The Maritime Safety Committee
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Statutory Documents - IMO Publications and Documents - Circulars - Maritime Safety Committee - MSC/Circular.806 Guidance on Safety Aspects of Ballast Water Exchange at Sea (Adopted on 30 June 1997) - The Maritime Safety Committee

The Maritime Safety Committee

  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.

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