China, South Korea agree on exemptions from ballast water exchange rules
In regard to the difficulties found in conducting a safe and efficient ballast water exchange in the waters between China and South Korea, the two countries have agreed on exemption of ballast water exchange requirements for international ships sailing between these two regions, BIMCO informed.
The agreement applies to international ships, which are flying either a Republic of Korean flag (South Korea) or a Chinese five-star flag, and are sailing between China and South Korea.
The news came by a notice from the maritime safety administration of China, exempting such ships from conducting ballast water exchange in accordance with BWM Convention regulation B-4.1 and D-1.
However, there are some points to note, said BIMCO’s Ashok Srinivasan:
1. This exemption applies to international ships, flying either a Republic of Korean flag (South Korea) or a Chinese five-star flag, sailing only between China and South Korea where conducting a ballast water exchange in accordance with regulations B-4.1 and D-1 is not possible.
2. The ships should meet either of the following two conditions:
- The water depth of the sailing route should be less than 50 meters.
- The sailing route distance is less than 100 nautical miles from the territorial sea baseline of the destination port in China.
3. The exemption runs from 1 June 2019 to 7 September 2024.
The decision for not conducting a ballast water exchange should be clearly recorded in the ballast water record book detailing the reasons.
This exemption is not applicable to ships which are required to meet the D-2 standards of the BWM convention as per regulation B-3.
Therefore, if a ship is required to have an operational ballast water treatment plant, it should continue to treat its ballast water as per the D-2 standard.
The exemption is applicable until 7 September 2024.
This is because, by this date, almost of all the merchant fleet will have moved to meeting the requirements of regulation D-2 of the BWM convention and there would be no need for conducting ballast water exchanges unless in exceptional circumstances,
…explained Mr. Srinivasan