The IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee has already developed a great number of guidelines and guidance aimed at facilitating the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention. Furthermore, the GloBallast Partnership Project and the Global Industry Alliance have been greatly instrumental in providing technical assistance and Research and Development (R&D) support to help countries and industry stakeholders with concrete solutions to make the Convention work for them. Last year, the long-awaited remaining trigger for the entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention finally came about, with the accession by Finland, the 52nd country to do so, bringing the aggregate of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage having acceded to the Convention at last over the required threshold of 35%, though only just – to 35.1% (35.1441%). The Convention will therefore enter into force on 8 September 2017. I firmly believe that this will enable us to tackle head-on the current uncertainties surrounding the worldwide implementation of the measures stipulated in the Convention for ballast water treatment. These uncertainties relate to doubts within the shipping industry about the robustness of the current IMO guidelines for approval of ballast water treatment systems and to reservations on the part of the United States with respect to the Convention’s performance standard for such systems. A tremendous amount of detailed work has been done by the designated IMO working group to review the guidelines and it is imperative that any outstanding reservations are addressed through a global solution endorsed by the IMO as this is the only feasible way to protect the marine environment, which is transnational by nature, and to provide predictability for shipowners required to commit several million dollars, per vessel, for the installation onboard of a ballast water treatment system.
IMO is now vigorously tackling another key vector for spreading invasive species - hull fouling
Ship recycling Many of you will be aware of the International Convention on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, the so-called Hong Kong Convention, which was adopted in 2009. Again, IMO has ventured into new territory by embracing the regulation not only of ships but also of land-based facilities into a single, comprehensive instrument. Furthermore, the Convention embraces the “cradle to grave” concept for the purpose of addressing all environmental and safety aspects relating to the dismantling and ultimate disposal of ships, taking them into account from the ship design stage onwards and right through to the end of the ship’s life, and
including also the responsible management of associated waste streams and their ultimate safe and environmentally sound disposal. To date, the Convention has secured five ratifications, and there are positive indications that ratification is receiving serious consideration by a number of governments. Meanwhile, the Marine Environment Protection Committee has already developed and
adopted all guidelines as required by the Convention and these are critical to early, voluntary implementation of the Convention’s provisions, ahead of its entry into force. Adherence to them now would therefore start a welcome process of incremental improvement, which would greatly facilitate a smooth transition to their mandatory implementation.
The official magazine of the International Maritime Organization