Ballast Water Regulations and the Cost of Compliance

The Ballast Water Convention came into force on 8 September 2017, some 13 years after it was adopted at the IMO. The convention is aimed at stopping the spread of harmful aquatic organisms transferred in a vessel's ballast water. As of October 2018, 79 countries have ratified the convention, representing more than 80% of global shipping tonnage. Given that more than 40,000 ships will have to install ballast water treatment systems, shipowners and operators want insight into the cost and operational implications of complying with the convention.

News & Analysis

29 Oct 2018
A tougher US extension policy and slow retrofit uptake is adding to ballast-water compliance costs
08 Sep 2016
Pressure on foreign shipowners looking to trade in the US with legal ballast water cleaning systems onboard their ships has significantly increased with the authorisation of a new international maritime treaty.
World Shipping Council president John Butler
19 Aug 2016
A coalition of maritime groups aims to convince the IMO to put back deadlines under the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention so owners can install second-generation cleaning systems.
Image of aquatic organisms
06 Aug 2016
Ballast water management systems (BWMS), put in place to prevent invasive aquatic organisms colonising Australia’s coastal waters, have not come without bugs of their own.
Onboard ballast water treatment system.
13 Jul 2016
Appeals from four ballast water cleaning manufacturers to use an alternative method for testing their ultraviolet (UV) light-based equipment have been denied by the US Coast Guard.
US Coast Guard inspects a ballast water sample
06 Jul 2016
California regulators are looking to close a gap in the state's ballast water management requirements with a proposal that would fine vessel operators USD27,000/day per violation.


Power wielded by government regulators over the environmental issues to be discussed at MEPC 71 will be justified if shipowner investments can tackle the problems.