standard).

The IMO Convention has the following compliance requirements:

  • D1 = Ballast Water Exchange (95% volumetric exchange) or pumping through three times the volume of each tank.
  • D2 = Ballast Water Treatment by systems approved by the Administration which treat ballast water to, among others, an efficacy of not more than 10 viable organisms per m3 >50 micrometers in minimum dimension, and not more than 10 viable organisms per millilitre < 50 micrometers in minimum dimension and >10 micrometers in minimum dimension.

The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its 71st Session, to be held in July 2017, will hopefully attain consensus on a firm implementation schedule for the ship’s D-2 compliance date. There have been numerous papers submitted regarding this issue to the MEPC 71 session and a prolonged and intense debate is anticipated. 

Though it is important to note that the following will apply even if a postponement of the implementation schedule for D-2 is agreed or a ship has postponed its D-2 compliance date by advancing the IOPP renewal date:

  • BW to be discharged on or after 8 September 2017 must be either D-1 or D-2 compliant 
  • BWM plan must be approved and implemented on board both for performing D-1 and/or D-2 if applicable (all BW operations must be carried out in accordance with the plan)
  • BWM training to be carried out for selected officers and crew 

The flowing BWM related documentation must be on board before 8 September 2017:

  • An International BWM Certificate 
  • A properly kept record book 
  • Evidence of relevant BWM reporting 

Consideration of the following initiatives either being outside the current scope of the IMO BWM Convention or not directly referred to might be advisable: 

  • Updating the Safety Management System in terms of the BWMP
  • Developing and implementing a scheme for BWMP familiarisation (and potential different BWMS) for relevant officers and crew
  • Carry on board, if applicable, a copy of any installed BWMS’s type approval certificate
  • Contingency plan covering BWMP or BWMS failure as well as how to handle BWM sampling by authorities

For further guidance on BWM refer to the following publication available for order on the BIMCO website at 30% discount for BIMCO members: Ballast water management: the shipowner's guide (2nd edition, 2016) 

Peter Lundahl Rasmussen
in Copenhagen, DK


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