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).
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.
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).