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, and enters into force on 8 September 2017. Any ships constructed before the convention’s date of entry into force have to be compliant by the first renewal survey for their International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC) after the convention has entered into force. New ships (constructed after the entry into force of the convention) shall 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 drydocking in 2014 or 2016 – subject to their ballast water holding capacity.

The lack of one globally recognised performance standard for BWM systems due to differences between IMO and USA 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. Work is, however, being undertaken at IMO to strengthen the G8 type-approval guidelines.

BIMCO’s position

  • The revised G8 type approval procedures should become a mandatory code to ensure that all systems meet the environmental goals of the BWM convention.
  • To achieve a truly global system, the revision of the G8 should be harmonised with the US type approval guidelines.
  • An international BWM certificate should suffice as initial evidence of being in compliance with the BWM convention.
  • There is a need to develop international, pragmatic and practical, harmonised testing procedures for samples of treated ballast water.
  • Sampling and testing by port states or national administrations should be cost neutral for shipowners, 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 or have a minimal effect on ships’ operations.
  • "First generation" IMO type-approved BWM systems, installed in good faith prior to the convention's entry into force should be considered acceptable (grandfathered) for the life of the ship, in which it was installed.


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