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IMO ballast water convention to come into force in 2017 as Finland ratifies

IMO ballast water convention to come into force in 2017 as Finland ratifies
In one of the longest running sagas in shipping regulation the IMO’s Ballast Water Management (BWM) has finally met its ratification criteria, meaning it will come into force in 2017.

Having been very close to ratification for several years Finland has finally pushed the scales past the 35% of the world fleet by gross tonnage one of two key metrics for the convention to come into force 12 months later.

Finland ratified the convention today meaning it will come into force on 8 September 2017, which is now set to be a key date for shipowners, managers and equipment manufacturers around the world.

“This is a truly significant milestone for the health of our planet,” said IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim.

“The spread of invasive species has been recognized as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. These species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend. Invasive species also cause direct and indirect health effects and the damage to the environment is often irreversible,” he said. 

The accession by Finland brings the total tonnage of contracting states to 35.14% passing the 35% threshold which had seemed so hard to reach, including in November last year when Indonesia ratified but it later turned out its fleet was smaller than documented. It brings to and 12 years of uncertainty as to when the regulation would come into forrce but deep concern will remain from shipowners over the approval of systems.

It will, however, be a major boost for equipment manufacturers who have developing systems for many years.

“The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimize the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships," Lim added.