Ballast water management



• The first sea trade network known dated from 5,000 years ago

• It was between Mesopotamia, which comes from a Greek word and means between rivers (Tigris and Euphrates), Bahrain and the Indus River in western India,

• To exchange their oil and dates for cooper and possible ivory from the Indus (Stopford, 2009).

• In modern-day, the area of Mesopotamia corresponds to eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and most of Iraq.


• International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM)

• Adoption: 13 February 2004; Entry into force: 8 September 2017

• The Ballast Water Management Convention, adopted in 2004, aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another, by establishing standards and procedures for the management and control of ships’ ballast water and sediments.


• Invasive aquatic species present a major threat to the marine ecosystems and shipping have been identified as a major pathway for introducing species to new environments.
• The problem increased as trade and traffic volume expanded over the last few decades, and in particular with the introduction of steel hulls allowing vessels to use water instead of solid materials as ballast.
• The effects of the introduction of new species have in many areas of the world been devastating. Quantitative data show the rate of bio-invasions is continuing to increase at an alarming rate.
• As the volumes of seaborne trade continue overall to increase, the problem may not yet have reached its peak.


• Under the Convention, all ships in international traffic are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a ship-specific ballast water management plan.
• All ships will also have to carry a ballast water record book and an international ballast water management certificate.
• The ballast water management standards will be phased in over a period of time. As an intermediate solution, ships should exchange ballast water mid-ocean.
• However, eventually, most ships will need to install an onboard ballast water treatment system.

Reception facilities

• Under Article 5 Sediment Reception Facilities Parties undertake to
ensure that ports and terminals where cleaning or repair of ballast
tanks occur, have adequate reception facilities for the reception of sediments.

Research and monitoring

• Article 6 Scientific and Technical Research and Monitoring calls for Parties individually or jointly to promote and facilitate scientific and technical research on ballast water management and monitor the effects of ballast water management in waters under their

Survey, certification and inspection

• Ships are required to be surveyed and certified (Article 7 Survey and
certification) and may be inspected by port State control officers (Article 9 Inspection of Ships) who can verify that the ship has a valid certificate;

• inspect the Ballast Water Record Book; and/or sample the ballast water. If there are concerns, then a detailed inspection may be carried out and “the Party carrying out the inspection shall take such steps as will ensure that the ship shall not discharge Ballast Water until it can do so without presenting a threat of harm to the environment, human health, property or resources.”

• All possible efforts shall be made to avoid a ship being unduly detained or delayed(Article 12 Undue Delay to Ships).

Annexe – Section B Management and Control Requirements for Ships

• Ships are required to have on board and implement a Ballast Water Management Plan approved by the Administration (Regulation B-1). The Ballast Water Management Plan is specific to each ship and includes a detailed description of the actions to be taken to implement the Ballast Water Management requirements and supplemental Ballast Water Management practices.

• Ships must have a Ballast Water Record Book (Regulation B-2) to record when ballast water is taken on board; circulated or treated for Ballast Water Management purposes, and discharged into the sea. It should also record when Ballast Water is discharged to a reception. Facility and accidental or other exceptional discharges of Ballast Water.

• The specific requirements for ballast water management are contained in regulation B-3 Ballast Water Management for Ships.

• Other methods of ballast water management may also be accepted as alternatives to the ballast water exchange standard and ballast water performance standard, provided that such methods ensure at least the same level of protection to the environment, human health, property or resources, and are approved in principle by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC).

• Under Regulation B-4 Ballast Water Exchange, all ships using ballast
water exchange should :

• whenever possible, conduct ballast water exchange at least 200 nautical miles, from the nearest land and in the water at least 200 metres in depth, taking into account Guidelines developed by IMO;

• in cases where the ship is unable to conduct ballast water exchange as above, this should be as far from the nearest land as possible, and in all cases at least, 50 nautical miles from the nearest land and in water at least 200 metres in depth.

• When these requirements cannot be met areas may be designated where ships can conduct ballast water exchange. All ships shall remove and dispose of sediments from spaces designated to carry ballast water in accordance with the provisions of the ships’ ballast water management plan (Regulation B-4).

Annexe – Section D Standards for Ballast Water Management

• There is a ballast water exchange standard and a ballast water performance standard. Ballast water exchange could be used to meet the performance standard:

• Regulation D-1 Ballast Water Exchange Standard – Ships performing Ballast Water exchange shall do so with an efficiency of 95 % volumetric
exchange of Ballast Water. For ships exchanging ballast water by the pumping-through method, pumping through three times the volume of each ballast water tank shall be considered to meet the standard described. Pumping through less than three times the volume may be accepted provided the ship can demonstrate that at least 95 % volumetric exchange is m.

• Regulation D-2 Ballast Water Performance Standard – Ships conducting ballast water management shall discharge less than 10 viable organisms per cubic metre greater than or equal to 50 micrometres in minimum dimension and less than 10 viable organisms per millilitre less than 50 micrometres in minimum dimension and greater than or equal to 10 micrometres in minimum dimension; and discharge of the indicator microbes shall not exceed the specified concentrations.

• The indicator microbes, as a human health standard, include, but are not be limited to

• a) Toxicogenic Vibrio cholerae (O1 and O139) with less than 1 colony forming unit (cfu) per 100 millilitres or less than 1 cfu per 1 gram (wet weight) zooplankton samples ;

• b) Escherichia coli less than 250 cfu per 100 millilitres;

• c) Intestinal Enterococci less than 100 cfu per 100 milliliter

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