The IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention will enter into force on 8 September 2017 after Finland acceded to the treaty, but there concerns that shipowners are still without treatment systems approved for global use.

Kitack Lim, secretary general of the IMO, said the convention “will not only minimise the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships.”

But while the Finnish decision concludes a twelve-year ratification process, shipping organisations have flagged the remaining uncertainties facing ship operators as they select their systems – particularly the ongoing review of the convention’s G8 guidelines for type approval and the lack of clarity on type approvals by the US, which is not a party to the IMO treaty.