Class society details BWM procedures

04 May 2011

Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has released a booklet on standard operational guidance for the planning and management of ships' ballast water and sediments.

The 129 page long publication describes safe procedures for handling ballast water in order to comply with international and regional legislation. Special attention is given to ballast water treatment procedures and safety issues. GL says that IMO has dealt with the potential environmental hazards through the introduction of guidelines dealing with ballast water management (BWM) plans (MEPC Res.127(53)), the control and management of Ballast Water (IMO Res.A.868(20)), and the ‘International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments’. The Convention will become effective twelve months after ratification by 30 states, representing 35% of world tonnage. Several states have already established national standards on ballast water exchange procedures and have specified the necessary documentation on basis of the BWM Convention.

GL’s updated model BWM booklet offers guidance to ship owners and operators in developing BWM Plans, which help minimise the risk of transferring unwanted organisms into the environment. GL points out that BWM plans must be carefully tailored to the particular ship, so the booklet deals with tailoring a BWM plan to a vessel's particular outfit and capability, and also how to update the plan after a refit with a BWM treatment plant. It covers different methods of ballast water exchange, including sequential, flow-through, dilution method and also ballast water treatment. The section addressing treatment takes into account the needs of vessels which are already equipped with treatment systems.

The content and level of detail have been designed to fulfil the requirements for the GL class notation Ballast Water Management ‘BWM’, which, says GL, goes beyond the minimum ‘plan approval only’ standard which is sufficient for compliance with IMO requirements.

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