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Ballast Water Management

Since the introduction of steel-hulled vessels ,water has been used as ballast to stabilize, appropriate stress distribution of the hull and for propeller immersion of vessels at sea. Ballast water is pumped in to the vessel to maintain safe operating conditions throughout a voyage. While ballast water is essential for safe and efficient modern shipping operations, it poses serious ecological, economic and health problems due to the multitude of marine species
inadvertently carried in ships’ ballast water. These include bacteria, microbes, small invertebrates, eggs, cysts and larvae of various species. When Ballast water taken in from one region or area is
pumped out in another part of the world, the transferred species may survive to establish a reproductive population in the host environment, becoming invasive, out competing native species and multiplying into pest proportions.

Ballast Water Management on ships is required to prevent this ecological damage.

Scientists first recognized the signs of an alien species introduction after a mass occurrence of the Asian phytoplankton algae Odontella (Biddulphia sinensis) in the North Sea in 1903. But it was not until the 1970s that the scientific community began reviewing the problem in detail. In the late 1980s, Canada and Australia were
among countries experiencing particular problems with invasive species, and they brought their concerns to the attention
of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection BALLAST WATER MANAGEMENT Committee (MEPC).


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