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Thursday, September 17, 2020 

Lloyd's Register (LR) has drawn attention to proposed amendments to the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention regulation E-1, which are expected to come into force in October 2021.

These amendments mandate the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems (BWMS) during installation surveys. Drafted at MEPC 74 , the amendments are expected to be adopted at MEPC 75 in November 2020.

Flag Administrations are likely to be encouraged to enforce early implementation. Some - including Australia, Cyprus, Panama and Singapore - already mandate commissioning testing.

Also expected to be adopted at MEPC 75 are drafted amendments, by the IMO PPR 7 sub-committee, to BWM.2/Circ.70 – Guidance for the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems. These include a requirement that “the collection and analysis of the representative samples should be independent of the BWMS manufacturer or supplier and to the satisfaction of the Administration”.

Ahead of these changes to the regulatory framework, LR has included a new category, Commissioning Testing of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS), into its Procedures for Approval of Service Suppliers.

Where the vessel’s Flag Administration has mandated the application of BWM.2/Circ.70/Rev.1 after it is adopted at MEPC 75, it is anticipated that LR will only accept commissioning testing of BWMS done by an approved service supplier. Any company wishing to become recognised as an approved LR service supplier providing BWMS commissioning testing, is encouraged to contact their local LR office.

With these changes in mind, is not yet clear whether already-installed systems will need to be re-tested, or whether demand for BWMS testing is likely to cause bottlenecks at yards or with approved testing companies.

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