The ratification of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention has set the date in which the Convention will enter into force and, subsequently, when the standards in regulations D-1 and D-2 will begin being enforced under Port State Control (outside of the U.S.).
Starting September 8, 2017, vessels with greater than 400 gross tonnage will be required to manage ballast water by either installing a ballast water treatment system or performing ballast water exchange (BWE). All vessels must also maintain a ballast water management plan and record book.
- THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH BALLAST WATER EXCHANGE:
- Operations are more hazardous than normal port operations
- Could result in lengthy delays
- Operations may put the safety of the vessel in jeopardy; careful planning is required
What Is Ballast Water Exchange?
BWE involves the substitution of water in vessel’s ballast tanks in an effort to limit the probability of transferring and introducing aquatic invasive species into waterways. This substitution can be accomplished by utilizing one of three methods deemed acceptable by the IMO. These methods include sequential, flow-through, and dilution.
BWE is an interim requirement for existing vessels without a treatment system installed. Regulations state that exchange be conducted at least 200 nautical miles from land and in water at least 200m in depth, otherwise in water at least 200m in depth and as far from land as possible or in a designated BWE area. Upon a vessel’s first renewal survey after September 8, 2017, BWE is no longer permitted, as it is at this time that the vessel must begin complying with D-2 ballast water discharge standards.
Three Reasons Why BWE May Not Be Appropriate For All Vessels
- The vessel’s ballast pumping and piping arrangement, and approved loading conditions may hinder or prohibit performing open-sea exchange
- The vessel may not be able to conduct exchange because the route has insufficient distance or water depth
- Conducting exchange depends upon favorable weather and sea surface conditions
We encourage you to refer to the most recent regulations and guidelines on ballast water exchange, and promptly develop a ballast water management plan approved by the vessel’s classification society.
IMO Resolution A.1008(28)
MEPC 53/24/Add.1 – GUIDELINES FOR BALLAST WATER EXCHANGE (G6)
MEPC 55/23 – GUIDELINES ON DESIGNATION OF AREA FOR BALLAST WATER EXCHANGE (G14)