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Belgium today (7 March) became the latest country to ratify a key international measure for environmental protection, the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention, bringing the treaty within sight of meeting entry into force criteria. Aimed at preventing the spread of harmful and invasive aquatic species in ships' ballast water, the BWM Convention requires ships to have procedures in place for ballast water management.

The BWM Convention will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35% of world merchant shipping tonnage. With the accession by Belgium, the number of States stands at 48, with an aggregate of 34.82% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage (based on global tonnage data as at end-February 2016). ​

Belgium also deposited its instrument of accession to the Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention, bringing the number of contracting States to four. The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force 24 months after the date on which 15 States, representing not less than 40 per cent of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, become Party to the treaty. The combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of those States must, during the preceding 10 years, constitute not less than 3 per cent of their combined merchant shipping tonnage.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim encouraged other States that had not already done so, to ratify both the BWM and Hong Kong treaties, in order to bring them into force.

H.E. Mr. Guy Trouveroy, Ambassador of Belgium to the United Kingdom, handed over the instruments of accession during a meeting withSecretary-General Lim at the Ambassador’s residence in London.

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