MCA issues set of FAQs about UK and Ballast Water Management Convention

The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has issued a set of FAQs relating to the International Maritime Organization’s ballast Water management Convention (BWMC 2004) which entered into force on September 8th 2017.

The MCA noted that the UK had not yet ratified the Convention but was currently drafting the legislation that would permit accession to the Convention to take place.

Ships of 400 gt or above, to which the Convention applies, are required to undergo a survey regime and hold appropriate certification. The UK has delegated survey and certification requirements and Ballast Water Management Plan approvals to the UK Recognized Organisations.

For ships undertaking intra-North Sea voyages, BWE areas have been identified. The implementation, details and terms of use of these areas are contained within BWM.2/Circ.56.

Ships arriving from outside the North Sea, or leaving for a destination outside the North Sea, should not use the BWE Areas identified in BWM.2/Circ.56. These ships should undertake exchange as per the Regulation B-4.1 or B-4.2 of the Convention before entering or after leaving the North Sea.

The Convention implementation schedule for meeting the D2 standard is based upon the renewal date of a vessels IOPP Certificate. Details of the implementation schedule can be found at

Vessels can apply for an exemption and the UK is accepting exemption applications.

The approach taken by the UK will be based upon the Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Guidelines on the granting of exemptions under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, Regulation A-4, which can be downloaded at