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Will Finland Tip the Ballast Water Convention Ratification Scales?

On June 16, 2016 the Finnish Government proposed that the President of the Republic adopt the International Convention for the Management of Ships’ Ballast Water.

Finland Flag

Photo: Ship Efficiency Review News

It was also proposed that the President would ratify acts that lay down the provisions on the entry into force of the Convention. This was announced via a press release distributed by Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.

This follows an earlier bill that was approved by Finland’s parliament in April that acted as the first, premature, step towards the country ratifying the Convention.

However, it is only when the country’s president, Sauli Niinistö signs the proposal that Finland can deposit its instrument of ratification with International Maritime Organization (IMO), formally adding its name and tonnage to the Convention’s total.

If Finland do actually ratify the Convention, they could (in theory, based on current figures) tip the Convention’s global tonnage ratification requirements over the 35% needed.

This is because, at the moment Finland’s represents approximately 0.14% of global shipping tonnage. When Peru became the 51st State to ratify the Convention in mind-June this year they pushed the global tonnage that has ratified the Convention up to 34.87%. Therefore, Finland could provide the remaining ratifying tonnage required.

However, it is not that simple. Two uncertainties remain. The first is that Finland may not ratify. This latest proposal to the Finnish president to sound the starter gun for the Finnish ratification is not guaranteed at this time, however it is highly likely. Secondly, the IMO commenced another global shipping tonnage review at the end of May. During these review the figures for global tonnage can drop or increase, therefore even if Finland did ratify, the world tonnage represented by flag States that have ratified could drop, in fact Finland’s shipping tonnage representation could drop from its current 0.14% figure.

Markus Helavuori, a Technical Officer at International Maritime Organization (IMO) revealed at the Fathom Maritime Intelligence and UK Chamber of Shipping Ballast Water Forum held in April that between March and April, as a result of an IMO global shipping tonnage review,  the world tonnage represented by flag States that have ratified the Convention dropped by a staggering 0.03%.

Therefore, for Finland to be the almighty force that finally tips the Convention into action then they need to first accede formally to the Convention in order to ratify it, and their global tonnage needs to stay above 0.13%, or in fact be higher to account for any drop in the world tonnage represented by flag States that have ratified the Convention when the next IMO review results are unveiled.

Just a few hurdles to jump, but the end may be in sight for this long ratification road.

Related Conference:

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Source Article: By Catherine Austin, June 28, 2016