Finland ratifies International Convention for the Management of Ships’ Ballast Water

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 8.9.2016 13.30
Press release

Finland has ratified the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments adopted by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2004. The instrument of accession was deposited with Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General, on 8 September.

The purpose of the Convention is to prevent the spread of harmful alien species from one sea area to another. Invasive alien species may cause significant damage to the marine environment, human health and marine industries, including fishing and tourism. Of the States surrounding the Baltic Sea, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Russia have already ratified the Convention, and in the rest legislative initiatives are underway.

- By acceding to the Convention, we can improve the status of the Baltic Sea and support the market for the Finnish marine technology industry. The time frames for installing ballast water treatment systems on board ships are also reasonable, notes Ms Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications.

The Convention contains provisions on e.g. the treatment of ballast water, possible exceptions and exemptions, and control of ballast water management.

The Convention will enter into force internationally 12 months after the date on which 30 states with 35 percent of the gross tonnage of the world's merchant shipping have ratified it. It is estimated that once the Convention has been ratified by Finland, the fulfilment of these criteria is close, and the Convention could enter into force in autumn 2017. The IMO will calculate the tonnage in September, and the results of these calculations will determine the time for the entry into force of the Convention.

When the Convention enters into force, ballast water treatment systems must basically be installed on all ships in international operation. The IMO decided in 2013 that treatment systems shall be installed on ships within five years of the entry into force of the Convention, that would be latest during 2022 in case the Convention enters into force in 2017.

The Convention was adopted by the Finnish Parliament in April 2016, and the President of the Republic approved it on the part of Finland on 17 June. At the same time, the President approved the related acts. These acts will enter into force once the Convention has entered into force internationally and for Finland.

Further information

Ms Lolan Eriksson, Ministerial Counsellor, tel. +358 40 744 8118

Anne Berner