In order to reduce the harmful effects on the marine environment that are spread through aquatic micro-organisms transferred from one area to another through ballasting operations of the ship, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a convention in order to control and manage ships ballast and sediments ion on 13th February 2004.
The new BWM (Ballast Water Management) Convention which entered into force on 8 September 2017 requires ships to manage not just their ballast water but their sediments too, to specific standards. Ships are also required to –
1) carry a ballast record book;
2) carry an International Ballast Water Management Certificate.
In order to reach these new ballast water and sediments standards, new built ships must come equipped with an operational Ballast Water Management System or treatment plant while existing ships, are required to exchange their ballast water at mid-ocean and are only required to meet the ballast water treatment standards by the next renewal date of their IOPP certificate, after 8 September 2019. Until then, mid-ocean exchange is accepted.
In other words, ballast water can be a big deal and needs special handling and attention. Below some points, which will let you comply with BWM:
Avoid taking Ballast:
1) From Shallow water
2) In vicinity of sewage out-falls or dredging operations
3) Near, where there is a known outbreak of diseases communicable through ballast water
4) At night when bottom- dwelling organisms may rise up in the water column
5) Where the incoming or outgoing tide is known to be turbid
6) Where tidal flushing is poor
Ballast Water Exchange
Ballast water exchange operations are to be carried out in the deep water, open ocean as far as possible from the shore. The exchange should be conducted when the vessel is sailing in clean ocean water, which can be found more than 200 nautical miles from shore and in the water where the depth is 200 meters or more.
Each procedure concerning ballast water exchange is to be fully recorded (without delay) in the ballast water record book (An integral part of ballast water management plan). These records are considered to be critical to the success of the ballast water management plan and dole out to provide documentation that the ballast water exchange has been properly conducted and the exchange has been completed.
- Date of the operation
- Ship’s ballast tank used in the operation.
- Temperature of the ballast water.
- Salinity of the ballast water in PPM (salt content in parts per million).
- Position of the ship (latitude and longitude).
- Amount of ballast water involved in operation.
- All the records entered must be signed by a responsible officer (normally chief officer).
- Master is overall in-charge of the operation and he will also acknowledge the ballast/ de-ballast operation by signing the BWM log.
- Date and identification of the tank last cleaned.
- If there is accidental discharge of ballast exchange it must be entered and signed. Same information is to be given to concerned port state authority.
- Descriptions of the procedures required to conduct ballast water exchange.
Authorized Port State Officers may inspect the ballast water record book on board the vessel as a means to determine the status of complying BWM Regulations.
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