The Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention is scheduled to enter into force on September 8, 2017. However, a number of administrations have co-sponsored a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that could delay the requirements for fitting ballast water treatment systems on existing vessels until 2019, North P&I Club informs.
During the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 70) held in October 2016, “extensive exchanges of view” were reported on the proposed timescale for installing ballast water treatment systems. A proposal was left on the table for further discussion at the next session, MEPC 71.
MEPC 71 is to be held in July 2017 and a compromise proposal has been jointly submitted by Brazil, India, Cook Islands, Norway, the UK and Liberia.
The administrations propose an amendment of Regulation B-3 of the BWM Convention. This amendment would effectively postpone the start date of the phasing-in program for installing approved ballast water treatment systems on existing ships by two years, according to North P&I Club.
As explained, the co-sponsors consider the proposal is “a fair and balanced” solution to the concerns raised on the previously agreed timescale for implementation which helps both the shipping industry and treatment plant manufacturers and installers.
The start date for new vessels – constructed on or after September 8 – would remain unchanged under the proposal.
Adopted in 2004, the treaty aims to counter the threat to marine ecosystems by potentially invasive species transported in ships’ ballast water.
Under the convention’s terms, vessels will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.