As a shipping company, your (water) installations on board must be compliant with various (international) guidelines. We list the most common guidelines and regulations for you below. The guidelines applicable to your situation depend on the territorial waters in which you are sailing or on how your ship(s) is (are) flagged.
Vessels operating in US territorial waters must comply with the requirements of the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP). This will be replaced by the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) in 2022. Although it is expected to be very similar to the current VGP, it is not yet certain what the exact requirements for sampling and analysis intervals will be. The VGP covers the compliance of ballast and scrubber water.
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) deals with environmental issues under the authority of the IMO. This includes the control and prevention of ship-source pollution as defined in the MARPOL Convention. This pollution can be caused by a variety of factors including non-compliant ballast water and scrubber water.
The WHO Guide to Ship Sanitation is included in the International Health Regulations and is the official worldwide reference on health requirements for the construction and operation of ships. The aim of the guide is to standardise sanitary measures on ships, protect the health of seafarers and prevent the spread of infections.
On 16 December 2020, the European Parliament formally adopted the revised Drinking Water Directive, which came into force on 12 January 2021. Member States have two years to transpose them into national legislation. The directive concerns the quality of water intended for human consumption and its protection against the adverse effects of any form of pollution.
According to this directive, seafarers must have access to good quality drinking water under regulated hygienic conditions. The Directive applies to any boat of any size engaged in any form of commercial activity on international voyages. IMO MLC2006 regulations require water samples to be taken at regular intervals and analysed for microbiological parameters, physico-chemical parameters and for mineral parameters including corrosion indicators.