ABS has released a new Guide for Ballast Water Treatment to help vessel owners and operators prepare for compliance with the IMO's International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004.
The convention is designed to provide a unified instrument to prevent, minimize and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms via ships' ballast water and sediments. As of November 1, 2011, 30 member States representing 26.44 percent of world merchant shipping tonnage had ratified the convention against a required 30 States representing 35 percent of the world gross tonnage.
With the possibility that the convention may enter into force during the first half of 2013, owners are examining options for newbuilds and retrofits that will give them flexibility in terms of costs and operation, says Kirsi Tikka, ABS Chief Engineer and head of the society's environmental solutions efforts.
"The ballast water management regulations can be confusing for shipowners because they contain many unresolved and complex issues," Dr. Tikka adds. "As a result, some owners with newbuilds have elected to incorporate the installation of a ballast water treatment system, while others have chosen to have their vessel outfitted with the piping, electrical arrangements and space necessary to accommodate a ballast water treatment system in the future."
The newly released ABS guide has been developed to assist owners in understanding the classification requirements relating to the convention. In addition to the installation parameters required for any ABS-classed vessel utilizing an IMO member State type approved ballast water treatment system, the Guide offers owners two optional notations to demonstrate further due diligence in their ballast water management practices.
The tiered notations BWT and BWT+ will bring the ballast water treatment system under survey and the class society will review the system for compliance with the guide, confirm the installation design, conduct a survey during installation, periodically evaluate the onboard ballast water management system and perform shipboard function tests. The BWT+ notation signifies that the installed treatment system has been surveyed by an ABS surveyor at the manufacturing facility.
November 7, 2011