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When secondís best

Mon 03 Apr 2017 by Paul Gunton

When secondís best

Paul Gunton looks back and forward at the Ballast Water Management Conventionís landmark moments

I am just wrapping up our annual Ballast Water Treatment Technology guide, which will be published in mid-April. Its directory section lists 94 systems and it is the biggest edition we have published.

It gave me an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months of ballast water treatment news and one thing in particular struck me: how many states have ratified IMOís convention and what percentage of the world fleet do they represent?

I bet you donít know either figure. I also bet that until 8 September last year, you probably knew both of them to two decimal places. I know I did.

Itís often said that we only remember winners. Who was the second man on the moon? Who was the second person to run a 4-minute mile? Once a landmark has passed we move on. So what landmarks should we be looking out for now? IMOís revised G8 Guidelines, for one, due to be confirmed at MEPC 71 in July.

What will it mean for existing systems? Another is the US Coast Guardís policy on granting compliance extensions, now that some systems have obtained its type-approval. As I am sure you know, the USCG issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin in early March to address what it said was widespread misunderstanding of the previously issued guidance.

Some say it was more than that and that it marked the beginning of the end for its policy on alternate management systems. Other landmarks are more physical: The US is not the only state that has gone its own way on ballast regulations. Australia and China are two others. You may know of more. What stumbling blocks will this crazy paving of regulation put in our path in the months ahead?

So watch your step and avoid making headlines. Sometimes itís best not to remembered for being first. Let Buzz Aldrin and John Landy be your heroes.