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Intertanko plans to submit ballast water contingency measures to IMO

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, or Intertanko, have come up with a standard procedure on how port-states should respond when a tanker’s ballast water management system is not working and plans to submit the procedure to the International Maritime Organization, Intertanko ,director Tim Wilkins told S&P Global Platts Thursday 29 March 2018. 

IMO has asked the port-states to deal with such situations on a case-by-case basis; but, Intertanko has favoured a uniform approach since it would make shipping industry more efficient. Moreover, its approach gives importance to transparency and operational efficiency while dealing with difficult situations. 

 “A lot of time is being used to fix these systems…what we are trying to do is have an industry standard that the member states of IMO can accept in a more practical and operational way,” Wilkins said. 

Intertanko has drawn up nine contingency measures, among which include fixing the BWM system at the ballast loading port, fixing the system enroute to the port, performing a mid-ocean ballast water exchange, or retain ballast water onboard.

Intertanko says it will require its members to show port authorities why the system failed, provide a history of the maintenance of the system, and whether efforts have been made to liaise with manufacturers on getting the system fixed.

“That way there’s transparency when we go to all the ports in the world,” Wilkins said.


 According to IMO,Ballast water may be taken onboard by ships for stability and can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and animals, which are then carried across the globe. Untreated ballast water released at the ship’s destination could potentially introduce a new invasive marine species.  Hundreds of such invasions have already taken place, sometimes with devastating consequences for the local ecosystem. 

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) was adopted in 2004 to introduce global regulations to control the transfer of potentially invasive species. With the treaty now in force, ships need to manage their ballast water. 

The International Maritime Organization’s Ballast Water Management Convention came into force on September 8, 2017 with the aim of mitigating this transfer.

Under the Convention, ships are required, according to a timetable of implementation, to comply with the D1 or D2 standards. 

The D1 standard requires ships to carry out a ballast water exchange, and specifies the volume of water that must be replaced. This standard involves exchanging the discharge water taken from the last port, with new sea water. The exchange must occur at a minimum of 200 nautical miles from shore.

The D2 standard is more stringent and requires the use of an approved ballast water treatment system. The system must ensure that only small levels of viable organisms remain left in water after treatment so as to minimise the environmental impact of shipping. 

New ships will be required to install and comply with the D2 standard from September 8, 2017. Existing ships, which are subject to the phased implementation schedule, have potentially, depending on the renewal of their ship certificates, until September 8, 2024, by which time all ships will comply with the D2 standard.


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