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MEPC 79 Summary

Various proposals for amendments and unified interpretations were discussed at MEPC in correlation to the guidelines of the BWM Convention. Operational matters regarding the implementation of the BWM Convention were also under consideration. Two additional BWMSs were type approved at this meeting pending the outcome of GESAMP-BWWG 42.

International Maritime Organization buildingBWMS guidance on BWM in challenging waters

Proposals on guidance for ships encountering challenging water during uptake were discussed at MEPC 79.  A consensus was difficult to reach as ships that are bypassing a BWMS should only be doing so as a last resort. Concerns were raised regarding D-2 compliance after experiencing challenging uptake water, the use of ballast water exchange plus treatment and what are the guidelines should prompt its use. All agreed that the communication with the port when de-ballasting this uptake water was crucial. Organizations, along with additional comments by the Ballast Water Review Group were taken into consideration and further discussion will be conducted at MEPC 80 in order to establish a list of fundamental principles to consider when developing guidance for ships encountering challenging water quality.

Storage of grey water and treated sewage in ballast tanks

It was agreed that the use of grey water and treated sewage could be used in ballast tanks for temporary storage. The opinion was that the language within the BWM Convention did not specifically prevent it and so guidance will be developed at the next MEPC for the management of the changeover between different usages of the ballast tanks to continued assurance of compliance to the BWM Convention.

Unified Interpretation of Paragraph 4.10 of the BWM Code

Unified interpretation of Paragraph 4.10 discussed and it was agreed that the timeframe and persons calibrating the components of BWMS that take measurement should not be tied to specific surveys but should instead be in agreement with the BWMS manufacturer’s recommendation and that all calibrations should be done by the manufacturer or their authorized service personnel.

Unified Interpretation of regulation E-1.1.5 of the BWM Convention and the form of the BWM Certification

The Committee approved a revised unified interpretation of regulation E-1.1.5 of the BWM Convention regarding changes to the form of the International BWM Certificate (IBWMC) to better provide clarity on when further commissioning testing, in the case of major modifications to an installed BWMS, is necessary. It was decided that additional commissioning testing should be carried out after change to a major component on a system and, if approved, a new IBWMC would be issued to the vessel.

Approval of amendments to the form of the ballast water record book

Draft amendments have been approved for a new form for the Ballast Water Record Book (BWRB) and new format of the BWRB in Appendix II of the Annex to the BWM Convention. The revised BWRB would introduce code letters to improve the record-keeping of BWMS issues. The discussion was rescheduled to MEPC 80 and interested organizations were invited to submit their proposals to be circulated with a understanding for adoption at this time.