So, ballast water is used for balancing the ship and maintain the waterline at its optimal level. When the ship has been loaded, if its overall weight is lesser than its maximum weight, ballasts need to be filled until getting in enough water to reach the optimal waterline.
Ships are carrying water in their ballasts all around the world, they are ballasting (pumping out water) from one port and they are de-ballasting (discharging back to the sea) in a different port with a different marine eco-system.
The problem is, they are discharging invasive species. Those species are qualified as “invasive” as they do not have any predators in the environment where they have been discharged. So then, they are spreading and may cause huge damages (bridge collapse, pollution) but also diseases. For instance, in 1992, 20 000 people died after Cholera spreading related to a ship’s ballast water discharging.
In order to prevent such disaster and health issues, ballast water need to be treated before being discharged back to sea.
Before the IMO BWM Convention entered into force in 2017, there were no regulation frame in terms of ballast water. Since then, ships are required to be equipped with approved ballast water treatment system according the IMO BWM standards.
Since the USA have adopted more restraining standards than IMO, ships sailing in US waters need to be compliant with the USCG Ballast Water Management Regulation and therefore be equipped with an USCG Type Approved BWT system. (Learn more about ballast water management international regulation)
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This project is co-financed by the European Union. Europe is at work in Languedoc-Roussillon with the European Regional Development Fund.