Applicability: All shipowners and operators

Please note: this Class News is a reissue and replaces the version sent on 8 September 2016. It has been amended to provide further clarity on the compliance schedule.

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (the Ballast Water Management Convention) will enter into force on 8 September 2017. This follows the IMO confirming that the conditions for initiating entry into force were met on 8 September 2016.

What does this mean for you?

By 8 September 2017, all ships (i.e. vessels of any type operating in the aquatic environment, including submersibles, floating craft, floating platforms, floating storage units (FSUs) and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) units) will be required to:

  • have an approved ballast water management plan on board,
  • maintain a ballast water record book,
  • manage their ballast water on every voyage by performing ballast water exchange (or by treating it using an approved ballast water treatment system), and
  • undertake an initial survey and be issued with an International Ballast Water Management Certificate (for ships of 400 gross tonnage and above to which the Convention applies, excluding floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs). Ships that are registered with flag administrations that are not yet a party to the Convention will need to demonstrate compliance and may wish to undergo surveys and be issued with a document of compliance.

At a later date, ships will also be required to:

  • manage their ballast water on every voyage by treating it using an approved ballast water treatment system. 

The compliance schedule for when ships will be required to install and use a treatment system is as follows:

New ships – Compliance on delivery for ships constructed on or after entry into force.

Existing ships – Compliance by first IOPP renewal survey on or after entry into force.

A treatment system is required to be fitted to vessels that carry out an IOPP renewal survey on or after 8 September 2017. The IOPP renewal survey refers to the renewal survey associated with the IOPP Certificate required under MARPOL Annex I.

Please note that the Convention does not normally apply to:

  • ships not carrying ballast water,
  • domestic ships,
  • ships that only operate in waters under the jurisdiction of one party and on the high seas,
  • warships, naval auxiliary or other ships owned or operated by a state (although states are encouraged to adopt appropriate measures to ensure that the ships act in a manner consistent with the Convention), or
  • permanent ballast water in sealed tanks on ships, which is not subject to discharge.

Additionally, under certain circumstances, flag administrations may issue exemptions from the Convention requirements for:

  • ships engaged on occasional or one-off voyages between specified ports or locations, or
  • ships that operate exclusively between specified ports or locations.

For further information

For more information on the Ballast Water Management Convention, see the IMO website

Lloyd’s Register guidance on ballast water management is available here

Alternatively, speak to one of our experts at your local Lloyd’s Register Group office or – for information on implementation