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MEPC 80 Ballast Water Management Update and Summary

Progress and Key Issues in the Review of the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC)

Significant progress was made during the MEPC 80th session in reviewing the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC). To ensure an organized and practical review, the Convention Review Plan (CRP) was established, outlining the scope and objectives of the process.

Key outcomes of MEPC 80 included the finalization of a table addressing important issues to consider during the review. These issues include:

  • Improving the performance and reliability of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) to increase compliance with the D-2 standard.
  • Limitations in approved sampling and analysis methods for Port State Control, affecting the ability to determine compliance with the D-2 standard.
  • Inconsistent verification of BWMS performance outside of Port State Control.
  • Addressing crossover, confusion, and overlap issues between Conventions.
  • Establishing mechanisms for ship compliance when a BWMS may not be suitable for a specific voyage or operations.
  • Agreeing on mechanisms for ship compliance in cases of BWMS failure or challenging water quality.
  • Ensuring BWMS remains operational in challenging water quality situations.
  • Addressing the lack of support for modifications to BWMS in the current type approval process.
  • Improving mechanisms within the Convention to keep BWMS in working order.
  • Inconsistent discharge of ballast water managed by in-service BWMS, not meeting the D-2 standard.
  • Insufficient minimum requirements for ballast water management plans, including contingency measures and keeping the plan up to date.
  • Inconsistent discharge of ballast water managed by in-service BWMS using active substances, not meeting the maximum allowable discharge concentrations.
  • Operational and maintenance challenges, as well as preventable BWMS failures, due to a lack of familiarity with the equipment.

To address these issues effectively, a simplified table was created to identify priority and non-priority matters. This allows for a focused approach to tackle critical aspects of the BWMC. During MEPC 80 a Correspondence Group (CG) was established to provide comprehensive input and expertise. The CG’s main responsibility is to define objectives for potential changes to specific provisions of the BWMC or the development of new provisions and instruments. This group will recommend the future direction of the BWMC and ensuring its effectiveness in mitigating the environmental impact of ballast water.

Ballast Water Management Record-Keeping and Reporting

The adopted amendments and guidance for completing entries to the ballast water record book (BWMS.2 Circ. 80) has been finalized with changes made to the Guidelines for BWM and development of Ballast Water Management Plans (G4) and the Guidelines for ballast water exchange (G6) to incorporate the new record-keeping and reporting guidance. MEPC 80 also adopted the Guidance for the use of electronic record books (ERB) under the BWM Convention MEPC.372(80), resulting in consequential amendments to the Ballast water management convention to accommodate the new guidance on ERB.

The following issues were discussed and will be advanced for further discussion at MEPC 81 in the spring of 2024:

  • Addressing Challenging Water Quality
  • Guidance on the experience building phase (EBP) which is included in the Convention review plan (CRP)

Choice Ballast Solutions is focused on one thing, Ballast Water Management and we do it right ─ if you have questions or need assistance with the new updated guidelines on ballast water record book or BWMP contact us at