As of September 8, 2019, the IMO Ballast Water Convention will be extended to cover existing vessels as well as new constructions. On that date, all offshore vessels must meet the deadline for their first renewal of the international Oil Pollution Prevention Certificate (IOPPC) after that date. This is the final stage of a process of decades of complex negotiations between IMO member States. The International Convention for the Control and management of ballast water and sediment of ships (BWM Convention) was adopted by consensus at a diplomatic conference held at the IMO headquarters in London on February 13, 2004, but did not enter into force until the Ratification in 2016. The Convention entered into force in September 2017. It has been ratified by 81 countries, representing 80.7% of the world’s fleet of ships.
The BWM convention requires all ships to implement a ballast water management plan, load a ballast water registry book, and perform ballast water management procedures for a given standard. The BWM convention applies to all vessels and includes submersibles, floating vessels, floating platforms, floating storage units (FSU) and floating storage and unloading units (FPSOs). However, this does not apply to the following:
- Ships not designed or constructed to carry ballast water.
- Vessels operating in the internal market (unless the coastal State under whose jurisdiction the vessel operates requires compliance with the Convention).
- Any warships, naval auxiliaries or other vessels belonging to or operated by a state, provided they are used only in non-commercial governmental services.
- Ships with permanent ballast water in sealed tanks and therefore not subject to discharge at any time. (except for special circumstances).
Vessels under 400GT must be issued with an international Ballast Water Management Certificate (IBWMC), but do not explicitly rule out the requirement of other documentation, such as ballast water management plans and record books Ballast water.
The special needs of the offshore industry have been addressed in the various meetings of the IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committees (MEPC), which is the process through which clarifications on environmental conventions are made. For the offshore sector, these include:
- The drilling water carried on board for the purpose of protecting liquid tanks with low flash point, which is not discharged into the environment, is not subject to the requirements of the BWM Convention.
The offshore mobile units must comply with the provisions of the BWM Convention and must be researched and certified in accordance with the BWM Convention.
- For offshore mobile units, ballast water loaded in preload tanks in auto-elevatórias units and ballast tanks in column-stabilized units is subject to treatment under the Convention-unless discharged at the same location from which it was Embedded and that does not mix with unmanaged seawater and sediment from other areas occurred.
- The residual water that remains on board, after a change of field, can be treated by means of an approved internal circulation method and transferred to another tank and mixed with seawater from the new location.
4Th MEPC recognizes that seawater in preload tanks at the base of the leg of elevating units (ITS) is treated differently and agreed only that the method of handling seawater should be indicated in the BWM plan.
There is also a limited provision for the administration of the flag to grant a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) the permission to exit and re-enter an operation zone for repairs or dry docing.
Therefore, although there have been some small concessions to the offshore industry, the reality is that the BWM convention is not very flexible. Operators of offshore support vessels should be concerned that their vessels may soon violate the Convention.
A matter of space
This has to be added to the practical aspects of adapting a ballast water treatment system to an OSV. At the lower end of the fleet, for vessels such as the supply of tugs and platform supply vessels, there is a lack of hull space for such functions, according to the manufacturer of the BALPURE electrochlorination ballast water approved by the USCG. Treatment system. Source: OSJ