Ballast Water Convention – Postponement for Existing Vessels

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*Update 10 July 2017*

The proposal to delay the requirements for fitting ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) on existing vessels until 2019 was accepted at MEPC 71. Amendments were approved to regulation B-3, which revise the installation schedule for new and existing vessels.

The amended schedule is as follows:

BW Table

26 May 2017

The IMO Ballast Water Convention will enter into force on 8 September 2017. However, a number of administrations have co-sponsored a proposal to IMO that could delay the requirements for fitting ballast water treatment systems on existing vessels until 2019.

Extensive exchanges of view were reported on the proposed timescale for installing ballast water treatment systems during MEPC 70 (IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee) in October 2016. A proposal was left on the table for further discussion at the next session, MEPC 71.

MEPC 71 is to be held in June 2017 and a compromise proposal has been jointly submitted by Brazil, India, Cook Islands, Norway, UK and Liberia. The administrations propose an amendment of Regulation B-3 of the Ballast Water Convention. This amendment would effectively postpone the start date of the phasing-in programme for installing approved ballast water treatment systems on existing ships by two years.

The co-sponsors consider the proposal is a fair and balanced solution to the concerns raised on the previously agreed timescale for implementation which helps both the shipping industry and treatment plant manufacturers and installers.

The start date for new vessels (i.e constructed on or after 8 September 2017) would remain unchanged under the proposal.    

The maritime industry awaits the report from MEPC 71 with keen interest.