New legislation being discussed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) could seriously affect the use of water ballast tanks

New legislation being discussed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) could seriously affect the use of water ballast tanks carried by some craft particularly offshore racing powerboats. Many commercial vessels take on water for stability when lightly loaded which can carry dangerous bacteria and organisms likely to cause pollution on discharge in otherwise clean areas. The IMO are now seeking regulations requiring ships using water ballast tanks to fit sophisticated filtering equipment. Sweeping reform could prove extremely expensive for the owners of domestic pleasure craft particularly as many ocean racing yachts such as those currently competing in the Volvo round the world race also rely on water ballast. Members of the International Affairs Panel who represent the RYA and other pleasure boats owners on the IMO are therefore discussing a dispensation for craft under 50 metres should the new legislation be given the go ahead.