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BWM by ICS

BWM Videos

BWM by IMO

BWM by IACS

BWM FAQs

ICS Document Format Size File
Ballast Water Management Training Course – Understanding the Implementation of IMO / National regulations and the Survey Requirements PDF 14.5MB
*Instructive for the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM Convention) PDF 207KB
*Statutory Notice No.131 – BWMC–Panama Policy PDF 206KB
*Statutory Notice No.132 – Requirements for ICS Surveyors (BWMC) PDF 184KB

Files marked with (*) are for ICS Surveyors and/or for Flag State Administrations upon request.

Training Videos Format Size File
Ballast Water Management Introduction mp4 71.6MB
What is Ballast Water Management (BWM)? mp4 17.8MB
Country Requirements of BWM mp4 15.1MB
BWM Methods mp4 23.6MB
BWM Plan and Record Book mp4 6.10MB
BW Treatment System (Bawat Technology) mp4 33.5MB
BW Treatment System (VOS Technology) mp4 12.8MB
IMO Practical training on BW Sampling and Analysis mp4 63.5MB
Duties of BWM Officer mp4 7.06MB
Cougar Ace (Case of Study) mp4 10.3MB
BWM Compliance by USCG mp4 5.25MB
Ballast Water Exchange vs Ballast Water Treatment mp4 7.34MB

BWM Convention

IMO Document Title Format Size File
BWM/Conf/36 International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments 2004 PDF 220KB

List of IMO Guidelines for the Uniform Implementation of the BWM Convention

IMO Resolution Title Format Size File
MEPC.152(55) (G1) Guidelines for Sediment Reception Facilities PDF 15.1KB
MEPC.173(58) (G2) Guidelines for Ballast Water Sampling PDF 188KB
MEPC.123(53) (G3) Guidelines for Ballast Water Management Equivalent Compliance PDF 116KB
MEPC.127(53) (G4) Guidelines for BWM and Development Of BWM Plans PDF 171KB
MEPC.153(55) (G5) Guidelines for Ballast Water ReceptionFacilities PDF 16.0KB
MEPC.124(53) (G6) Guidelines for Ballast Water Exchange PDF 134KB
MEPC.162(56) (G7) Guidelines for Risk Assessment Under Regulation A-4 of the BWM Convention PDF 173KB
MEPC.279(70) (G8) 2016 Guidelines for approval of Ballast Water Management Systems PDF 1.01MB
MEPC.169(57) (G9) Procedure for Approval of BWM Systems that make use of Active Substances PDF 282KB
MEPC.140(54) (G10) Guidelines for Approval and Oversight of prototype BWM Technology Programmes PDF 180KB
MEPC.149(55) (G11) Guidelines for Ballast Water Exchange Design and Construction Standards PDF 17.9KB
MEPC.209(63) (G12) 2012 Guidelines on Design and Construction to Facilitate Sediment Control on Ships PDF 48.9KB
MEPC.161(56) (G13) Guidelines for Additional Measures Regarding BWM including Emergency Situations PDF 147KB
MEPC.151(55) (G14) Guidelines on Designation of Areas for Ballast Water Exchange PDF 21.8KB

List of other resolutions and guidelines related to the implementation of the BWM Convention

IMO Document   Format Size File
MEPC.252(67) Guidelines for port State control under the BWM Convention PDF 126KB
MEPC.253(67) Measures to be taken to facilitate entry into force of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 PDF 25.7KB
MEPC.228(65) Information reporting on type approved ballast water management systems PDF 17.1KB
MEPC.206(62) Procedure for approving other methods of ballast water management in accordance with regulation B-3.7 of the BWM Convention PDF 93.5KB
MEPC.188(60) Installation of ballast water management systems on new ships in accordance with the application dates contained in the ballast water management convention (BWM Convention) PDF 44.4KB
MEPC.163(56) Guidelines for ballast water exchange in the Antarctic treaty area PDF 17.6KB
A.1088(28) Application of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 PDF 43.2KB
A.868(20) Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water to minimize the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens. PDF 325KB

