119/17/Gen.Inf. International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 and US Ballast Water Management(BWM) Regulations

The IMO’s International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the “Convention”) will enter into force on 8 September 2017. The Convention seeks to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another, by the establishment of standards and procedures for the management and control of ships’ ballast water and sediments. As of 11 January 2017, there are 54 Contracting States to the Convention representing 53.30% of the world’s global tonnage.
The United States (US) is not a State Party to the Convention. Instead the US has its own requirements. In particular, US Coast Guard (USCG) Regulations require the installation on most ships operating and discharging ballast water in US waters of a BWM system approved by the USCG that meets the USCG’s testing standards at the first scheduled dry docking after 1 January 2016.
The USCG testing standards have, up until the adoption last year of the 2016 IMO Guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (G8), been considered more robust than IMO Guidelines for the approval of BWM systems. As is noted below, the State of California has its own BWM standards, which will be even stricter than those of the USCG. The inconsistent nature of the various Regulations has caused some confusion in the industry.

IMO BWM Convention

Under the Convention, all ships engaged on international voyages will be required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a ship-specific BWM plan, approved by the Member’s Flag Administration. All ships will also have to carry a ballast water record book and an international BWM certificate. The BWM standards will be phased in over a period of time. Eventually, most ships will need to install an onboard ballast water treatment system meeting the IMO’s standards by the date of a ship’s first renewal of its International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) certificate after the Convention enters into force on 8 September 2017 (as prescribed in IMO Assembly Resolution A.1088 (28)).
As an example, a ship that completes her IOPP renewal survey on 7 September 2017 may then have until 7 September 2022 before the ship will be required to comply with Regulation D-2 of the Convention and thereby fit a type-approved BWM system. States Parties to the Convention are given the option to take additional measures which are subject to criteria set out both in the Convention and agreed IMO guidelines. Members should contact their Flag States, if they are States Parties to the Convention, to determine whether any such additional measures will be taken. Once the Convention enters into force, ships’ Ballast Water Record Books must record when ballast water is taken on board; circulated or treated for BWM purposes, and discharged into the sea. It should also record when ballast water is discharged to a reception facility as well as accidental or other exceptional discharges of ballast water.
Read more here

Source : GARD

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Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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