The shipping industry is facing several challenges in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, including delays and postponements of ballast water management systems (BWMS) installations in shipyards and dry docks. Should this disruption continue for a few more months, some shipowners’ plans to install type-approved systems could face disruptions.
If shipowners had shortlisted BWMS type-approved based on guidelines of approval of ballast water management systems (MEPC 174 (58)), also known as the G8 guidelines, those BWMS are not compliant for installation on board ships from 28 October 2020.
In spring 2018, an amendment to the International Convention for the Management of Ballast Water and Sediments (the BWM convention) was adopted, where installations of BWMS on or after 28 October 2020, shall be type-approved based on the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems (MEPC 300 (72)) (BWMS Code) 1 and not the earlier G8 guidelines (MEPC 174(58)).
After this date BWMS approved in accordance with the earlier G8 Guidelines must not be installed on board ships.
Although there are more than 80 type-approved BWMS in the market, as of today and as per information available at IMO 2, there are only six systems that have been type-approved based on the new BWMS Code.
Although we expect that this number will increase going forward, it is unlikely that all existing 80 systems will obtain type-approval based on the BWMS Code before 28 October 2020 deadline.
Therefore, it is important that shipowners look into the details for type approval of the BWMS they have selected for installation before and after 28 October 2020.
The importance of installation date
As per BWM 2./Circ 66 - the word "installed" means the contractual date of delivery of the ballast water management system to the ship. In the absence of such a date, the word "installed" means the actual date of delivery of the ballast water management system to the ship;".
BIMCO advises shipowners to check their BWMS installation plans, especially the BWMS contract, and make any necessary adjustments.
1. Approvals based on 2016 G8 guidelines (resolution MEPC.279(70) will be viewed as the same as BWMS Code MEPC.300(72).
2. List of type-approved ballast water management systems