List of BWM Circulars related to the implementation of the BWM Convention

IMO Document   Format Size File
BWM.2-Circ.52 Guidance on entry or re-entry of ships into exclusive operation within waters under the jurisdiction of a single Party PDF 127KB
BWM.2-Circ.46 Application of the BWM Convention to Mobile Offshore Units PDF 108KB
BWM.2-Circ.45 Clarification of “major conversion” as defined in regulation A-1.5 of the BWM Convention PDF 42KB
BWM.2/Circ.44 Options for ballast water management for Offshore Support Vessels in accordance with the BWM Convention PDF 108KB
BWM.2/Circ.43 Amendments to the Guidance for Administrations on the type approval process for ballast water management systems in accordance with Guidelines (G8) (BWM.2/Circ.28) PDF 233KB
BWM.2/Circ.42/
Rev.1
Guidance on ballast water sampling and analysis for trial use in accordance with the BWM Convention and Guidelines (G2) PDF 329KB
BWM.2/Circ.40 Issuance of Ballast Water Management Certificates prior to entry into force of the BWM Convention and Ballast Water Management Plans approved according to resolution A.868(20) PDF 18KB
BWM.2/Circ.37 Information that should be made available in proposals for approval of ballast water management systems in accordance with the Procedure for approval of ballast water management systems that make use of Active Substances (G9) PDF 179KB
BWM.2/Circ.33 Guidance on scaling of ballast water management systems PDF 30KB
BWM.2/Circ.32 Applicability of the Ballast Water Management Convention to hopper dredgers PDF 21KB
BWM.2/Circ.29/
Rev.1
Clarification regarding the application dates contained in regulation B-3 of the BWM Convention PDF 26KB
BWM.2/Circ.27 Framework for determining when a Basic Approval granted to one ballast water management system may be applied to another system that uses the same Active Substance or Preparation PDF 26KB
BWM.2/Circ.21 Engineering Questionnaire on Ballast Water Management Systems PDF 52KB
BWM.2/Circ.20 Guidance to ensure safe handling and storage of chemicals and preparations used to treat ballast water and the development of safety procedures for risks to the ship and crew resulting from the treatment process PDF 125KB
BWM.2/Circ.17 Guidance document on arrangements for responding to emergency situations involving ballast water operations PDF 133KB
BWM.2/Circ.13/
Rev.3
Methodology for information gathering and conduct of work of the GESAMP-BWWG PDF 1MB
BWM.2/Circ.13/
Rev.2
Methodology for information gathering and conduct of work of the GESAMP-BWWG PDF 969KB
BWM.2/Circ.13/
Rev.1
Methodology for information gathering and conduct of work of the GESAMP-BWWG PDF 970KB
BWM.2/Circ.8 Harmonized implementation of the Guidelines for approval of Ballast Water Management Systems (G8) PDF 110KB
BWM.2/Circ.7 Interim Survey Guidelines for the purpose of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments under the Harmonized System of Survey and Certification (resolution A.948(23)) PDF 158KB
Document Format Size File
M74 – Installation of Ballast Water Management Systems (Rev.Sep-2015) PDF 131KB




1. Does the Convention apply to all vessels?

The BWM convention applies to all ships using ballast water in international trade, except:

a. Ships which are not designed or constructed to carry ballast water
b. Ships that only operate in the local waters* of a single authority, or in local waters of a single authority combined with voyages to and from international waters. Authorization shall be granted by the local authority, and vessels flag administration shall be informed about authorization.
c. War ships, naval auxiliary, or ship owned and operated by a State and used only on Government, non-commercial service, as stated in Article 3.2(d) of the Convention.
d. Ships with sealed or permanent ballast water tanks

*Some territorial waters may be divided into different ballasting zones, meaning treatment or exchange may be required within the local waters.





