Panama is set to ratify the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) within one or two months, and certainly this year, its ambassador to IMO, Arsenio Dominguez told BWTT today (25 August). His forecast follows approval earlier this month by the National Assembly of Panama of the third reading of a draft law to adopt the convention.
According to a translation by BWTT of a little-reported statement issued by Panama’s Maritime Administration on 9 August, as a result of the assembly’s vote the administration has undertaken “to fulfil the obligations related to preventing and minimising or eliminating the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms … on board ships of our merchant marine.” It also “acquires the commitment to ensure that port terminals where repair work or cleaning ballast tanks are carried out provide suitable reception facilities for these sediments.”
Before ratification can take place, however, the draft law must be incorporated into the Panamanian constitution to make it a national decree, Mr Dominguez said – the same process as any other law, he added. After that, the Instrument of Ratification will be deposited at IMO. It is not clear how long this will take, he said, but it could be as short as a month or two. “We are hoping [it will be] this year.”
The National Assembly had received the proposal to ratify the convention from the country’s ship register in March, at which time Mr Dominguez expected it to approve its ratification. “We have said from the very beginning of this year that we were moving forward,” he said today.