US$100 billion ballast water treaty enters force

08 Sep 2017
The BWM Convention has entered force 13 years after its adoption,and could cost the industry US$100 billion in system installations

The BWM Convention has entered force 13 years after its adoption,and could cost the industry US$100 billion in system installations

The ICS has urged the industry to ‘get this right’ as the IMO’s Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention – which could cost the industry US$100 billion in system installations – comes into force today (8 September).

Esben Poulsson, chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), called on shipowners, equipment manufacturers and governments to co-operate to ensure proper implementation of the new regulatory regime.

“We need to ensure, so far as practicable, that the systems installed on ships will indeed be fit for purpose in all known operating conditions worldwide,” said Poulsson. “We are therefore advising shipping companies that they should make it clear to equipment manufacturers they will only consider fitting treatment systems which have been certified in accordance with the revised IMO type-approval standards adopted in 2016, even though this is not yet a mandatory requirement.”

ICS noted that it was previously ambivalent about encouraging flag states to ratify the convention in advance of some serious implementation issues being fully resolved.  But now that the convention is in force the representative of national shipowner associations is encouraging IMO member states to ratify as soon as possible.

The BWM Convention will initially comprise two standards. The D-1 standard requires ships to exchange their ballast water in open seas, away from coastal waters. The D-2 standard specifies the maximum amount of viable organisms allowed to be discharged. Eventually all ships will be required to meet the D-2 standard in line with the timetable decided at MEPC 71.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general, IMO, said: “The requirements which enter into force today mean that we are now addressing what has been recognised as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. Invasive species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend.

“The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships.”