2. What are the requirements for vessels which are subject to the BWM convention?
a. From date of entry into force (EIF), September 8th 2017, all ships shall have and implement a BWM plan and record all ballast water operations in the BWM record book. The BWM plan shall be approved by the administration.
b. Vessels above 400 GT (excluding floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs) are subject to a BWM survey and are required to hold a BWM certificate.




3. What are the requirements for vessels below 400 GT and floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs?

As per regulation E-2 of the Convention, the government of the coastal State (for floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs) or the flag administration (for vessels below 400GT) will determine whether or not the vessel must comply with D-1 (exchange) or D-2 (treatment) regulations. We understand that according to the Convention, such vessels shall be required to have approved BWMP and Record Book. However, if they are more or less permanently positioned, BWMP and Record Book, it may be asked of the Administration (Shelf State) if maintenance of BWMP or Record Book is required.





4. What is the BWM Plan?

The BWM plan is the document that details the procedure for discharge of the ballast water and handling of sediment in accordance with regulation D-1 (exchange), and/or regulation D-2 (treatment) and regulation B-5 (sediment management). Conducting ballast water discharge and cleaning of sediments in accordance with BWM plan ensures compliance with regulation D-1 or D-2 and B-5.
This plan has to be vessel and equipment specific and approved for each vessel by the administration. The plan may include procedures for both D-1 and D-2 if the vessel employs both methods.





5. When do vessels need to carry out ballast water exchange, i.e. comply with regulation D-1?

From entry into force (8th September 2017), all vesselsshall conduct BWE in accordance with the approved BWM plan until compliance with the D-2 regulation (treatment) becomes mandatory.

*For which BWM convention is applicable





6. When do vessels need to comply with the BW discharge standard in accordance with regulation D-2 (treatment)?

a. The D-2 standard becomes mandatory for all existing vessels* after the first IOPP renewal date following the EIF date.
b. Vessels keel-laid or underwent major conversion after the EIF date shall comply with the regulation D-2 upon delivery.

*For which BWM convention is applicable





7. Does a vessel need to install a ballast water treatment system in order to comply with the regulation D-2?

The intention of the D-2 regulation (treatment) is to prevent discharge of harmful microorganisms into new locations. However, the Convention is open on the methods how this can be archived e.g. discharge of the ballast water to a reception facility, discharge of the distillate water* prefilled in the ballast tanks, etc.
The PSC should have final decision as to whether they accept any equivalent to D-2 and allow discharging in their waters. For the majority of vessels, a treatment system will be the best way to comply with regulation D-2. Such system must be approved by the administration.

*Upon agreement with the local authorities





8. I have a ship with a potable/fresh water generator and I would like to use this water as ballast on my ship, will my ship then be in compliance with the Convention?

This question is under discussion in IMO. Regulation B-3 Item 7 accepts other methods of ballast water management as alternatives however such methods have to be approved in principle by the Committee, what basically mean type approval according to G8 guidelines.





9. Do I have to mention both methods, exchange and treatment, in the BWM Plan?

BWM plan shall be equipment specific, i.e. the plan shall not contain information about treatment system unless ballast water treatment system is installed and in use on board. As part of the approval process for retrofitting a vessel with a BW treatment system, the owner will be required to submit the BWMP for approval with information regarding the treatment system and its application.





10. What is required to be on board after the EIF date (8th of September 2017)?

a. The approved BWM plan
b. The BWM record book. All ballast water operation from 8th of September 2017 onwards shall be recorded.
c. International Ballast Water Management (IBWMC) certificate. In cases where the vessels flag state has not ratified the BWM convention, a Statement/Certificate of Compliance must be provided.





11. Is it possible to postpone the implementation of the regulation D-2?

The vessel is not required to comply with the regulation D-2 until its first IOPP renewal due date following the EIF date. Since the IOPP renewal survey must be performed every 5 years, conducting IOPP renewal survey before 8th of September 2017 can result in 5 years postponement of the implementation date.





