1. The Assembly, through resolution A.774(18)
- Guidelines for preventing the introduction of unwanted aquatic organisms
and pathogens from ships' ballast water and sediment discharges, and
the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), through MEPC/Circ.288,
emphasized that, when applying the said Guidelines, the safety of
ships was of paramount importance.
2 The MEPC is drafting a possible new Annex to MARPOL 73/78 on ballast water and, in view of
the fact that ballast water exchange at sea is required by certain
port States, it considered necessary that advice on the safety aspects
of such operations should urgently be provided.
3 The Maritime Safety Committee, at its sixty-eighth
session (28 May to 6 June 1997), and the Marine Environment Protection
Committee, at its thirty-ninth session (10 to 14 March 1997), considered
and approved a Guidance on the safety aspects of ballast water exchange
at sea, set out at annex, with the aim of facilitating the implementation
of resolution A.774(18) by giving proper consideration to structural
integrity, stability of ships and crew safety.
4 Member Governments are invited to ensure that
the annexed Guidance is urgently considered for those ships which
are required by port States to carry out ballast water exchange at
sea; and that an evaluation of the hazards and potential consequences
for various ship types is urgently carried out by interested parties
and the results thereof are submitted to the Organization for consideration.
5 Consistent with resolution A.774(18), flag States
are invited to ensure that those of their ships which are required
by port States to carry out ballast water exchange at sea have a Ballast
Water Management Plan which incorporates the annexed Guidance.
6 Recognizing the hazards and potential consequences
of operational procedures associated with ballast water management
at sea, the two Committees invite Member Governments to keep the matter
under continuous review and to provide the Organization with detailed
studies and information resulting from their relevant experience.