Entry into force of IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) is “a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species,” said IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim in a statement today (8 September) as that landmark is reached.
He believes that its entry into force will “provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships.”
He described the problem of invasive species as “one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet,” because of the damage they cause “to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend.” They also cause “direct and indirect health effects and the damage to the environment is often irreversible,” he said.
His statement reiterated the treatment standards that have come into effect today: new ships must meet the D-2 performance standard which specifies the maximum amount of viable organisms allowed to be discharged. Existing ships must initially meet the D-1 standard, which requires them to exchange their ballast water in open seas, away from coastal waters. The D-2 standard will apply to them according to a schedule agreed at July’s MEPC 71 meeting.
• IMO has issued an updated and comprehensive list of its guidelines and guidance documents related to the implementation of the BWMC, with links to most of those documents.