12. How do I carry out early IOPP renewal for my vessel?

There are two options available:

a. By doing all statutory surveys and class renewal survey before entry into force (EIF) date, the BWTS implementation date may be postponed. If the vessels class renewal is underway but cannot be completed before EIF, it is ICS’ understanding that as long as the IOPP survey has been well-documented as being completed prior to EIF, this will be sufficient to postpone the BWTS implementation date. This is the recommended option.
b. Certain flag administrations allow for de-harmonization the IOPP survey from the rest of Statutory Surveys. It is currently unknown what the consequences of de-harmonization will be, as some Port states may not accept de-harmonization.





13. What kind of documentation is required by flag states to approve IOPP de-harmonization? Does ICS support communication with flag?

Documentation requirements vary from flag state to flag state. Some flags have already accepted de-harmonization and do not require that an owner obtain written confirmation or authorization from the administration, while other may not accept a de-harmonization of IOPP. For the detailed procedure valid for your flag please contact [email protected]





14. What will be the consequences if I de-harmonize the IOPP?

It should be taken into consideration that not all flag states or port states are guaranteed to accept the de-harmonization of IOPP. This might lead to difficulties in operating ships in these territorial waters or even to ships being stopped from trading. It is recommended that owners investigate if the ports that will be visited will accept IOPP de-harmonization before proceeding.





15. My vessel is operating only between several locations e.g. Baltic Sea and North Sea, do I still have to comply with the convention?

Yes, but the Convention is open for exemption for vessels voyaging only between specified ports or locations within the same risk area. Exemption may be given by the parties in waters under their jurisdiction (local authorities). The exempting parties shall communicate the exemption to the IMO. This exemption can be given for a period of maximum five years and is subject to intermediate review (Regulation A-4). A full overview of the application procedure is given in the Guidelines for Risk Assessment Under Regulation A-4 of the BWM Convention (G7).





16. Can I use electronic BWM record book for recording my ballast operations?

In principal, yes, the Convention allows the use of an electronic record book. The BWM record book may be even integrated in to another record book or system on board. It is required that each entry is signed by the officer in charge of the operation and each completed page is signed by the master. An electronic record book must therefore be able to make use of an electronic signature.





17. I need to do a single voyage between two locations. Can I apply for an exemption?

This is a grey area in the convention and IMO has not given any guidance on this topic yet. According to ICS understanding, vessels may try to apply for an exemption on the basis of chapter 2(d) of the Article 3. However we recommend that the ballast water carried during the voyage is discharged in according with the regulation D-1 or D-2, whichever applies in the given situation.





18. Do MOUs need to carry out BW discharge in accordance with the regulations D-1 or D-2 as well?

Yes, MOU are affected by the convention as soon as they move to a new location* (in-transit condition). However, while operating within the local waters of the authority vessels can apply for exemption from all requirements of BWM convention based on the Article 3.2 of the BWM convention. Authorization shall be granted by the local authority, vessel flag administration has to be informed.

*New location is not the original location of the ballast water and sediments in the ballast water (defined by the local authorities).





19. What about water ballast carried in the cargo tank of the oil tanker, does it need to be treated?

No, during the MEPC.70 it was concluded that such cases will be covered only by MARPOL Annex I and there will be no amendment for the BWM Convention.





20. My ship has a BWM Plan approved to Resolution A.868(20). What do I have to do for my plan to be approved to the G4 Guidelines of the Convention?

There is no need for re-approval of BWM Plans approved to Resolution A.868(20), as long as the BWM methods described still are applicable for the vessel. ICS is able, upon request, to issue an Attestation Letter confirming that the BWM Plan also complies with the G4 Guidelines.





21. What should I do if the treatment system malfunctions?

IMO has not yet established the guidance for failures on the BWM treatment system. Therefore we recommend owners to inform local authorities at the earliest convenience and follow their recommendations.





