With ratification by Germany last week, the IMO Ballast water Convention now has the support of 37 flag states – comfortably above the 30 needed – but still falls short in terms of the percentage of the world fleet covered.
The addition of Germany’s signature to the convention means that the 30% mark has been passed but the signatures of flag states accounting for at least 4.68% are needed to bring the figure up to the 35% trigger point. Of the states still to ratify the convention, only Panama with more than 20% can bring about ratification on its own. As things stand at least two more states’ signatures are required if Panama continues to hold out.
Until the convention is finally ratified, ships need not be fitted with ballast water treatment systems unless they trade to the US which has passed its own laws making systems compulsory under a rolling programme depending on ballast capacity and age that comes into effect this December.