Update on the MEPC 78 MeetingThe 78th Session of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) ended yesterday after being held remotely from 6 – 10 June 2022.

Important ballast water topics were discussed, such as the report on the Experience Building Phase (EBP) and the next steps with respect to the experience gained and potential BWM Convention amendments. According to IMO, the MEPC has been informed there is now available data from approximately 15,000 ships. The Committee is setting up a Correspondence Group to generate a Convention Review Plan (CRP). This Group will be responsible for reviewing and updating the EBP, along with creating a timeline for its end date. During this review, ships will operate as if they are still protected under the EBP and as such will not be penalized for any BWM infraction, it is expected that any recommendation for the end of EBP will be in 2028.

Also, in discussion was the temporary storage of grey water and/or treated sewage water in ballast tanks. MEPC has requested submissions for guidance on this issue under the BWM Convention.

In regard to the debate on ship operations at ports with challenging water quality, the Committee focused its attention on identifying what is challenging water quality and locations where ballast water exchange is feasible. The Committee asked for submissions for further discussions at MEPC.