As proposed by INTERTANKO and its industry partners, the IMO has agreed to commence a review of the ballast water management system (BWMS) type approval guidelines (G8) and at the same time agreed not to penalise those owners who have already installed BWMS that are approved in accordance with the current approval guidelines.
The agreement, which will be issued as an IMO MEPC Resolution, comes after a tireless effort by INTERTANKO and its industry partners to address key challenges associated with the implementation of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC). The agreement to review and eventually revise the type approval guidelines should mean that future BWMS brought onto the market and approved by a more robust approval procedure will give owners greater confidence that once purchased and installed, a type approved BWMS will meet the ballast discharge standard.
It is also important that the agreement to revise the type approval guidelines was taken together with the agreement to not penalise those owners that have already installed type approved BWMS. The principle established at the meeting was to protect the early-movers of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention. However, there remains some uncertainty about how the protection will actually be devised. The term ‘grandfathering’ was not used in the final MEPC Resolution and instead the member States requested the IMO Secretariat to provide legal advice on the appropriate legal action for this agreement.
INTERTANKO and the industry will have active roles in the IMO Correspondence Group established to undertake the review of the type approval guidelines.
During the MEPC meeting, Turkey deposited its instrument of ratification to the BWMC. Together with Japan and Jordan who also ratified the BWMC just prior to the commencement of the MEPC meeting, 43 countries comprising approximately 32.5% of the world’s tonnage have now ratified the BWMC. Argentina and Italy both made statements at the IMO Council meeting in June advising that they were very near to depositing their instruments of ratification as well. With these two countries, the tonnage figure will increase to about 34.2%, some 0.8% away from the 35% threshold required to bring the Convention into force.