Over the past few years, owners/operators, naval architects and marine engineers have been discussing and developing solutions associated with the installation of BWM systems on board ships. Issues such as footprint, power consumption, cost (CapEx and OpEx), capability with existing on board systems, and others have been discussed and will continue to be discussed in the future. Certainly these are all very important; however as noted in the ICS submission to MEPC 64, we must all recognize that the delay in the ratification of the Convention has also raised some practical issues that could have been avoided if the entry into force criteria had been achieved prior to the first application date specified in the Convention.
As of 31 March 2013, 36 Member States representing approx. 29.07% of the world Gross Tonnage have ratified the Ballast Water Convention. It is speculated that Singapore, 5.36% of world Gross Tonnage is working towards ratification.
During MEPC 64, it was noted that a limited number of BWMS have so far been installed, and the industry continues to have concerns, regarding the operational performance of the available systems and how these initial systems will be treated by Port States. MEPC 64 agreed to the development of an assembly resolution which could address such concerns. The intent of this resolution is to ease and facilitate the smooth implementation of the Convention, and not to change the application dates. The following were also agreed in MEPC 64:
- Development of a unified interpretation, with measures to ensure compliance of Mobile Offshore Units with the BWM Convention.
- The new installation of a BWMS is not considered as a “Major conversion”.
- A BWM Circular could facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the BWM Convention in the particular case of offshore supply vessels.
All the agreements were subject to review by MEPC 65.
Sub-committee BLG 17 agreed to the draft Circular on Guidance to Ballast Water Sampling and Analysis for Trial Use in accordance with the BWM Convention and Guidelines (G2). Once the Convention enters into force, a trial period (2-3 years) will be initiated, where a Port State Control (PSC) can further trial the approaches in the Circular, to ensure that they are practical and fit for purpose. BLG 17 also:
- Invited the FSI Sub-Committee to finalize the Guidelines for Port State Control
- Agreed to the revised MEPC resolution regarding the information reporting on type approved BWMS for consideration by MEPC 65.
- Agreed to the draft amendments to the Guidance for Administrations on the type approval process for BWMS in accordance with Guidelines (G8) for approval by MEPC 65.
- Developed a draft resolution detailing the options of BWM for Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs), in accordance with the BWM Convention.
The sub-Committee Flag State Implementation (FSI 21) established a Correspondence Group to develop the Guidelines for PSC, for finalization at FSI 22. It was agreed that the Correspondence Group would not commerce work until after MEPC 65. The sub-Committee agreed not to discuss any particular ballast water sampling or analysis methodology and to submit written reports and guidelines to FSI 22.
Compliance testing for Ballast Water discharges is proposed to occur by the following procedures, which can be described as a four stage inspection.
As of 17April 2013, IMO has granted basic approval to 42 systems and final approval to 28 systems with active substances and Foreign Administrations have granted type approval to 35 BWM systems that are commercially available. Owners are encouraged to consult with their Flag State relatively to the acceptance of the BWMS approved by other Member States. The BWM Convention requires installation of type approved systems.
The USCG regulations became effective on 21st of June 2012. The Ballast Water Management options that are acceptable according to USCG regulatory developments include : (a) installing and operating a BWM system that has been type approved by USCG, (b) using only water from a US public water system, (c) performing a complete ballast water exchange in an area 200nm from any shore prior to discharging ballast water, unless the vessel is required to employ an approved BWMS as per the implementation schedule, (d) using an USCG-accepted Alternate Management System (AMS), (e) no ballast water discharging into waters of the United States, and (f) discharging to a facility onshore or another vessel for purposes of treatment. The Coast Guard will inspect BWM systems as part of the normal PSC inspection and their domestic vessel inspections.
To be eligible for an AMS determination, a system must be previously type approved by an Administration in accordance with IMO BWM Convention. Once BWM systems are type approved by the Coast Guard and available for a given class, type of vessel, or specific vessel, those vessels will no longer be able to install AMS in lieu of type approved systems. A vessel using an AMS that was installed on the vessel prior to the date that the vessel would be required to comply with the USCG discharge standard, may continue to employ such AMS for no longer than 5 years from the date that they would otherwise be required to comply with the discharge standard.
On April 15, USCG announced various models from eight different BWM manufacturers that were accepted as AMS. (As of 1 May, nine different BWM manufacturers have been accepted as AMS.) The vessels should maintain a vessel specific Ballast Water Management plan. It is our understanding that the Coast Guard will verify, during their inspections, the specific text addressing sediment management in the BWM plan or that a sediment plan is referenced by a BWM plan. The industry should expect the USCG inspectors to question the Master and the relevant crew regarding their understanding of the new requirements and their personal responsibilities under the BWM plan. The Coast Guard will continue to inspect vessel’s compliance with reporting, record keeping on Ballast Water Management requirements.
First scheduled drydocking after 1 Jan 2016
1500 – 5000 m3
First scheduled drydocking after 1 Jan 2014
> 5000 m3
First scheduled drydocking after 1 Jan 2016
USCG regulatory developments: Implementation Schedule for Ballast Water Discharge Standards
The final 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will come into force on the 19th of December 2013. According to this we have:
- Addition of maximum discharge limitations for certain biocides & residuals in the ballast water discharge
- Alignment of the “new construction” definition consistent with the USCG final rule definition
- Alignment of drydocking definition to USCG definition, to mean “hauling out or placing of a vessel in a drydock or slipway…”; thus first scheduled drydocking for purposes of applying the implementation schedule would not include an underwater in lieu of drydocking event or emergency drydocking
- Exemption from meeting the numeric concentration treatment standards for certain vessels
- Additional requirements for vessels entering the Great Lakes from sea to conduct ballast water treatment AND exchange/salt water flushing
- Electronic recordkeeping
- Elimination of the one time report and annual non-compliance report and their consolidation into one annual report
According to 2013 VGP, monitoring of the BWM System includes equipment functionality metrics (including calibration of equipment), and biological organism indicators, and active substances, at specified intervals.
New York State local requirements: Any vessel covered by the VGP whose voyages originates outside the EEZ and entering NY State waters is required to conduct ballast water exchange or flushing beyond the EEZ, at least 200 nm from any shore and in waters at least 2,000 meters deep, resulting in a salinity level of 30ppt. This requirement remains in effect regardless of whether the vessel is equipped with a BWMS. Any ocean water reintroduced into the vessel’s tanks from that same general location has to be treated by the BWMS. NY State also requires additional monitoring of live organisms for ships operating BWMS.
California State local requirements: Currently, ballast water exchange specific regulations address both mid-Ocean and coastal exchange. Vessels are required to have a ballast water management plan, ballast water log book and are required to submit a ballast water reporting form after departing from a California port.
With respect to the State of California, the local authorities, the California State Lands Commission (CSLC), have proposed changes to their original plans for implementing their ballast water treatment performance standards. California is proposing amendments to current provisions to enhance vessel compliance protocol by clarifying terminology and developing requirements for sample ports and sample collection and analysis. California will also review the availability of BWM systems capable of achieving the final California performance standards, determine if sufficient technologies exist for implementation of the final standards, and issue a report on availability of BWM systems and appropriate implementation of the standards.
Above article is an edited version of Mr Kariabas presentation during 2013 GREN4SEA Forum
You may view relevant video here