Commissioning Testing of Ballast Water Management Systems

Applicability: service suppliers, shipyards and ballast water management system manufacturers.

Further to Class News 16/2020, the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention requires ships which haven’t already installed and commissioned a ballast water management system (BWMS), to do so at the time of the ship’s next International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate renewal survey.

What should shipyards, shipowners and operators do now? 

For new building projects, shipyards, shipowners and operators should be aware that if delivery of the vessel is on or after 1 June 2022, then commissioning testing needs to be completed fully in accordance with BWM.2/Circ.70/Rev.1, even if the system has been partially installed and/or commissioned before 1 June 2022. The same also applies for existing ships where the BWMS installation survey is due to be completed on or after 1 June 2022.


From 1 June 2022, amendments to the BWM Convention, regulation E-1, come into force, published in IMO Resolution MEPC.325(75). These amendments mandate the commissioning testing of BWMS during initial surveys for new construction projects and during BWMS installation surveys on existing ships (i.e. what the Convention calls additional surveys).

IMO guidance

The IMO has also published a Uniform Interpretation of regulation E-1, in BWM.2/Circ.66/Rev.2. This clarifies that, if the initial or additional survey is completed on or after 1 June 2022, the commissioning testing of individual BWMS should be conducted in accordance with ‘2020 Guidance for the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems’ (BWM.2/Circ.70/Rev.1). If the initial or additional survey is completed before 1 June 2022, the commissioning testing of individual BWMS remains subject to the specific requirements of the flag Administration(s).

Prior to the Convention amendments coming into force, some flag Administrations already mandate commissioning testing, such as Australia, Cyprus, Greece, India, Panama, Singapore and Tuvalu. Commissioning testing, done in accordance with BWM.2/Circ.70/Rev.1, is also already mandatory for all new construction projects of ships registered with a flag Administration of an EU/EEA member state. Other flag Administrations recommend early implementation of the commissioning testing requirements, e.g. Bahamas and Liberia.

Service suppliers

The IMO’s ‘Guidance for the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems’ (BWM.2/Circ.70/rev.1) includes a requirement that “the collection and analysis of the representative samples should be independent of the BWMS manufacturer or supplier and to the satisfaction of the Administration”. Where the vessel’s flag Administration has mandated the application of BWM.2/Circ.70/Rev.1, Lloyd’s Register (LR) requires commissioning testing of BWMS to be completed by either an LR approved service supplier or by an organisation acceptable to the flag Administration.

Changes to IBWM Certificate

Resolution MEPC.325(75) also includes a small change to the format of the International Ballast Water Management Certificate. The change will enable other methods of compliance to be shown on the certificate; such as discharge of ballast water to a reception facility (Reg. B-3.6), or uptake and discharge of ballast water in the high seas or the same location (Regs. A-3.4 and A-3.5).

Contact Albion Marine Solutions if your vessel/ship requires class approval. Our technical engineering team has already commissioned and class-approved numerous vessels worldwide. Furthermore, we are the only ABS-approved service provider in Canada for biological testing of Ballast Water Treatment Systems. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

2022 Mari-Tech Conference & Exhibition Niagara Falls, Ontario

Meet Albion Marine Solutions at the Mari-Tech 2022 conference and exhibition in Niagara Falls, Ontario, from May 17 to 19, 2022. We will be exhibiting at booth No. 6, showcasing our capabilities as North America's leading Marine Engineering company specializing in cutting-edge marine turnkey solutions and our work towards shipping decarbonization and ocean protection.

Mari-Tech was created by the Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering (CIMarE) in 1976 and is the premier event for the Marine Engineering community in Canada. Mari-Tech 2022 conference and exhibition is a collaboration between the CIMarE’s Great Lakes branch and the Great Lakes/ Rivers section of the society of Naval architects and marine engineers. Click here for more information

IMO launches e-learning platform

IMO is expanding its service offerings to include e-learning. The first free online course was launched on the eve of the Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) Sub-Committee meeting (7 April). 

The first such course is: "An Introduction to Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation," designed to provide a basic introduction to those involved in, or that have an interest in, matters related to oil pollution preparedness and response, whether from within the oil spill response community or the maritime sector.


Distance learning has become important in meeting the changing educational needs of the maritime industry. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) provides students and maritime professionals worldwide with the opportunity to improve their understanding of key maritime issues. Two options are available to undertake IMO's e-Learning courses: a) by authorization or b) self-enrolment.  Click on the provided link to visit the e-learning platform


Deadline for Voyage Data Recorders upgrade 1 July 2022 is approaching fast

The update to the EPIRB performance standard has had a knock-on effect on the IMO’s VDR and S-VDR performance standards, as the VDR’s float-free data capsule is required to meet the requirements of the latest EPIRB performance standard.

VDRs installed on or after 1 July 2022*, are to be approved to IMO Resolution MSC.333(90), as amended by MSC.494(104). Similarly, S-VDRs installed on or after 1 July 2022*, are to be approved to IMO Resolution MSC.163(78), as amended by Resolution MSC.214(81) and MSC.493(104.




The voyage data recorder (VDR) system, including all sensors, shall be subjected to an annual performance test. The test shall be conducted by an approved testing or servicing facility to verify the accuracy, duration, and recoverability of the recorded data. In addition, tests and inspections shall be conducted to determine the serviceability of all protective enclosures and devices fitted to aid location. A copy of the certificate of compliance issued by the testing facility, stating the date of compliance and the applicable performance standards, shall be retained on board the ship. Albion Marine Solutions can assist you with these services and upgrades. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hikes in oil prices will make Exhaust Gas Cleaning systems the most viable option for ship and vessel owners to limit Sox emissions

Oil prices were high before, but consistent with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, oil prices have now reached a culmination WTI Crude 111.40$/barrel and Brent Crude at 110.46$/barrel. For the shipping and marine industry, these unprecedented hikes in oil prices will create a thriving market to refit Exhaust Gas cleaning systems that operate on high sulfur fuel, whose prices are much lower than low sulfur fuels.

 Why is it prudent to install Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (Scrubbers) instead of using low sulfur oils?

Exhaust gas cleaning systems (Scrubbers) operate on high sulfur fuel, and high sulfur fuel oil 'bunker' is plentiful and reasonably priced. It's well tolerated by marine engines, which consume approximately four million barrels (550,000 tonnes) per day. Its accessibility and low cost are accounted for in the current cost structure of marine freight tariffs. Furthermore, the payback time period of installing an Exhaust Cleaning System is less than two years compared to keeping operating on high-cost low-sulfur fuel to comply with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 regulations limiting sulfur dioxide emissions (Sox) to 0.50 percent.


Albion Marine Solutions provides turnkey solutions from scratch to after-sales support. Based on the feasibility study, client requirements, and the alkalinity of the marine environment in which the vessel will operate, Albion Marine can recommend supply and refit the EGCS system. Further to our capabilities, all types of exhaust gas cleaning systems are available with us, including wet scrubbers (open and closed loop), dry scrubbers, and hybrid scrubbers; for more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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