Vessels have to discharge Ballast water, Bilge- and Gray water occasionally. And vessels that have installed scrubbers to meet emission requirements, Exhaust Gas Scrubber Wash water can be discharged as well. If not carefully managed, these water discharges can pollute the sea and threaten biodiversity. Many countries are implementing new regulations to prevent this.
Over the next years all 70.000 or so commercial vessels will be required to complete installation of their Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) that have to adhere to specific and different standards.
- The United States has developed the most comprehensive regulation yet and requires US Coast-Guard (USCG) type-approvals, as well as an annual VGP (Vessel General Permit) maintenance monitoring program in line with strict requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Without these, vessels cannot obtain their VGP and cannot call US ports at the risk of huge fines. This VGP regulation will over time be replaced by VIDA.
- At the same time, the IMO has finalized its own extensive set of global standards for Ballast water management when its BWM Convention entered into force on 8 September 2017. The number of Flag states that have ratified this regulation for Commissioning testing of new installations (according to IMO BWM 2. /Circ. 70 requirements) now applies to roughly 20% of all vessels, and more will follow. Without these tests, you will not be able to obtain your International Ballast Water Management Certificate.
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