Reliability of testing data and contingency means for ballast water treatment systems were among the topics debated at IMarEST’s sixth ballast water conference. The event, which saw IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim welcome attendees at the UN body’s headquarters, focused on issues around the upcoming implementation of the IMO ballast water convention in September.
While many relevant points were discussed including the recent USCG type approval for two manufacturers, a point that caught the attention of attendees was regarding the reliability of performance and testing data available for operators. Marcie Merksamer of Enviro Management used her presentation to emphasise the importance of increasing this reliability. “Manufacturers can’t have 10 different versions of a manual but, as updates of regulations are released, older versions don’t get updated,” she said.
Enforcement was also in the spotlight, and Martyn Haines of Clyde and Co informed delegates that there are some countries which signed up to the IMO ballast water convention but “are not enforcing it.” Naming South Africa and India as countries without clear plans to implement the convention they signed on to, he added that there there are other countries “that have not signed on and do their own thing”.
Contingency measures, for what to do with unmanaged ballast water detected by port state control were also discussed. Edo Donkers of Groningen Seaports said the Dutch port is working with Damen Shipyards to ensure compliance by offering additional berthing space for ships with ballast water treatment problems. The IMO will discuss contingency measures further in May.