22. Do I need to discharge ballast water in accordance with the regulations D-1 or D-2 and do the records in the BWM record book if my vessel is trading in the waters of non-signatory countries / under the non-signatory flag?

The Ballast Water Management convention is international and even if there are number of countries that have not ratified the convention and not require a vessel to fulfill the requirements, ICS recommends following the convention at any time to avoid possible comments from PSC of the signatory state.





23. Are there additional requirements beyond the convention in certain countries?

Yes, some countries, such as Ukraine, have stricter requirements than those listed in the convention. ICS recommends clarifying local requirements prior to conducting discharge of the ballast water in a new port.





24. I have a pleasure craft, or a craft used primarily for search and rescue, less than 50m in length overall and with maximum ballast water capacity of 8m3. Will my ship be required to comply with the Convention?

Yes, Regulation A-5 of the Convention allows equivalent compliance with the requirements, but no exceptions. Equivalent compliance must be determined by the Administration taking into account the G3 Guidelines: Guidelines for ballast water management equivalent compliance.





25. What are the Survey and Certification requirements for the BWM Convention?

Ships of 400GT and above to which the BWM Convention applies excluding floating patforms, FSU and FPSOs (see note) are to undergo an initial survey by recognized organization or flag administration as appropiate and on completion, an International Ballast Water Manangement Certificate (IBWMC) will be issued for ships whose flag has ratified the BWM Convention. For other ships operating under a flag for which the convention does not yet apply, but will trade within BWM convention ports, a BWM Certificate of Compliance will be issued. Both these certificates will have a validity of five years subject to annual, intermediate, and renewal surveys in accordance to the IMO’s Hamonised System of Survey and Certification Guidelines.

Note: Ships below 400GT, floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs will be subject to appropiate measures as established by the certifying administration to ensure that the applicable provisions of the BWM Convention are complied with.

BWM by U.S.

BWM by PMA

BWM by IMMARBE

External Links for References





1. Is the United State (US) a party of the IMO BWM Convention?

The United State (US) is not party to the IMO BWM Convention. Two US agencies, the USCG and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are responsible for the regulation of ballast water under the two different laws:

  • The National Invasive Species Act (NISA);
  • The Clean Water Act.




2. What is the regulation in which the BWM Program is mandatory on US waters and to whom applies?

Regarding to the ballast water, vessel owners/operators are required to comply with the U.S. ballast water regulations provided in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 151, Sections 151.1510 or 151.2025. This legislation has jurisdiction within the waters of the United State, including the territorial sea as extended out to 12 nm from the baseline. It applies to:

  • Seagoing vessels.
  • Coastal vessels that do not operate outside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) but are greater than 1600 GT and transit between Captain of the Port (COTP) Zones, which includes most “salties” (vessels that depart the Great Lakes, transit beyond the EEZ, return and pass upstream of Snell Lock).
  • The USCG Final Rule also requires vessels with ballast tank operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single COTP Zone to submit an annual report of their ballast water management practices.




3. What kind of vessels are exempted from the regulations of the BWM Program by the USCG:

There are some vessel types that are exempt from the USCG Ballast Water Management regulations:

  • Crude oil tankers engaged in coastwise;
  • Vessels of the US Armed Forces;
  • Any warship, naval auxiliary or other vessel owned or operated by a foreign state and used only on government and non-commercial service.




4. Are there any limitations / local prohibition for chemical treatments systems?

The type approval process covers the possibilities of toxic discharge according to the IMO and/or USCG standards. Chemical treatment systems are required to satisfy minimum toxicity requirements just as other systems.

The requirements related to toxic discharge for different states are addressed in the 2013 VGP and the US EPA’s Generic Protocol for the Verification of Ballast Water Treatment Technology, known as the ETV Protocol.





5. Where can I find the drydock definition by the USCG, and what does it say about unscheduled dry dockings for e.g. repairs?

The BWM convention applies to all ships using ballast water in international trade, except: The USCG issued clarifying guidance applicable to the first scheduled drydocking in its CG-OES Policy Letter, No. 13-01, Revision 2 under Section 5. Original compliance date & first schedule drydocking.

