Panama nearly ready to push the ballast button
While the shipping world waits for the result of the ballast water recount it looks as if Panama is preparing to take the plunge and add its signature to the convention. According to various sources, the Panamanian authorities are in the process of preparing the legal path to ratification. The approval by Panama’s Foreign Ministry will need to be passed by the Cabinet Council and the National Assembly before the country which has the world’s largest merchant fleet can add its signature to the Convention. Panama’s accession sometime this year would be more than enough to bring the Convention into force with effect twelve months from its signature meaning that it would be in full effect at some point in 2017. It is still possible that the three signatures added recently will be sufficient to trigger the convention and if so the IMO has already stated that the date for it to enter force will be in November this year. If the signatures of Indonesia, Ghana and Morocco are not enough then the likely addition of Finland and India, both of which have been rumoured to be ready to accede – would be enough.