At the last meeting (3-7 July 2017) the IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) resolved to approve an amended timetable for when ships must comply with the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention.
The treaty enters into force on 8 September 2017.
From the date of entry into force, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to avoid the transfer of potentially invasive species.
All ships will be required to have a ballast water management plan and keep a ballast water record book. Ships will also be required to manage their ballast water to meet the so-called D-1 standard or D-2 standard.
The D-1 standard requires ships to conduct the exchange of ballast water such that at least 95% of water by volume is exchanged far away from the coast where it would be released.
The D-2 standard requires ballast water management to restrict to a specified maximum the amount of viable organisms allowed to be discharged and to limit the discharge of specified indicator microbes harmful to human health.
Draft amendments to the treaty approved by the MEPC clarify when ships must comply with the requirement to meet the D-2 standard.
The draft amendments will be circulated after the entry into force of the BWM Convention on 8 September 2017, with a view to adoption at the next MEPC session (April 2018).
Under the approved amendments, new ships, i.e., ships constructed on or after 8 September 2017, shall conduct ballast water management that at least meets the D-2 standard from the date they are put into service.
For existing ships, i.e., ships constructed before 8 September 2017, the date for compliance with the D-2 standard is linked with the renewal survey of the ship associated with the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate under MARPOL Annex I.
For existing ships this would be the first or second five-year renewal survey after 8 September 2017:
An existing ship to which the IOPP renewal survey under MARPOL Annex I does not apply shall meet the D-2 standard from the date decided by the Administration, but not later than 8 September 2024.
The MEPC adopted a resolution which resolves that Parties to the BWM Convention should implement the schedule for compliance outlined in the draft amendments, ahead of their adoption and entry into force.
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