The 80th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 3-7 July 2023, approved amendments to the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.
n particular, the MEPC 80th session approved the Convention Review Plan (CRP) under the experience‑building phase associated with the BWM Convention, including the list of priority issues to be considered in the convention review stage.
This will guide the comprehensive review of the BWM Convention over the next three years and the corresponding development of a package of amendments to the Convention.
The CRP, which will be disseminated as a BWM.2 circular, envisages that the amendments developed during this comprehensive process could be adopted at MEPC 85 in Autumn 2026. The Committee re-established the Correspondence Group on Review of the BWM Convention.
BWM Convention amendments
The MEPC adopted amendments to appendix II of the Annex to the BWM Convention (Form of Ballast Water Record Book). They are expected to enter into force on 1 February 2025.
Implementing the BWM Convention
The MEPC discussed a number of matters relating to the implementation of the BWM Convention, with the main outcomes including:
- Approved a BWM.2 circular on Guidance on matters relating to ballast water record-keeping and reporting. This Guidance will assist in bringing clarity to the record-keeping and reporting process under the BWM Convention, including guidance on completing the Ballast Water Record Book, an updated example ballast water reporting form and an example form for voluntary tank-by-tank logging of ballast water operations.
- Adopted an MEPC resolution on Amendments to the Guidelines for ballast water management and development of Ballast Water Management Plans (G4).
- Adopted an MEPC resolution on Amendments to the Guidelines for ballast water exchange (G6).
- Adopted an MEPC resolution on Guidance for the use of electronic record books under the BWM Convention. This guidance aims to provide standardized information on approving an electronic record book to ensure the obligations of the BWM Convention are met and that there is a consistent approach to approving such systems.
- Approved draft amendments to regulations A-1 and B-2 of the BWM Convention concerning the use of electronic record books under the Convention and instructed the Secretariat to circulate the amendments with a view to adoption by MEPC 81.
- Approved a Protocol for verification of ballast water compliance monitoring devices. This Protocol is an important tool to support effective implementation of the BWM Convention by enabling the use of devices for a variety of purposes that satisfy a common level of quality. These include commissioning testing of ballast water management systems, port State control inspections, and ships’ self-monitoring.
- Approved a unified interpretation to the form of the International Ballast Water Management Certificate (IBWMC) and regulations B-3.5 and B-3.10 of the BWM Convention, regarding the “date of construction” for a ship which has undergone a major conversion in order to implement the BWM Convention.
- Granted Final Approval to two ballast water management systems which make use of Active Substances, granted Basic Approval to one, and extended the Final Approval of another for use in fresh water; based on the outcome of the 43rd meeting of the GESAMP Ballast Water Working Group.