By Charlie Bartlett, European correspondent
Hurry Up and Wait Ballast Water Management Convention delayed further, while hybrid applications speed up
ince the beginning of the year, many have suspected that implementation of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention would be further delayed. Those suspicions were confirmed last month when IMO agreed to extend the timeline by another two years. The announcement followed the 71st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC71) in early July. Despite prior speculation to the contrary, the IMO did not elect to decouple implementation from the International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) certificate renewal survey, decreeing that owners would instead have to retrofit a system on board their vessels following their first IOPP renewal after September 8, 2019. Despite the delay, the BWM convention will be considered to have entered into force in September 8, 2017, and therefore vessels constructed after that date would still need to be compliant with immediate effect. As a result, there was a surge of shipowners who G2 Marine Log // August 2017
rushed to complete an IOPP renewal just before September 8, 2017, in order to give themselves a five-year reprieve from installing a BWM system (BWMS). MEPC71, in a move appearing to be a nod towards this tendency, agreed that for vessels that completed surveys between September 8, 2014 and September 8, 2017, the vessel would need to fit a system at its first IOPP renewal after the latter date. Meanwhile, if a vessel’s first IOPP renewal takes place between September 8, 2017 and September 8, 2019, and none was conducted in the three years prior to 2017, it will need to have a system fitted on or after its second IOPP renewal after 2017. This means the vast majority of vessels won’t have to fit systems until at least 2019, a staggering 15 years after the adoption of the BWM Convention in 2004, and vessels which do not need IOPP renewal certificates will not be required to install anything until 2024. The result was a blow to BWMS manufacturers, who have had to rely on “very patient
investors” to stay afloat, as Optimarin CEO Tore Anderson commented at a press conference this past May. “It is extremely disappointing that the IMO has accepted the proposal of these member states to push compliance with the BWM Convention two years further out and retain its link to the International Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate issued every five years,” said De Nora spokesperson Susanna Wyllie, in July. “Two years may not sound like a long extension, but with many owners choosing to renew their five-year IOPP certification on the cusp of entry into force the reality is that this pushes industry compliance out by up to seven years. “This brings the adoption of the convention, a clear recognition of the damage being done by invasive species and the need to tackle it, and industry-wide compliance with the environmental protection practices the IMO deemed necessary to 20 years. “Over 50 ballast water treatment systems have IMO Type Approval,” Wyllie continues.