Amendments to an international treaty aimed at preventing the spread of potentially invasive species in ships' ballast water entered into force on 13 October 2019. The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (the BWM Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, to address this problem. The BWM Convention entered into force in 2017. The amendments formalise an implementation schedule to ensure ships manage their ballast water to meet a specified standard ("D-2 standard") aimed at ensuring that viable organisms are not released into new sea areas, and make mandatory the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems, which sets out how ballast water management systems used to achieve the D-2 standard have to be assessed and approved. This will help ensure that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location – and avoid the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.
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International Maritime Organization.
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.
Environmental Protection Agency.
Note: On December 4, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018, which includes as Title IX the Vessel Incident Discharge Act of 2018 (“VIDA”). The new regulations will replace the EPA’s 2013 Vessel General Permit (“VGP”). EPA first issued the Vessel General Permit (VGP) in 2008 and subsequently reissued it in 2013.