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Ballast Water Management finally to entry into force

Shiprepair eNews November 2016Ballast Water

It has been over 35 year in the making but finally legally-binding international measures to protect the marine environment against potentially invasive species in ships’ ballast water will enter into force on 8 September 2017.

Finland signed up to the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention on 8 September 2016. This pushed the combined tonnage of contracting states that have ratify the treaty to just over the magic 35% level, which meant that the convention would formally enter into force 12 months later.

Original concerns regarding problems with invasive species in ship’s water ballast where raised with IMO in the late 1908s. In 1991 IMOs Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted the International Guidelines for preventing the introduction of unwanted aquatic organisms and pathogens from ship’s ballast water and sediment discharges (resolution MEP.60(31)). These guildelines where formally adopted by the IMO Assembly resolution A.774(18) in November 1993. MEPC was also charged with the task of developing these guildelines into international legal requirements.

It took over 14 years of negotiation between the IMO Members before the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediment (BWM) Conventions was finally agreed and adopted by the IMO members in 13 February 2004. MEPC also developed a number of additional guildelines to assist in the uniform global implementation of the Convention, which includes:

  • Guidelines for sediment reception facilities (G1) (resolution MEPC.152(55));
  • Guidelines for ballast water sampling (G2) (resolution MEPC.173(58));
  • Guidelines for ballast water management equivalent compliance (G3) (resolution MEPC.123(53));
  • Guidelines for ballast water management and development of ballast water management plans (G4) (resolution MEPC.127(53));
  • Guidelines for ballast water reception facilities (G5) (resolution MEPC.153(55));
  • Guidelines for ballast water exchange (G6) (resolution MEPC.124(53));
  • Guidelines for risk assessment under regulation A-4 of the BWM Convention (G7) (resolution MEPC.162(56));
  • Guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (G8) (resolution MEPC.174(58));
  • Procedure for approval of ballast water management systems that make use of Active Substances (G9) (resolution MEPC.169(57));
  • Guidelines for approval and oversight of prototype ballast water treatment technology programmes (G10) (resolution MEPC.140(54));
  • Guidelines for ballast water exchange design and construction standards (G11) (resolution MEPC.149(55));
  • Guidelines on design and construction to facilitate sediment control on ships (G12) (resolution MEPC.209(63));
  • Guidelines for additional measures regarding ballast water management including emergency situations (G13) (resolution MEPC.161(56));
  • Guidelines on designation of areas for ballast water exchange (G14) (resolution MEPC.151(55));
  • Guidelines for ballast water exchange in the Antarctic treaty area (resolution MEPC.163(56)); and
  • Guidelines for port State control under the BWM Convention (resolution MEPC.252(67)).

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