IACS publishes new recommendation for conducting BWMS commissioning testing


In a significant stride towards environmental sustainability and compliance with maritime regulations, IACS has published a new recommendation, Rec. 180, for Conducting Commissioning Testing of Ballast Water Management Systems.

Efforts to streamline the implementation of the BWM Convention took a significant step forward with IMO’s approval of the ‘2020 Guidance for the commissioning testing of BWMS’ and IACS has now further bolstered these efforts with the development of a comprehensive Recommendation (Rec. 180) to facilitate the smooth, effective, and harmonised implementation of commissioning tests requirements in line with the international regulations.

The guidance in Rec. 180 facilitates a uniform approach to conducting the commissioning tests of BWMS by verifying that the ballast water is being discharged in accordance with the D-2 standard of the BWM convention and by an assessment of the proper operation of the self-monitoring equipment. Commissioning tests conducted during an initial survey (and any subsequent additional survey which could be triggered by significant changes, replacements, or repairs to the BWMS), play a crucial role in validating the proper functioning of all mechanical, physical, chemical, and biological processes within the system, effectively mitigating the risk of ecological damage to the marine ecosystem.

Derived from practical experience and feedback gathered by IACS following the approval of IMO’s 2020 guidance, the recommended practices in Rec. 180 include essential preparation steps that allow ship operators to ensure the seamless and efficient execution of commissioning tests and the establishment of industry-wide best practices for ballast water management. In addition, the utilization of recommended reporting forms outlined in the guidelines significantly enhances transparency throughout the testing process and ensures all stakeholders are not only kept informed but are also actively involved.

Commenting on this new Rec. 180, IACS Secretary General, Mr. Robert Ashdown (pictured) said: “IACS’ Rec. 180 marks a further contribution to the safeguarding of the marine environment by streamlining the commissioning testing of Ballast Water Management Systems. Commissioning testing plays a crucial role in validating the proper functioning of the BWMS, in mitigating the risks of ecological damage caused by the introduction of non-native species and in ensuring compliance with the IMO regulations. Adopting Rec. 180 can also provide the basis for industry best practice in this area.”