July 7 - The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) - in co-operation with a coalition of international shipping organisations - has submitted a paper to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that proposes a means of overcoming the serious implem

The Ballast Water Management Convention 2004 was created due to the damage caused to the environment by invasive alien species when vessels discharge ballast water. All ships, regardless of size, which are designed to carry and discharge ballast water will have to install treatment systems to purify that water prior to discharging it.

However, information suggests that many governments are not ready to implement the requirements in a uniform manner, while questions still surround the approval process for the expensive new treatment systems, and there is still a need to provide confidence to shipowners that have already installed the new equipment so that they will be regarded by the authorities as compliant.

The ICS paper suggests solutions to these complex problems in the form of a draft Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) resolution that could be adopted by IMO Member States before the BWM Convention enters into force. The IMO MEPC will meet in London in October 2014 to discuss the matter.

Presently, ICS supports the objectives of the Convention and recognises that its eventual entry into force is inevitable. However, it fears that unless these problems are resolved immediately at IMO there is a considerable risk that the regime will not be fit for purpose.