Draft guidance on system design limitations (SDLs) of ballast water management systems (BWMSs) was agreed this morning (9 February) by IMO’s Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 5). It will now be submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its 73rd meeting, scheduled for 22-26 October.
The guidance establishes a common approach to describing operational limitations “with a view to increasing global consistency in the application of SDL and the implementation of self-monitoring,” according to its preamble. It is set out in an annex to a report prepared while PPR 5 has been in session this week by its working group on Ballast Water Management and Anti-fouling Systems.
If the guidance is approved by MEPC 73, administrations will include a system’s SDLs on its type-approval certificate, listed under the heading "This equipment has been designed for operation in the following conditions." The manufacturer would have to integrate the SDLs into the self-monitoring system of the BWMS “where appropriate and practical”.
The guidance defines SDLs as “the physical and/or operational limitations inherent in the design of the BWMS itself, as opposed to the minimum criteria within the 2016 Guidelines (G8).” It clarifies that “the term does not refer to regulatory restrictions on when the BWMS may or may not be used.”
It explains that an approved BWMS “might not be appropriate for all ships or all situations” and notes that “some ships need assurances that BWMS will be capable of operating in conditions that are more challenging than those included in the standardised tests.”
Because of this, “the SDL approach is intended to complement the standardised tests in the 2016 Guidelines (G8) by providing validated information on the conditions for which an individual BWMS is designed.”
● US Coast Guard type-approval certificates already include SDLs