Technical Circular No: 034/2019

Subject: BWTS Initial Commissioning and Testing

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  • The Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) installed on board ships are required to be adequately tested for verification of operation towards the discharge standards listed in the Type Approval Certificate. Presently commissioning test to validate the installation of any BWM system is not explicitly mandated by the Convention.
  • However, section (BI) of the HSSC Guidelines (Resolution A.1120(30)) already includes the provision for this validation.
  • In June 2019, at its 74th session, the IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) approved amendments to the regulation E-1 of BWM Convention concerning commissioning testing of installations of ballast water management systems.
  • It is expected that these amendments stipulating mandatory commissioning testing as part of installation review will be adopted by MEPC75 in 2020 and will enter into force in October 2021.
  • Various flag states have accepted early implementation of these amendments and requires verification of following during installation of BWMS:
  1. Verifying that an operational test of the ballast water management system is carried out based on the installation commissioning procedures and that documented evidence is provided which shows compliance of the treated discharge ballast water during the above-mentioned test with regulation D-2 through sampling and analysis based on BWM.2/Circ.42/Rev.1.
  2. Compliance will be validated by following the procedure prescribed in paragraph 4 and 5 of Annex to BWM.2/Circ.70.
  3. A written report including methods and detailed results of the commissioning testing is obtained for verification before an International Ballast Water Management Certificate (IBWMC) can be issued.
  • Where commissioning testing cannot be completed immediately following BWMS installation, or where test results are considered erratic or out of expected range, the Administration to be contacted for further instructions.
  • Owners/Operators and masters are advised to take note of above requirements while installing BWMS.


  1. Annex 10 of MEPC 74/18/Add.1


This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority.

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