BIMCO offers new guide for ballast water compliance

The following is the text of a news release from BIMCO:

(LONDON) — BIMCO, the world's largest international shipping association, has launched a practical guide for shipmasters managing new ballast water management systems. It coincides with the entry into force of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.

BIMCO's new Shipmaster's Ballast Water Manual provides clear, accessible information for seafarers dealing with practicalities of daily ballast water management. The manual covers all aspects of the convention including regulatory implementation, inspections by Port State Control and charterers and the latest guidance issued by the IMO.

The BWM Convention came into force on Sept. 8. To prevent the transfer of potentially invasive species, ballast water must now be treated before it is unloaded into a new location, so that any micro-organisms or small marine species are destroyed. There are currently numerous ballast water management systems that have been approved by the IMO but IMO member states and most seafarers are still unfamiliar with their operations.

"Implementation of the BWM Convention has been just around the corner for a long time, but there is still a great deal of confusion over the actual realities of the operational requirements, each ship's ballast water management plan and the associated recordkeeping to demonstrate compliance," said Lars Robert Pedersen, deputy secretary-general at BIMCO. "This new guide has been written with seafarers in mind, in a practical and easily accessible way, to be used onboard at sea, helping the crew to manage the new obligations safely and effectively."

BIMCO's Shipmaster's Ballast Water Manual links to the already established safety management system (SMS) covering the company and the ship, which includes proper plans for shipboard operations. The SMS requires crew and officers to be familiar with applicable onboard instructions and procedures, including ballast water management.

The manual reflects latest guidance from the IMO and can be ordered online on the following link: or by emailing 

By Professional Mariner Staff