Ballast Water Management System Clarification Expected at MEPC 71

24 April 2017
Ballast water

Ballast Water Management (BWM) System (BWMS) legislation will be clarified at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 71 this July, with a decision by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as to whether the effective compliance date should remain as originally proposed – the first renewal of the International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificate after September 2017 – or after September 2019.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry has co-sponsored a proposal to develop an “Experience Building Phase” (EBP): the period of time between owners installing systems and when the authorities begin taking action for non-compliance. The proposal is currently under detailed development by an MEPC Correspondence Group in which the RMI is actively participating. An important part of the EBP will be the development of a process for the collection of BWMS operational and performance data.

The RMI has also been involved in discussions ahead of MEPC 71 on the schedule for BWMS installations, also expected to be finalized at MEPC 71. Integral to these discussions will be a careful analysis of shipyard and manufacturer capacity.

According to the shipbroker Clarksons (November 2016), 504 RMI flagged vessels are reported to already have a BWMS fitted.

The RMI’s dedicated BWM team has been assisting shipowners to understand the BWM Convention and continues to work with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to clarify its extension process and continued use of a designated Alternate Management System (AMS).