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Ballast Water Management Convention: Fifteen years in the making

After 15 years of talk, the Ballast Water Management Convention will apply to new and old ships starting on September 8. But is the industry ready for one of the most delayed regulatory requirements in memory? Join our webinar as we discuss early experience and how operators can successfully follow the rules

IN LIGHT of the 2020 sulphur cap and an increasing focus on the long-term decarbonisation targets of the shipping industry, one of the most controversial regulations of the past 15 years appears to have faded to obscurity.

It took governments at the International Maritime Organization a full 13 years to adopt the Ballast Water Management Convention, a considerably long time even by maritime regulatory standards, ultimately achieving that in September 2016. 

A spike in the number of firms offering ballast water treatment equipment ensued, as a new and long-awaited market opportunity guaranteed to generate millions in revenues emerged.

But just a few months later, the governments and the industry would agree to give ships built before September 8, 2017 another two years to prepare for the rules. Offering treatment systems suddenly became less of a lucrative prospect. There were cases in which vendors folded after the timeline was revised.

While the delay and the reprieve tell quite a story about policy making, they also spoke to concerns about the actual equipment on offer. Industry insiders repeatedly complained that a new regulation looms while the equipment on offer is way below par.

All of that is in the past and on September 8, 2019, every vessel will have to begin abiding by the rules. There will be no new reprieves or exemptions.

But is the industry really prepared? And are the systems on offer today credible?

Owners also have to contend with the distinct ballast water regulations of the US, which only recognises its own approved treatment equipment.

Today, there are 20 different systems approved by the US Coast Guard so, on paper at least, owners have plenty to choose from.

The fact remains that this is still a new — and, in most cases, a future — reality for the majority of the shipping industry. Moreover, the regulation is still evolving, as shown clearly this past May when regulators approved requirements  for testing systems during commissioning after installation.

Lloyd’s List’s upcoming ballast water webinar, Ballast Water Management Convention: Early learnings and final preparations, will focus on the implementation of the convention, the regulatory aspects and how owners, operators and crews can ensure a smooth transition while minimising the likelihood for complications.

Sponsored by ballast water treatment system provider Hyde Marine, the webinar will focus on these key aspects of the regulation, with a panel of experts from DNV GL, V.Group and the Ballast Equipment Manufacturers Association sharing their views.  

Click here to register for the webinar

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