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Recent action taken by German Port State Control against a shipowner serves as a reminder that the requirements of the Ballast Water Convention are in effect, even when operating between North Sea ports.


The IMO Ballast Water Convention came into force in September 2017. The deferred requirements for existing vessels – which remain in place until September 2018 - concern only the installation of a ballast water treatment system. All other aspects of the Convention must be observed, including the requirement to carry out ballast water exchange, as necessary.


The North of England reminds its Members that vessels transiting between North Sea ports may be required to carry out a ballast water exchange (D-1) if they are unable to treat the ballast on board with an IMO type-approved treatment system (D-2).


IMO Circular BWM.2/Circ.56, issued in July 2015, sets out the designated ballast water exchange areas in the North Sea. Approved by the OSPAR states (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), these ballast water exchange areas are for intra North Sea traffic only and will terminate when existing vessels meet the D-2 standard.


The German Ministry of Transport has provided useful information which can be found here:


North of England                                                                                 12.04.18