The IMO, at MEPC 71 (July 2017), agreed the following set of operational guidance documents and disseminated them as circulars and resolutions:
Resolution MEPC.288(71) - 2017 Guidelines for ballast water exchange (G6)
BWM.2/Circ.52/Rev.1 – Guidance on entry or re-entry of ships into exclusive operation within waters under the jurisdiction of a single Party
BWM.2/Circ.62 – Guidance on contingency measures under the BWM Convention
BWM.2/Circ.63 – Application of the BWM Convention to ships operating solely in sea areas where ballast water exchange in accordance with regulation B-4.1 is not possible
Advice to shipowners and ship managers
Resolution MEPC.288(71), which makes changes to the ballast water exchange (G6) guidelines, does not necessitate the revision of existing onboard BWM Plans, because the IMO has not revised the ‘Guidelines for ballast water management and development of ballast water management plans (G4)’ (resolution MEPC.127(53)).
BWM.2/Circ.52/Rev.1 addresses single voyage exemptions. While the BWM Convention provides for waivers to requirements for ships operating exclusively in a specified area, it does not address the situation for ships that have been granted such waivers, but need to undertake special voyages for periodic dry-docking repair or maintenance abroad, outside of the specified area. This circular provides guidance as to the short-term application of the Convention to such ships undertaking such voyages.
BWM.2/Circ.62 addresses the possible actions to be taken by the ship when discharged ballast water is found not to meet the necessary standard, which also requires liaison with the authorities involved. See also Class News 09/2018.
BWM.2/Circ.63 clarifies that ships that do not yet have a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS), but are engaged in voyages where there is no suitable sea area for Ballast Water Exchange (BWE), are not required to install a BWMS until the date that a ship is required to meet D-2 standards. If the port State has established a designated area for BWE, other provisions apply. Therefore, it is essential to contact port States on the establishment of such a BWE sea area.
Shipowners and ship managers are invited to bring the above information to the attention of ship masters. The above information may be included in the part of the shipboard Safety Management System, but is not required to be incorporated into the Ballast Water Management Plan at this stage. An updated version of the LR Model Ballast Water Management Plan can be found here.