The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has announced that the conditions for entry into force of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention may have been met, following the convention’s ratification by three more countries in November 2015.
The convention, which will enter into force twelve months after the tonnage requirement is met, will require ships either not to carry ballast water or to treat it in order to get the number of living species in the water down to a set level, to prevent contamination of ecosystems.
Despite the compiled 2015 assessment tonnages, which were released in December, including some unverified data, the IMO revealed that the conditions might have been met by a very small margin after Morocco, Indonesia and Ghana ratified the convention.
The three States brought the number of countries which have ratified the BWM convention to 47, 17 more than the number required, but at the time of publication IHS Maritime & Trade was still calculating whether the requirement for parties to hold 35% of the world’s tonnage had been met.
IMO’s secretary-general Koji Sekimizu requested a complete verification of tonnage data as at the time of the submissions by the three countries prior to determining whether or not the entry-into-force requirements were met.
Should the verification process, which is expected to be completed in early 2016, show that the ratifications by Morocco, Indonesia and Ghana added sufficient tonnage, the convention will enter into force on November 24, 2016.
Sekimizu called on the shipping industry to take action towards installing necessary equipment and establishing operational procedures in line with IMO regulations and standards, in order for the convention to be effectively implemented once it enters into force.
He urged countries, especially those with large merchant fleets, to ratify the BWM Convention if they had not done so already.
Additionally, Sekimizu urged the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) to make in spring 2016 a set of amendments to the convention taking into account all the agreements forged at both the IMO Assembly and MEPC during the past three years.