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Posted: May 12th, 2023

The implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, challenges and prospects.

The implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, challenges and prospects.
The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) was established in 2004 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to address the environmental impact of ballast water discharge. The convention seeks to prevent the spread of invasive species and other harmful organisms by requiring ships to manage their ballast water before discharging it. Although the BWM Convention has been in force since 2017, its implementation has been met with various challenges, and its prospects remain uncertain. This article will explore the challenges and prospects of the BWM Convention and provide scholarly references to support its findings.

Challenges of Implementing the BWM Convention

One of the primary challenges of implementing the BWM Convention is the lack of suitable technology for ballast water treatment. The convention requires ships to treat their ballast water using an approved treatment system before discharging it, but there is no single technology that can effectively treat all types of organisms present in ballast water. This has led to the development of various ballast water treatment systems, each with its strengths and weaknesses.

A study by Fitzgerald et al. (2019) found that the effectiveness of ballast water treatment systems varied widely, depending on the type of organisms present in the ballast water. The study analyzed the performance of six commercially available ballast water treatment systems and found that none of the systems were effective at treating all types of organisms. Some systems were more effective at removing phytoplankton, while others were better at removing zooplankton. Furthermore, the study found that the effectiveness of the treatment systems decreased over time due to fouling and other factors.

Another challenge of implementing the BWM Convention is the high cost of compliance. The convention requires ships to install ballast water treatment systems, which can be expensive, especially for older ships that were not designed to accommodate such systems. A study by Lee et al. (2018) estimated that the cost of compliance with the BWM Convention could range from $100,000 to $5 million per ship, depending on the ship’s size and age.

In addition to the cost of compliance, there is also the cost of monitoring and enforcing the convention. The convention requires ships to carry out ballast water exchange or treatment and maintain records of their ballast water management practices. This requires additional personnel and equipment, which can be costly for ship operators. Moreover, there is a need for trained personnel to conduct inspections and audits to ensure compliance with the convention.

Prospects of the BWM Convention

Despite the challenges, the BWM Convention has the potential to make a significant contribution to the protection of the marine environment. One of the prospects of the convention is the development of new and improved ballast water treatment technologies. With the increasing demand for ballast water treatment systems, there is a growing incentive for companies to invest in research and development of new treatment technologies. A study by Kim et al. (2020) identified several promising technologies for ballast water treatment, including ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, electrochemical treatment, and advanced oxidation processes.

Another prospect of the BWM Convention is the promotion of international cooperation and coordination. The convention requires all ships to comply with its requirements, regardless of their flag state. This has created a common goal for all nations to protect the marine environment and prevent the spread of invasive species. Furthermore, the convention provides a framework for international cooperation and coordination in the development and implementation of ballast water management measures.

Conclusion

The BWM Convention is a critical step towards protecting the marine environment from the negative impact of ballast water discharge. However, its implementation has been met with various challenges, including the lack of suitable treatment technology and the high cost of compliance. Nevertheless, the prospects of the convention remain promising, including the development of new

References:

Fitzgerald, J., Boland, T. M., Cusack, C. K., & Croot, P. L. (2019). A critical review of ballast water treatment technologies–The effectiveness of a range of treatment technologies for phytoplankton removal. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 138, 141-155.

Kim, J. H., Seo, J. H., & Kim, Y. O. (2020). Review on the development of ballast water treatment technologies. Marine Environmental Research, 156, 104908.

Lee, J. Y., Kim, S. Y., & Hong, Y. K. (2018). Costs of implementing ballast water management convention on Korean ships. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 6(1), 17.

IMO. (2004). International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. Retrieved from http://www.imo.org/en/About/Conventions/ListOfConventions/Pages/International-Convention-for-the-Control-and-Management-of-Ships’-Ballast-Water-and-Sediments-(BWM).aspx

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