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Industry welcomes IMO ballast water changes

Intertanko and the Asian Shipowner Forum (ASF) have welcomed the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) decision to pave the way for a smoother implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC).

Subject to approval from the IMO assembly later this year, the resolution will mean a ship is not required to install a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) until its first renewal survey after BWMC comes into force.

"This revised schedule is more logically pinned to the entry into force date of BWMC," explained Intertanko's senior manager – environment, Tim Wilkins.

The ASF voiced its approval of the changes at its 22nd annual general meeting in Mumbai this week.

Addressing concerns of discrepancies between the type approval process and port state control sampling and testing methods, MEPC 65 also adopted a circular to introduce a trial period in which port state control will refrain from taking action against ships whose BWMS fails to reach standards.

"This will allow time for port state control to determine which sampling and testing techniques work in practice and importantly will also allow the industry to identify any compliance problems associated with the operation of type approved BWMS," said Wilkins.

Steps will also be taken to make the type approval process for BWMS more transparent, providing more information on the capabilities and limitations of systems.

BWMC has the approval of 36 countries representing 29% of the world's tonnage out of the 30 countries and 35% represented tonnage it requires for ratification.

Posted 22 May 2013

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