• What Ballast Water is and why it's a problem
Ballast is defined as any solid or liquid that is brought on board a vessel to increase the draft, change the trim, regulate the stability or to maintain stress loads within acceptable limits.
With the introduction of steel-hulled vessels and pumping technology, water became the ballast of choice. Water can be easily pumped in and out of ballast tanks, requires little manpower, and as long as tanks are kept full, poses little to no stability problems.
There are thousands of aquatic species that may be carried in ships' ballast water, including bacteria and other microbes, micro-algae, and various life stages of aquatic plant and animal species.
• Ballast Water Certficates
Once the BWM Convention has entered into force all ships over 400 gt are subject to surveys and certification, instead, all ships of 400 gross tonnes (gt) and above will be required to have on board an approved Ballast Water Management Plan and a Ballast Water Record Book, and to be surveyed and issued with an International Ballast Water Management Certificate.
For ships whose flag administration has not ratified the BWM Convention a certificate or statement of compliance can be issued.
On completion of an initial survey, an International Ballast Water Certificate will be issued for a ship whose flag has ratified the BWM Convention; for other ships, a Ballast Water Management Certificate of Compliance will be issued.
Both the Certificates and the Statement will be valid for five years subject to annual, intermediate and renewal surveys.
• IMO (International Maritime Organization)
The IMO has published Interim Survey Guidelines (contained in the Circular, BWM.2/Circ.7) and it is expected that these will be incorporated into the IMO's Harmonised System of Survey and Certification Guidelines (Resolution A.997(25)) once the BWM Convention enters into force.
Ships may be subject to inspections by port states to determine whether they comply with the BWM Convention's requirements.
These inspections are limited to:
– verifying certification
– inspecting the ballast water record book
– sampling ballast water in accordance with the IMO's guidelines.
Read more about the Ballast Water treatment system by clicking HERE
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