IMO pushes back ballast water compliance dates

The following is the text of a news release from DNV GL:

(LONDON) — The International Maritime Organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), at its 71st meeting last week, reached a compromise on compliance dates for ballast water discharge. Ships constructed after Sept. 8, 2017, must comply on delivery, while existing ships in general must comply by the first International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) renewal after Sept. 8, 2019. The long-awaited agreement will have global impact. It provides certainty to the maritime community regarding the mandatory compliance dates for treatment of ballast water discharge.

With two months to go before the entry into force of the international Ballast Water Management Convention on Sept. 8, 2017, MEPC 71 reached a highly anticipated compromise agreement on the implementation dates for the so-called D-2 discharge standard. 

Generally, compliance with the D-2 standard translates to the date individual ships must have a ballast water treatment system installed. The agreement ensures full global implementation by Sept. 8, 2024 and contains the following key elements:

Ships constructed (keel-laid) on or after Sept. 8, 2017 need to comply with the D-2 standard upon delivery.

Existing ships should be D-2 compliant on the first IOPP renewal following entry into force if: this survey is completed on or after Sept. 8, 2019, or a renewal IOPP survey is completed on or after Sept. 8, 2014 but prior to Sept. 8, 2017.

Furthermore, the ship should be D-2 compliant on the second IOPP renewal survey following entry into force, if the first renewal survey following the date of entry into force of the convention is completed prior to Sept. 8, 2019 and if conditions 1 or 2 above are not met.

This means that a ship which is due for an IOPP renewal survey between Sept. 8, 2017 and Sept. 8, 2019 cannot decouple its IOPP survey for a second renewal before Sept. 8, 2019 without then having to comply with the D-2 standard.

Ships constructed before Sept. 8, 2017 and delivered (including the initial IOPP survey) after that date, need to comply with the D-2 standard at the first IOPP renewal survey after delivery.

It was also agreed that a ship to which the IOPP renewal survey does not apply (generally ships less than 400 GT in size) shall be D-2 compliant no later than Sept. 8, 2024.

The agreement implies that vessels with the last IOPP renewal carried out before Sept. 8, 2014 have nothing to gain by decoupling, but instead actually risk losing up to two years on the D-2 implementation date by doing so.

An MEPC resolution text to ensure that this agreement is effective from the convention’s entry into force date, Sept. 8, 2017, was also agreed to.


This decision is set, and the uncertainty surrounding the implementation date is now resolved. The agreed text will be circulated as an amendment to the Ballast Water Management Convention. All our customers are advised to carefully examine and consider their ship’s individual IOPP renewal dates so as to ensure compliance in due time.

Editor's note: In a recent bulletin, the U.S. Coast Guard reminds "masters, owners/operators, agents and persons in charge of vessels that the United States is not signatory to the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediment (BWM Convention) and that vessels discharging ballast water (BW) into the waters of the U.S. must comply with the requirements of 33 CFR 151 Subparts C and D."

By Professional Mariner Staff