The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is planning to review the approval guidelines and performance for permitted ballast water management systems (BWMS).
The agency has launched an online survey for stakeholders involved in testing, approval, fitting and operating BWMS.
Participants in the survey include administrations and associated agencies, test facilities, organisations and independent experts, BWMS developers, manufacturers and vendors, classification societies, ship owners and operators.
IMO has also invited flag state and port state control inspectors and other experts, consultants and organisations to take part in the review, which will be open until 1 June.
The study is designed to provide a robust and consistent platform for approving BWMS, and ensure that systems comply with the Ballast Water and Sediments 2004 (BWM Convention) standards, under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships.
It will offer a review of technical standards and approval testing procedures in the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee's (MEPC) guidelines for approval of BWMS.
IMO Secretariat has partnered with the World Maritime University (WMU) to conduct the study. MEPC 69 will be notified of the results in 2016.
The BWM Convention aims to prevent the transfer of microorganisms or species into non-native environments through ships' ballast water, as this could impact local ecosystems, resources, infrastructure and, potentially, human health.
The standard will be effective one year after ratification by 30 states, which represents 35% of global merchant shipping tonnage.
Image: IMO study to review technical standards and approval testing procedures for BWMS. Photo: courtesy of International Maritime Organization.