Shipowners’ Club BWM Convention FAQS

With the imminent enactment of the new Ballast Water management regulations, Shipowners’ P&I Club has issued a FAQ on the new rules.

The convention will come into effect from 8 September 2017.

It applies to all vessels operating in the aquatic environment. This includes submersibles, floating crafts, floating platforms, floating storage units (FSU), floating production storage and offloading units (FPSOs).

However, it will not apply to the following:

1)    Ships not designed or constructed to carry ballast water.

2)    Ships trading domestically (unless the coastal state within whose jurisdiction the ship trades requires compliance with the convention).

3)    Any warships, naval auxiliary or other ships owned or operated by a State provided it is used only on government non-commercial service.

4)    Ships with permanent ballast water in sealed tanks and therefore not subject to discharge at any time.

The convention does not require vessels of less than 400 gt to be issued with an International Ballast Water Management Certificate (IBWMC) but it does not explicitly rule out the requirement for other documentation such as Ballast Water Management Plans and Ballast Water Record Books.

The convention states:

1)    A ship is required to have on board and implemented a Ballast Water Management Plan (BWMP) approved by the Administration [flag State].

2)    A ship is required to have on board and maintain a Ballast Water Record Book (BWRB) which shall at least contain the information specified in appendix II of the convention, for a minimum period of two years after the last entry has been made.

Members are asked to contact the appropriate flag States to confirm their particular requirements in relation to the convention for vessels of less than 400 gt, as requirements may vary between flag States.

In addition to the two aforementioned documents, vessels of 400 gt and over must also carry the following according to the convention:

·       An International Ballast Water Management Certificate (IBWMC), excluding floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs, as identified in Section E of the convention, Survey and Certification requirements for BWM.

Vessels are required to meet either the ballast water exchange (regulation D-1) or performance (regulation D-2) standards.

After the ship undergoes the necessary survey by the flag State or recognised organisation (vessels of less than 400 gt may not be required to undergo an inspection), no changes shall be made to related equipment or systems without expressed approval from the flag State. Systems and equipment shall be duly maintained and equipment replaced with like for like parts/materials.

Compliance with the convention also requires, in addition to control of ballast water, the proper removal and disposal of sediments in accordance with the BWMP.