Ballast Water


Don’t be left behind. In the wake of the USCG’s final ruling and pending IMO ratification, now is the time to purchase your ballast water treatment solution. Hyde Marine will help ensure you are in compliance with the implementation and enforcement of the global regulations. Below is a list of important standards and regulations:

For a 45 minute presentation on Understanding the Misconceptions of IMO & USCG Ballast Water Regulations please click HERE.


International Maritime Organization Ballast Water Regulations

In 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWMC), which addresses the transportation of potentially harmful organisms through ballast water. The Convention requires ships to conduct a ballast water exchange or to meet concentration-based ballast water discharge standards at ports with ballast tanks 99% free of living organisms and pathogens. Additionally, these vessels must comply in accordance with the implementation schedule that is linked to the ship’s build date and the amount of ballast carried aboard the ship. Entry into force will occur 12 months after ratification of the IMO BWM Convention by 30 States representing 35 percent of world merchant shipping gross tonnage.

The status of the conventions can be found here.

The revised implementation schedule based on MEPC 64 is summarized below.

IMO ballast water treatment timeline

Pertinent facts of the Convention are identified below.

  • The Convention will apply to all vessels flagged in countries Party to the Convention (vessels operating exclusively in the waters of one Party may be exempt) and to vessels operating in the waters of a Party to the Convention unless a specific exemption is granted.
  • Regulation D-2 of the Convention prescribes discharge standards for organisms and pathogens that may be discharged with ship’s ballast water.
  • 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

More information regarding the IMO Convention on Ballast Water Management and the corresponding guidelines can be found here.

When the IMO BWM Convention has been ratified, there will be many ships past due in meeting compliance deadlines. In order to prevent further delays in the installation of your BWTS and to ensure compliance, contact Hyde Marine today to secure the reliable, IMO Type Approved Hyde GUARDIAN Gold BWTS for your particular vessel.

United States Regulations

In the U.S., ballast water is regulated by two entities: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Water Act and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the EPA.

Within the U.S., ballast water is regulated as a discharge incidental to the operation of a ship under the Clean Water Act.  Ships are permitted to discharge ballast as regulated by the EPA’s Vessel General Permit (VGP) program. This program regulates all of the incidental discharges from vessels that occur as part of normal operation such as deck-run-off, bilge water, and waste water.

In 2012, the EPA published an update to the VGP program, scheduled to come into force on 17 December 2013.  This new, proposed regulation includes more stringent rules on ballast water:

  • Treatment of ballast water is a requirement for all vessels subject to the permit.  Exchange is allowed up to an implementation date as set by the EPA and USCG.
  • Mandate of periodic sampling of ballast water based on type of BWTS used.  For systems with “low value data,” testing is required quarterly.  Systems with “high value data” have extended testing requirements. Testing is conducted to verify effluent discharge quality.
  • Exemption from requirements for vessels under 79 ft or with less than 8 m3 of ballast water.
  • Phase 1 standard set at IMO D-2 levels.  It provides guidance for review of standards in the future if a Phase 2 standard is technologically available.

More information on the EPA’s Vessel Discharge Program can be found here, and for more information on Invasive Species click here.

On June 21, 2012, the USCG published its final ruling on ballast water treatment. As with the IMO Convention, this rule sets forth a timeline for ballast water treatment requirements.

USCG ballast water timeline

Pertinent facts are discussed below.

  • The regulation will apply to all commercial ships discharging ballast in U.S. waters >1600gt.
  • Vessels operating exclusively in one Captain of the Port (COTP) zone are exempt.
  • The Rule prescribes discharge standards for organisms and pathogens that may be discharged with ship’s ballast water equal to the IMO standard in D-2.

The final rule, AMS policy letter, and Coast Guard message on implementation of the standards can be found here.

In order to prevent further delays in the installation of your BWTS and to ensure compliance, contact Hyde Marine today to secure the reliable, IMO Type approved Hyde GUARDIAN Gold BWTS for your particular vessel.