With the deadline to complete a Convention on ballast water set for 2003 IMO’s Marine and Environment Projection Committee (MEPC) this week struggled to advance on the task at hand. With the crucial issue of ballast discharge standards and a host of other complications within the draft Convention the working group on ballast water was unable to make sufficient progress during this meeting and may request a special inter-sessional meeting to complete the work.

INTERTANKO worked together with other industry bodies, members states and the environmental organisations in the working group in an effort to produce a standard to which ballast water has to be treated and also a draft Convention text. In addition to this the working group also had to resolve other substantial issues such as treatment exemptions for ships on certain routes and the designation of special areas in which port states may require higher treatment standards.

The MEPC will receive the report of the working group on 8 March and will then decide how best to proceed on the issue, assessing whether it is necessary to delay the deadline for a Diplomatic Conference until 2004 or whether it will be adequate at this time to convene an inter-sessional working group.

A full report on the outcome of these deliberations will be given in next week’s Weekly NEWS.

Contact: Tim Wilkins,