Underwater inspection in lieu of dry docking is not considered the first scheduled dry-docking. Emergency repairs are not considered the first scheduled drydocking. However, if this drydocking satisfies the flag for endorsing the Certificate of Inspection, passenger ship safety certificate, cargo ship safety certificate, or cargo ship safety construction certificate as the required survey of the bottom of the ship, then this drydocking date is considered the first scheduled drydocking.





6. Except USCG, are there any other special local regulations in the US?

Some territorial waters may be divided into different zones for exchange. An exhaustive list of special regulations is not available, and additional regulations may be subject to change now that the Convention has been ratified. It is recommended that vessel operators contact the relevant flag administrations.

The US is the only country which requires type approved systems that satisfy a standard other than that IMO.

Certain states have specific ballast water requirements:

Arizona
California
Connecticut
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Minnesota
Michigan
Maine
New York
Ohio
Oregon
Rhode Island
Vermont
Washington
Wisconsin

With the exception of Oregon, the requirements of these states are found in the 2013 VGP.





7. Are there any special regulations in Californian waters?

The discharge requirements for ballast water in California are stricter than federal requirements. However, no treatment systems are available which can satisfy the California requirements, and the compliance is not currently required.





8. What are the deadlines for the installation of the BWMS as per USCG requirements?
Vessel’s BW Capacity Date constructed Vessel’s compliance date
New vessels All On or after 01-December-2013 On delivery
Existing vessels Less than 1,500 m3 Before 01-December-2013 First scheduled dry-docking after 01-January-2016
1,500 – 5,000 m3 Before 01-December-2013 First scheduled dry-docking after 01-January-2014
Greater than 5,000 m3 Before 01-December-2013 First scheduled dry-docking after 01-January-2016





9. Where can I find more information about BWM by the USCG?

The latest information of the Ballast Water Management Program and approval of Ballast Water Management System by USCG can be found in USCG Homepage : Environmental > Ballast Water Management Program 

In that section you will found information like:

  • FAQs
  • General Information
  • Regulations and Policy Documents
  • Alternate Management Systems (AMS)
  • Shipboard Technology Evalutation Program (STEP)
  • Type Approval
  • Environmental Technology Verfication (ETV) Program

PMA Document Format Size File
MMC 342 – Implementation of IMO Resolution A.1088(28) (BWMC) (Rev.Dec-2016) PDF 132KB
MMC 345 – Ballast Water Management Convention 2004 – Panama Policy (Rev.Jul-2017) PDF 282KB
MMC 348 – ROs authorized for the issuance of the Provisional Certificate of the IBWMC (Rev.Aug-2017) PDF 101KB

For the latest information regarding the Merchant Marine Circulars issued by PMA visit the SEGUMAR Website  

Document Format Size File
MMN-17-001 BWM Convention Entry Into Force (8-Sept.-2017) PDF 131KB
MMN-17-003r1 (supersedes MMN-17-003) PDF 579
Organization Description Link
IMO Conventions Status of Coventions
IMO BWM Ballast Water Management
IMO Docs Provide prompt and easy access to IMO documents.
Globallast Program IMO Partnership to Assist Developing Countries to Reduce the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms in Ships’ Ballast Water
US Coast Guard (USCG) Ballast Water Management Program
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Panama Maritime Authority Merchant Marine Circulars
Instructions before to start the exam:
  • Complete all the reading and visual material above provided;
  • All questions in the exam are to be attempted (no empty question shall be left behind).
  • The access to the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWM Convention) is allowed (open-book examination).
  • Select one letter only: a), b), c), d) or e) on the examination paper which is supplied to indicate which you judge to be the correct answer.
  • Only one (1) answer is correct.
  • Minimum score: 70% of correct answers.
Once all these instructions are understood; you may continue on the right side of the screen and press the buttom "Start the Exam".
Final Exam