"In light of the lack of a clear decision on a single implementation scheme for complying with the D-2 biological standard following entry into force of the Convention for ships constructed prior to September 8, 2017...", that´s how the ABS Newsletter on BWM from MEPC 70 starts.

And it´s true, we went to MEPC 24 October 2016 with a BWM Convention freshly ratified and due to enter into force 8 September 2017, starting the real implementation of an environmental regulation that was first brought to the attention of the IMO already in 1988 by Canada, reporting on invasive marine species in the Great Lakes.

We left MEPC 28 October 2016 with two proposed implementation schedules, and a statement from the Chairman of MEPC that all this can still change by MEPC 72, when the BWM Convention actually is modified Spring 2018, almost 6 months after its entry into force.

So what we now have are the following 2 implementation schemes:

  1. Compliance with D-2 at the first IOPP renewal survey after September 8, 2017.
  2. Compliance with D-2 at the first IOPP renewal survey completed after September 8, 2017, unless that survey is completed prior to September 8, 2019, in which case compliance is at the first IOPP renewal survey completed after September 8, 2019.

Given that there is no strong majority for one scheme or the other, we might end up in a situation where ships may be required to install BWMS (or asked to comply with the D-2 standard to be more correct) at the entry into force of the Convention. This is due to the fact that the current Regulation B-3 applies until a unanimous agreement is made at MEPC and later Assembly not to enforce it before it is changed. This unanimous agreement that was present through Resolution A.1088(28), is now up in the air by the introduction of scheme 2.

And who introduced scheme 2? Ship owners´ representatives themselves! Not only did they introduce it, they did not back off when the Chairman of MEPC tried to insinuate to them that MEPC should stick to the original agreement.

Heard of the idiom "turn the table on someone"? Well, it seems that we now have a classic example of a shipping industry who tried to delay implementation of the D-2 standard on their ships for 10 years, and ended up by probably moving it earlier than originally planned. And they did that all by themselves.

Until we hear the perspective of those NGOs, we can only recommend ship owners to take into account that they may have to have a treatment system onboard on the 8 September 2017, when planning how to comply with the D-2 standard of the Convention.

By Jad Mouawad, Owner at Mouawad Consulting

 The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of  GREEN4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.



Jad Mouawad (M.Sc. Marine Engineering) founded Mouawad Consulting AS in September 2013 in Norway after previously heading the Environmental Protection section at Det Norske Veritas (currently DNV GL). Mouawad Consulting AS currently delivers Type Approval advisory services for manufacturers of BWMS and retrofit services for ships. We are working with more than 120 companies, including ship owners, manufacturers of BWMS, class societies, governments, and shipyards. Mr. Mouawad is part of the Norwegian delegations on ballast water to the PPR and MEPC. He is regularly called upon as an expert in ballast water matters at international conferences and meetings.