Regulations on Ballast Water Management are Becoming Stricter

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Starting from September 8, 2024, all vessels subject to the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention must comply with the performance standards outlined in regulation D-2. This means that ships without an approved ballast water treatment system must install one before the deadline. Ship operators who have not yet made a decision regarding the installation of such systems are advised to begin preparatory work as soon as possible. This includes understanding the obligations under the BWM Convention and other regulations, particularly in the United States, which has separate requirements for ballast water treatment systems. Evaluating the suitability of available treatment system solutions for each vessel and ensuring proper training for officers and crew are also crucial steps.

Ship operators must also ensure that every vessel has an approved Ballast Water Management Plan, a Ballast Water Record Book, and an International Ballast Water Management Certificate. They should also prepare for Port State Control inspections, which may involve sampling of the vessel’s ballast water. The vessel’s Class Society can provide guidance on the most suitable systems for each vessel type and trading area.

Ballast water, which is carried in ships’ tanks for stability and maneuverability, can contain non-native species that can have negative impacts on the receiving environment. Ballast water management plans and treatment systems are designed to remove or inactivate these organisms. Various types of treatment systems are available, including filter and UV systems, filter and electrolysis systems, ozone systems, and chemical injection systems. The insurance position regarding liabilities and fines related to ballast water management is also addressed.

In summary, ship operators must ensure compliance with the BWM Convention’s regulations by installing approved ballast water treatment systems on their vessels before September 8, 2024. Preparatory work, understanding regulations, evaluating system suitability, and training crew are essential steps. Ship operators should also have proper documentation, be prepared for inspections, and consider the insurance implications.

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