IMO AFS Convention becomes into force to Vietnam from 27/02/2016


The IMO International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments (AFS Convention) will become into force to Vietnam from 27/02/2016. The Vietnamese Government, on 04/11/2015, promulgated Resolution No 78/NQ-CP on the AFS Convention ratification by Vietnam. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) issued its Circular AFS.1/Circ.63 on 27/11/2015, announcing that Vietnam had ratified the AFS Convention.

After more than 14 years of complex negotiations between IMO Member States, the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) was adopted by consensus at a Diplomatic Conference held at IMO Headquarters in London on 13 February 2004. In his opening address to the Conference the Secretary-General of IMO stated that the new Convention will represent a significant step towards protecting the marine environment for this and future generations. “Our duty to our children and their children cannot be over-stated. I am sure we would all wish them to inherit a world with clean, productive, safe and secure seas – and the outcome of this Conference, by staving off an increasingly serious threat, will be essential to ensuring this is so”. The Convention will require all ships to implement a ballast water management Plan. All ships will have to carry a Ballast Water Record Book and will be required to carry out ballast water management procedures to a given standard. Parties to the Convention are given the option to take additional measures which are subject to criteria set out in the Convention and to IMO guidelines.

Several articles and regulations of the BWM Convention refer to guidelines to be developed by the Organization and Conference resolution 1 invited IMO to develop these guidelines as a matter of urgency and adopt them as soon as practicable and, in any case, before the entry into force of the Convention, with a view to facilitate global and uniform implementation of the instrument.

The MEPC, at its fifty-first session in April 2004, approved a programme for the development of guidelines and procedures for uniform implementation of the BWM Convention, listed in Conference resolution 1, including additional guidance required but not listed in the resolution. The programme was further expanded at the fifty-third session of the MEPC in July 2005 to develop and adopt 14 sets of Guidelines, the last one being adopted by resolution MEPC.173(58) in October 2008. The Guidelines and other relevant guidance documents can be found here .

The provisions of the AFS Convention will be effective to the Vietnamese ships. Although Vietnam has just recently ratified the Convention, with the National Requirements of the QCVN 74: 2014/BGTVT that was published on 30/6/2014 by Circular 24/2014/TT-BGTVT of the Ministry of Transport, Vietnamese ships have been applied under the Vietnam Register certification for compliance of such requirements of the Convention since 2014.

Author: (Nguyen Huu Phan translated)