Ballast water management – the control of harmful invasive species

Ship discharging ballast water
Ballast water may be taken onboard by ships for stability and can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and animals, which are then carried across the globe. Untreated ballast water released at the ship’s destination could potentially introduce a new invasive marine species. Hundreds of such invasions have already taken place, sometimes with devastating consequences for the local ecosystem.

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) was adopted in 2004 to introduce global regulations to control the transfer of potentially invasive species. Once the treaty enters into force, ballast water will need to be treated before it is released into a new location, so that any microorganisms or small marine species are killed off.

The BWM Convention will enter into force on 8 September 2017.

For more information visit web IMO