As of June 2016, Singapore has not ratified the Ballast Water Convention 2004 “BWC 2004”. Among the reasons Singapore has not yet ratified the BWC Convention are:-

  • The MPA have listened to industry concerns that the United States Coast Guard (USCG) regulations are not aligned to those set by the IMO. Until standards are aligned, ship owners are at risk of duplication of costs in upgrading their vessels to be compliant with IMO guidelines but not USCG guidelines and vice versa.
  • To protect the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Singapore Registry of Ships, the MPA are as of now unwilling to either ratify the BWC Convention or enact domestic legislation of the same effect.
  • Practically speaking, the MPA is not too concerned because several ship owners (especially those who regularly trade with countries who have ratified or enacted domestic legislation giving effect to the BWC 2004)[1], have installed the necessary ballast water management systems on a voluntary basis.
  • Further, owing to the “no favourable treatment” way in which the BWC 2004 has been drafted, vessels who are going to port states who have ratified or enacted domestic legislation giving effect to the BWC 2004 will have to comply anyway.
  • The National Environment Agency (NEA) has conducted studies and their findings are that owing to the water conditions (broadly consisting of salinity, temperature and geographic conditions), Singapore marine life is not at great risk from invasive species.
  • The MPA have been approached to see whether Singapore wants to be a “hub” for providing water reception facilities to process ballast water but the MPA are as of now, not keen owing to the volume of traffic at the Port of Singapore.

[1] Argentina, Argentina – Buenos Aires, Australia, Australia – State of Victoria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Georgia, Israel, Korea (South), Lithunia – (Butinge oil terminal, Klaipeda), New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, United Kingdom, United States (US).

Author: Esther Quah

%d bloggers like this: