International Convention for the Control and Management of Shipsâ€™ ballast Water and Sediments, 2004
- Type: Convention
- Date of signature: 12/02/2004
- Place of signature: London, United Kingdom
- Depositary: International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- Date of entry into force: 08/09/2017
What is it about?
The Convention and its Annexes aim to prevent, minimize and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through the control and management of ships' ballast water and sediments. Parties are given the right to take, individually or jointly with other Parties, more stringent measures with respect to the prevention, reduction or elimination of the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through the control and management of ships' ballast water and sediments, consistent with international law. Parties should ensure that ballast water management practices do not cause greater harm than they prevent to their environment, human health, property or resources, or those of other States.
Why is it relevant?
The Convention brings international shipping practices in line with the international environmental law. Although the procedural aspects may be considered a hindrance upon trade, the principles which the Convention aims to implement are those agreed upon by the international community.
The Convention will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage (Article 18 Entry into force). The necessity for this Convention is well illustrated by the devastating effects of the distribution of certain strains of Cholera in ships’ ballast water. In 1991, this distribution led to an epidemic in Peru, before sweeping across South America, affecting more than a million people and killing more than ten thousand by 1994. This particular strain had previously been reported only in Bangladesh.