BWMC's Entry Into Force Imminent
Jacqueline Tan, Senior Claims Executive at the UK P&I Club, commented on the ballast water management controls coming into force: “The coming into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention 2004 (“BWMC”) is now imminent. As of February 12, 2015, 44 States representing 32.86% out of the requisite 35% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage have ratified the Convention. The balance is expected to be obtained shortly and the Convention will enter into force 12 months thereafter.
“Rather than delaying the Convention’s entry into force date, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has proposed delaying the implementation of sanctions for a trial period of between two to three years once the Convention comes into force. Delaying entry into force will discourage manufacturers from continuing to invest in advancing the necessary technology in this field.
“A ship will need to comply with the BWMC on her first IOPP renewal survey after entry into force. It is estimated that some 57,000 ships will need to comply. Assuming a maximum of 40 ships can be retrofitted a day, it will take nearly four years for all the retrofitting to be completed.
“Experts have estimated that the whole process from selecting a BWM system to installing the system takes from a minimum of six months up to a year. Worryingly, we are aware that a number of shipowners have yet to take even the first steps towards complying with this Convention.
“As spaces in the major shipyards are already all booked up, there is real possibility of serious bottlenecks occurring. Ships that fail to comply on time will face serious commercial disadvantages, as their trading limits will be severely restricted.
“The UK P&I Club’s message to its Members is not to delay any further but to take steps now to ensure compliance with the Convention is timely.”