BIMCO asks the IMO to improve the ballast water record book


Due to conflicting interpretation of the records in the ballast water record book (BWRB) by external parties, ships’ crew are faced with a dilemma when filling out the information in the BWRB. In response to this, BIMCO has co-sponsored a paper for the upcoming 76th Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 76) with the aim to improve the existing IMO guidance on the topic.

Currently, ships’ crews are being presented with conflicting interpretations of the various entries in the ballast water record book (BWRB) by administrations, class societies, port state control authorities and third-party auditors.

In comparison, the oil record book under The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) follows a strict coding system, making it less prone to different interpretations. As the BWRB does not have such a coding system, conflicting interpretations are often encountered for items such as:

  1. Ballast water exchange; which entry and which method?
  2. The exact meaning of the term “circulated” and “treated”.
  3. Recording of ballast water treated during ballasting and de-ballasting.
  4. Should entries be made tank-by-tank?

The ballast water management convention (BWM Convention) is still in a so-called experience building phase (EBP), which allows member states and ships to gather experience on the implementation, analyse the gathered experience and, if required, review and amend the BWM Convention.

At the upcoming MEPC 76 on 10 June 2021, this EBP is expected to move from experience gathering stage to analysis stage.

The submitted paper is based on gathered experience by the industry and will be used to analyse and review the BWM Convention, especially, Appendix II – Form of the Ballast water record book.

Download RELATED Documents

  • Download Icon

    MEPC 76/4/2 – Review of ballast water record book 0.4 MB

    Download now
  • Download Icon

    MEPC 76/INF.20 – Commentary on the entries of ballast water record book 1.8 MB

    Download now
Ashok Srinivasan
in Singapore,


Access BIMCO's COVID-19 related articles and advice.

Read more

VPS Bunker Alerts

Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.

The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

Latest piracy reports


Latest industry releasable threats



Contracts & Clauses

All of BIMCO's most widely used contracts and clauses as well as advice on managing charters and business partners.

Learn about your cargo

For general guidance and information on cargo-related queries.

More about cargo

BIMCO Publications

Want to buy or download a BIMCO publication? Use the link to get access to the ballast water management guide, the ship master’s security manual and many other publications.

About a new business partner

We can help members check new business partners. We also help to recover millions of USD (undisputed) funds every year.