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Ballast water convention date changes approved at IMO

Ballast water convention date changes approved at IMO
The IMO Assembly has adopted a resolution adjusting the implementation dates of the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC).

The change will effectively mean that all vessels constructed before the entry into force date will be counted as existing vessels under BWMC, therefore a ballast water management system (BWMS) needn't be installed until the ship's first renewal survey.

The entry into force date for the convention will be 12 months after its ratification by more than 35 countries representing over 35% of world tonnage. Currently BWMC has been ratified by 38 countries representing 30.8% of the world's tonnage.

Intertanko has led the industry in a call for changes to BWMC and has welcomed the latest resolution. "The resolution provides the industry with a practical and clear implementation process and Intertanko urges all Member States to adhere to this new schedule," said Intertanko managing director, Katharina Stanzel.

The dates included in BWMC would have created a bottleneck of thousands of ships needing BWMS installed in a short time period, an issue highlighted in an Intertanko-led paper submitted to the IMO.

Intertanko's senior manager – environment, Tim Wilkins added, "We welcome this very positive development and look forward to making sure the type approval process for ballast water management systems provides ship owners with reliable equipment."

Currently no BWMS has earned type approval from the US Coast Guard leading many shipowners unsure of the suitability of IMO-approved systems, a complex situation discussed at length at this year's Seatrade Tanker Industry Conference.