Ballast water management


BIMCO's position on "ballast water management" has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.


The Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention was adopted by IMO in 2004. It enters into force on 8 September 2017.  Ships constructed before this date must comply by the first renewal survey for their International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC) following entry into force. Ships constructed on or after the entry into force date must be built to comply.

The US Coast Guard’s (USCG) BWM Regulations entered into force on June 2012 and apply to new ships constructed on or after 1 December 2013 as well as to existing ships after their first dry-docking in 2014 or 2016 – subject to their ballast water holding capacity.

Differences between the IMO and USA mean that there is no single globally-recognised performance standard for BWM systems. This is a major concern to shipowners. The numerical values of the discharge standards in the US remain identical to those of the BWM convention, however, other criteria are more stringent. 

BIMCO’s position

  • An international BWM certificate should be sufficient initial evidence of compliance with the BWM convention.
  • There is a need to develop international, pragmatic and practical, harmonised testing procedures for samples of treated ballast water.
  • Shipowners should not be liable for the costs of sampling and testing by port states or national administrations unless the ship is found not to be in compliance with the BWM convention or other similar regulations.
  • Sampling/testing of ballast water should not interfere with ships’ operations.
  • "First generation" IMO type-approved BWM systems, installed in good faith should be considered acceptable (grandfathered) for the life of the ship, in which it was installed. 



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