North P&I club has warned shipowners to take great care when attempting to comply with ballast-water rules by exchanging ballast water at sea. The club says in the latest issue of its loss-prevention newsletter Signals that without a meticulously prepared and implemented procedure for ballast water exchange, ships face a serious risk of a loss of stability.
According to risk management executive, Simon MacLeod, “The 2004 International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BMW Convention) needs to be ratified by just three more states with 10% of world tonnage, but many countries have already introduced their own regional mandatory ballast-water requirements – many of which are based on IMO guidelines.”
The new regulations are designed to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful marine organisms by shipping, and one of the most common ways of complying is to exchange ballast water on passage. “However, this can pose significant stability risks if a proper plan is not developed and rigorously followed on board,” says MacLeod.