During autumn 2017, the first part of the Ballast Water Management Convention is scheduled to enter into force. Up to 60.000 ships worldwide should at this time be able to live up to the new rules for cleaning their ballast water – preventing invasive species spreading through ballast water.

In 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWMC), which addresses the transportation of potentially harmful organisms through ballast water. The Ballast Water Management Convention will now require ships to conduct a ballast water exchange or to meet concentration-based ballast water discharge standards at ports with ballast tanks 99% free of living organisms and pathogens.

Which requirements does the new Ballast Water Management Convention include?

The Ballast Water Management Convention will require all ships to implement a Ballast Water Management Plan. All ships will have to carry a Ballast Water Record Book and will be required to carry out ballast water management procedures to a given standard. Parties to the Convention are given the option to take additional measures which are subject to criteria set out in the Convention and to IMO guidelines.

So once the Ballast Water Management Convention officially will enter into force, all ships of 400 GRT and above will be required to have on board:

  • Ships specific approved Ballast Water Management Plan – approved by the administration
  • Ballast water record book
  • International Ballast Water Management certificate
  • Approved ballast water treatment system (Erma First link)
What is the Ballast Water Management Plan?

From the date where the Ballast Water Management Convention enter into force, all ships shall have implemented a Ballast Water Management Plan. The Ballast Water Management Plan is a document that details the procedure for discharge of the ballast water and handling of sediment in accordance with regulation D-1 (exchange), and/or regulation D-2 (treatment) and regulation B-5 (sediment management). Conducting ballast water discharge and cleaning of sediments in accordance with the Ballast Water Management Plan ensures compliance with regulation D-1 or D-2 and B-5.

The Ballast Water Management Plan has to be vessel and equipment specific and approved for each vessel by the administration. The plan may include procedures for both D-1 and D-2 if the vessel employs both methods.

What is the ballast water record book?

In line with the Ballast Water Management Convention, all ships of 400 GT and above are required to keep a record of each ballast water exchange, discharge and loading operations.

The Ballast Water Management Convention requires all ships to implement the ballast water management plan which includes carrying a ballast water record book and complete ballast water management procedures to a given standard. With the Convention entering into force, providing evidence that ballast water procedures have been carried out correctly is more important than ever.

The Ballast Water Management Convention also allows the use of an electronic record book. Though the ballast water management record book may be even integrated in to another record book or system on board. It is required that each entry is signed by the officer in charge of the operation and each completed page is signed by the master. An electronic record book must therefore be able to make use of an electronic signature.

Does the Ballast Water Management Convention apply to all vessels?

The Ballast Water Management Convention applies to all ships using ballast water in international trade, except:

  • Ships which are not designed or constructed to carry ballast water
  • Ships that only operate in the local waters of a single authority, combined with voyages to and from international waters. Authorization shall be granted by the local authority, and vessels flag administration shall be informed about authorization.
  • War ships, naval auxiliary, or ships owned and operated by a State and used only on Government, non-commercial service.
  • Ships with sealed or permanent ballast water tanks (doesn’t discharge the ballast water).
Status on the Ballast Water Management Convention

The Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided to extend the time for compliance with the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. As a result, only vessels built after its entry into force on September 8, 2017 will immediately be subject to the new ballast water performance standard. Other vessels will be exempt until their first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) renewal survey, which will be conducted after September 8, 2019. Such surveys typically take place every five years. Thus, some vessels will have until 2024 to comply.

This means the Ballast Water Convention enters into force on September 8th 2017, while the time for installation is now increased from 5 to 7 years so the latest date for all ships to have a system installed is September 8th 2024.

Generally, compliance with the D-2 standard translates to the date individual ships must have a ballast water treatment system installed. The agreement ensures full global implementation by 8 September 2024 and contains the following key elements:

  • Ships constructed (keel-laid) on or after 8 September 2017 need to comply with the D-2 standard upon delivery.
  • Existing ships should be D-2 compliant on the first IOPP renewal following entry into force if:
    • This survey is completed on or after 8 September 2019, or a renewal IOPP survey is completed on or after 8 September 2014 but prior to 8 September 2017.
  • The ship should be D-2 compliant on the second IOPP renewal survey following entry into force, if the first renewal survey following the date of entry into force of the convention is completed prior to 8 September 2019 and if conditions 1 or 2 above are not met.
  • This means that a ship which is due for an IOPP renewal survey between 8 September 2017 and 8 September 2019 cannot decouple its IOPP survey for a second renewal before 8 September 2019 without then having to comply with the D-2 standard
  • Ships constructed before 8 September 2017 and delivered (including the initial IOPP survey) after that date, need to comply with the D-2 standard at the first IOPP renewal survey after delivery.

The status on the convention can be found here

Implementing your Ballast Water Treatment Solution

Don’t be left behind. In the wake of the USCG’s final ruling and pending IMO ratification, now is the time to purchase your ballast water treatment solution. Hans Buch Marine will help ensure you are in compliance with the implementation and enforcement of the global regulations. When the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention has been ratified, there will be many ships past due in meeting compliance deadlines. In order to prevent further delays in the installation of your ballast water treatment solution and to ensure compliance, contact Hans Buch Marine today to secure the reliable, IMO Type Approved Erma First System for your particular vessel.