Updates on the G8 Guidelines of the Ballast Water Management Convention

07 December 2016  |  C16038

Following the 70th session of the Maritime Safety Protection Committee (MEPC) carried out in IMO on 24th to 28th of October 2016, revised guidelines for approval of ballast water management systems (G8) have been adopted.

Ship Owners / Managers / Operators  |  Surveyors  |  Flag Administrations

Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) shall be approved in accordance with the standards set in the G8 Guidelines. These were developed by IMO to establish an orderly process whereby candidate technologies are tested in land based and shipboard tests and certified by IMO Member States if they meet the required discharge criteria. Ensuring installed treatment systems consistently and reliably meet the required discharge standard not only protects the environment by reducing the transfer of aquatic invasive species between ecosystems, but also provides vessel Owners with confidence that use of a type approved system will enable the vessel to comply with the standard wherever the vessel calls.

Unfortunately, there have been recent cases in which IMO type approved ballast water treatment systems have failed to meet the D-2 standard when subject to additional testing and/or evaluation. Following these incidents, it has been decided to start a review process of the G8 guidelines.

Through MEPC 70, the revised G8 Guidelines were finally adopted.  Concerning the application dates of the revised Guidance, the Committee has agreed that the revised G8 will be effective from the day of the adoption of the resolution but the existing G8 guidelines may be used until October 28, 2018 in approving BWMS. Also, BWMS installed on or after October 28, 2020 should meet the new G8 guidelines. BWMS installed prior to October 28, 2020 should be approved taking in to account either existing G8 guidelines or preferably revised G8 guidelines.

It was also agreed that the approval process should be made mandatory and the MEPC instructed the IMO Secretariat to prepare the “Code for approval of ballast water management systems” as well as draft amendments to the BWM Convention making the Code mandatory and renamed. Thus, the Committee instructed the IMO Secretariat to prepare a draft of the Code, and prepare draft amendments to regulation D-3 of the BWM Convention, to reflect the mandatory status of the Code, for circulation upon entry into force of the Convention. These draft texts will be considered at MEPC 71.

D-2 Standard postponement

As already been informed through C16022, existing ships will be required to install onboard a ballast water treatment system (D-2 Standard) by the first renewal survey of the IOPP Certificate following the entry into force date of the Convention, i.e. September 08, 2017.

On the other hand, MEPC 70 has discussed two submissions proposing a further postponement of the D-2 standard implementation. The agreed way forward was that the decision taken by MEPC 69 on the draft amendments to regulation B-3 would be maintained for the time being, and an alternative text for the amendments would be considered during MEPC 71 together with the original one.

The alternative option would allow ships whose IOPP Certificate expires between the entry into force date of the Convention and September 08, 2019 to fit the BWTS at the second IOPP renewal survey following the entry into force date, whilst ships with an IOPP renewal date after September 08, 2019 would be required to maintain the first IOPP renewal date for fitting the treatment system.

As the final decision on the option to be used will be taken at MEPC 71 in May 2017, Dromon shall notify accordingly all Owners / Managers / Operators through a Circular for the possible postponement of the D-2 standard implementation.

Act now

Owners / Managers / Operators are urged to start submitting to Dromon Engineering Department their Ballast Water Management Plans for review and approval.  In addition, Dromon Engineering Department can assist and guide on the requirements for the retrofitting of such equipment on board.

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