The International Ballast Water Management Convention enters into force today (8 September 2017) and the IMarEST remains on standby to support vessel owners, equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders in their collective efforts to ensure the Convention is successfully implemented.
Under the Convention, commercial ships are required to install ballast water management systems in order to prevent the global spread of invasive marine organisms. To fulfil the objectives of the Convention and halt further damage to delicate marine ecosystems around the world, a number of vessel owners must now select and fit suitably type-approved equipment that matches the operational profile of their ships and satisfies the new regulatory regime.
“It is a major undertaking for any shipowner and one that is fraught with complex technical challenges. The IMarEST is well-placed and keen to assist vessel operators address these issues, particularly through its Ballast Water Expert Group,” said Dr Bev MacKenzie, the IMarEST’s Technical & Policy Director.
The Ballast Water Expert Group (BWEG) was first convened by the IMarEST in 2010 and prior to the Convention’s ratification, dedicated itself to informing and educating IMO member States and the wider community through the provision of technical information and guidance. Now that the Convention has entered into force, it is working to support stakeholders in aspects related to the practical implementation. Reflecting the change in focus, these activities include:
- Encouraging development, approval and uptake of management systems
- Supporting crew training and cultural change
- Ensuring adequate legislation is in place
- Supporting sampling and monitoring of ballast water
- Exploring contingency measures
- Ensuring best practice is captured and made available.
Working through the BWEG, the IMarEST will continue in its efforts to ensure the shipping and related maritime industries can fulfil their functions in facilitating international trade and economic development with minimal environmental impact. It will continue to support its members and the industry as a whole in implementing the Convention – preferably sooner rather than later.