MEPC set for two-year delay to BWMC for existing ships

The International Maritime Organisation is expected to approve a two-year delay to the Ballast Water Management Convention. Credit: Dietmar Hasenpusch
The International Maritime Organisation is expected to approve a two-year delay to the Ballast Water Management Convention. Credit: Dietmar Hasenpusch

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is expected to approve a two-year delay to the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) for existing vessels.

Following discussions at this week’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 71 delegates discussed an extension that would see existing vessels required to comply with the BWMC from 2019 with a five-year phase-in period up to September 2024, depending on the date of issue for a vessel’s International Oil Pollution Prevention certificate.

In addition, MEPC71 is expected to approve the requirement for all vessels of less than 400gt to fit a ballast water treatment system from 2024.

Delegates felt that the proposals for existing ships represented a realistic schedule for the introduction and retrofitting of treatment systems, particularly with the large number of systems that would be required to meet the demand for up to 1,800 new vessels over the coming two years.

“There would not be enough ballast water treatment systems available for all these ships,” said one delegate.