Singapore registered vessels are to have post-commissioning testing of ballast water management systems from 9 September 2019 – months if not years ahead of any amendment to the Ballast Water Management Convention
At MEPC 72 in April 2018, it was proposed that each ballast water management system (BWMS) installed on a ship complies with the D-2 standard set out in IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) before the ship receives its International Ballast Water Management Certificate. This gained wide acceptance and went forward to MEPC 73 where there were invitations for a proposed amendment. Testing kit manufacturers welcomed the move.
At MEPC 74 (May 2019) it was proposed an amendment to regulation E-1 in the BWMC to specifically mention the commissioning test and an indicative analysis, both for initial and additional surveys when a BWMS is installed on an existing ship. There would also be a corresponding amendment to the BWMS Code.
None of which prevents a maritime authority introducing BWMS commissioning testing for their own vessels. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has done exactly that with Circular No 9 of 2019 which states that Singapore-registered vessels over 400 gt are to have BWMS commissioning tests to the proposed regulation E-1.1 and E-1.5 of the BWMC.
The commissioning test shall be carried out on any BWMS installed on a Singapore-registered vessel after 8 September 2019 and carried out to the satisfaction of a Recognised Organisation surveyor after all the ballasting equipment is installed. For those BWMS on Singapore-registered vessels installed and operating before 8 September 2019, the commissioning test will be carried out at the next BWMS survey.
The commissioning test will be regarded as successful if the analysis of samples do not exceed the D2 standard and the self-monitoring equipment of the BWMS operates correctly.
If the BWMS fails the commissioning test due to a design flaw, an interim certificate will be issued for no longer than three months for the BWMS to be brought up to standard. The MPA may grant an extension.