Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS)

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) will enter into force on 8 September 2017. This was announced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). From September 8, 2017, ships of 400 GT or more must comply with the D1 standard. The D1 standard concerns ballast water exchange. However, the date on which existing ships must meet the D2 standard requirements have been postponed by two years. September 8, 2019 is the new date for these vessels that need to renew their International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) certificate to comply with the D2 standard. The D2 standard covers specifies levels of viable organisms left in water after treatment.


In order to meet the D2 standard, ballast water must be treated on board or must be delivered to the port. It is expected that many ship owners and shipping companies will choose to install a Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) from the moment they must comply with the D2 standard. An IOPP certificate must be renewed every five years. This means that all existing ships must comply with the D2 standard between 8 September 2019 and 8 September 2024. Newbuilding vessels delivered after September 8, 2017 must comply directly with the D2 standard. Vessels below 400 GT must meet the D2 standard on 8 July 2024.


Investigate with us the right Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS)


We also looked into the various ways to destroy microorganisms into the ballast water like viruses, bacteria, algae and yeasts. For example there are Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) in the market which make use of ultraviolet light (UV-C), electrolysis or pasteurization by using the waste heat coming from the exhaust gases for the energy consumption needed to operate the Ballast Water Treatment System.


We could help by investigating the right Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) based on your wishes and needs (which could be: chemical-free, environmentally friendly, future-proof, no safety risks for the crew on board the vessel, easy to maintain, low energy consumption and a short holding time which could be helpful for ship-owners with short sea shipping routes) and sailing profile (for example: besides type approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) also type approved by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)).


What is ballast water exactly and what are the consequences?


Although ballast water is taking care of stability and balance of the ship and is making sure that the ship propeller stays underwater, the movements of exotic species have become one of the greatest threats for marine biodiversity of the oceans.


In many cases ships with ballast water on board are changing exotic species between various continents as a kind of travelling fish tank. The impact from ballast water is not only noticeable on environmental and economic terms, the spread of some exotic species could have a negative effect on public health in some cases. For example, a little worm in ballast water could lead to a spread to the disease cholera.


If we compare the spread of exotic species with oil pollution, then we see that oil pollution is visible, has a major media impact, is it initiating political reactions and usually restores the environment after some time. If we are looking to the spread of exotic species, then we see that these will arise undetected and will often increase very largely.


Although the spread of exotic species will arise undetected, the consequences are almost irreversible. The Chinese mitten crab is a good example of this. This kind of non-native species originally came from Asia, which you now find at the Dutch coast.


International convention for the control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments


The Ballast Water Management Convention (BWM 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.


The Ballast Water Management Convention has been introduced to prevent, minimize and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens internationally.


The BWM Convention stipulates that it will enter into force 12 months after ratification by a minimum of 30 States, representing 35% of world merchant shipping tonnage. Thanks to the accession of Finland the BWM Convention has met its ratification criteria.



Learn more about the Ballast Water Management Convention



Requirements for ballast water in the United States (US)


The United States of America (abbreviated as U.S. or U.S.A.) have their own requirements for ballast water. These regulations do not match with the IMO standards. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) have adopted their own regulations with respect to Ballast Water Management. For example, vessels sailing in U.S. waters will be required to adhere with United States Coast Guard (USCG) ballast water discharge standards.


Answers to questions about the BWM Convention


The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (abbreviated as ILT and formerly known as Shipping Inspection) has collected relevant questions and answers regarding various subjects of the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC). This document was written in response to recurring questions raised by the stakeholders, mainly ship owners and classification societies. May be interesting for you to read.



Download the questions and answers regarding to the BWM Convention



Funding and financing


We have also the right in-house experience to investigate the potential availability of funding and forms of financing for your BWTS. Feel free to ask us for more information about it.




Berger Maritiem has solid relations with expert partners to be able to provide you with a fast and professional service for your Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS). With 24/7 technical support, we are here to help you wherever your vessel is at berth.


Get in touch with us


Do you want to investigate if we could help by selecting the right Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) for your vessel or do you want practical advice? Feel free to contact us.


About Berger Maritiem | Get in touch with us