Ballast Water Treatment - Regulations

Ballast water management Regulations

The global shipping industry is responsible for 80% of transport of the world’s commodities. Vessels which sail in ballast transfer 3 to 5 billion tons of ballast water annually between oceans.

As the water used for ballast contains life like larvae, plankton and small eggs, it is not hard to imagine that these organisms travel the world within the ballast tanks, to be released in a totally different environment. In this new habitat they may not have the same natural enemies.

Three categories are defined:

  • Ecological threat to the native biodiversity and /or ecological processes
  • Risk to human health as toxic organisms and pathogens may be introduced, potentially causing illnesses to fauna, flora and humans
  • Economic impact for fisheries, coastal industry, and other commercial activities and resources than can be disrupted.

IMO – International Maritime Organization

The IMO Ballast Water convention has entered into force (EIF) on September 8; 2017.
The IMO Convention defines a number of requirements:

  • Presences of an approved BallastWater Management Plan
  • Ballast Water Record Book
  • Type Approved Ballast Water Treatment system
  • Ballast Water Management Certificate.

Implementation schedule:

Ballast Water Capacity: Keel Laying Date: D-2 compliance date:
All Before EIF First IOPP renewal survey

following EIF

All after EIF At delivery


EIF: Entry Into Force (September 8; 2017)

IOPP: International Oil Pollution Prevention

D-2: Standard that specifies an approved ballast water treatment system

Between EIF and D-2 compliance, all vessels must practice D-1: compliance by means of Ballast Water Exchange.

USCG – United States Coast Gaurd

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) have defined regulations with respect to Ballast Water Treatment. The rules are effective as from June 21, 2012; and are to be found on the Federal Register Website

Ballast Water Treatment regulations

In the rules it is prohibited for vessels to discharge untreated water in to US waters. The implementation schedule depends on BW capacity and vessel construction date:

Year of construction: Ballast Water Capacity: Compliance date:
New vessels: On or after December 1st 2013 All On delivery
Existing vessels: Before December 1st2013 < 1500m3 First scheduled dry-docking after January 1st 2016
1500-5000 m3 First scheduled dry-docking after January 1st 2014
> 5000 m3


First scheduled dry-docking after  January 1st 2016

·         Clean  ballast tanks regularly to remove sediments

·         Rinse anchor & chains when retrieving anchor

·         Regularly remove hull, piping and tank fouling (incl. sediments)

·         Above must be included in the Ballast Water Management Plan

·         Maintain records of ballast and fouling management

·         Submit report 24h before calling US ports