Offshore Statutory Alert – Understanding the application of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention to fixed installations and mobile units
Applicability: All shipowners and operators
The BWM Convention will enter into force on 8 September 2017 and will affect all offshore units.
The IMO has issued BWM.2/Circ.46 addressing the application of the Convention to mobile offshore units (MOUs) during transit and at the location of operation, and BWM.2/Circ.52 addressing where the Convention may cease to apply in the specific circumstances described in Article 3.2(b) to (d).
The application of the BWM Convention outlined in IMO Resolution A.1088(28) allows for the use of regulation D-1 (the ballast water exchange standard) during the transitional period until the completion of the first IOPP renewal survey after 8 September 2017. This period of grace gives owners the opportunity to seek compliance with the requirements in regulation D-2 or equivalent. During the transitional period, a Certificate or Statement of Compliance can be issued to offshore units having an approved BWM plan complying with regulation D-1 and after a survey has been carried out to confirm compliance with the Convention.
Floating platforms, floating storage units (FSUs) and floating production, storage and offloading units (FPSOs) (i.e. floating offshore installations at fixed locations)
Floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs are not normally required by the Convention to undergo surveys or have international convention certification unless they transit or relocate to another location, at which time the requirements of the Convention become applicable.
Owners should ensure that they meet the requirements of the Administration¹ where they are operating. Should the Administration¹ not require such units under their jurisdiction to have an International BWM Certificate, the owners/operators should obtain this agreement for exclusion from the Convention. The flag Administration (if applicable) should then be notified of this decision (refer to BWM.2/Circ.52).
In any case, the Administration¹ is to establish measures for ensuring that the provisions of the Convention are complied with (regulation E-1.2).
¹ "Administration" means the Government of the State under whose authority the ship is operating. With respect to a ship entitled to fly a flag of any State, the Administration is the Government of that State. With respect to floating platforms engaged in exploration and exploitation of the sea-bed and subsoil thereof adjacent to the coast over which the coastal State exercises sovereign rights for the purposes of exploration and exploitation of its natural resources, including Floating Storage Units (FSUs) and Floating Production Storage and Offloading Units (FPSOs), the Administration is the Government of the coastal State concerned.
An International BWM Certificate will be required by 8 September 2017. The Certificate can be issued after an approved BWM plan describing how the requirements of the Convention will be met has been put in place and after a survey has been carried out. Ballast water record book entries are to be maintained on board for a minimum of two years.
Owners could meet the requirements of the Convention by, for example, installing a permanent treatment system, installing a temporary treatment system or discharging untreated ballast water and sediments to other ships or barges. BWM.2/Circ.46 provides the option for an internal circulation method to be used.
What to do next
Clarify with your coastal state administration whether your offshore unit needs an International BWM Certificate.
Obtain an International BWM Certificate (if required) by 8 September 2017.