IMarEST assists maritime sector as global treaty enters into force to halt invasive species

Comb jelly Phylum Ctenophora

With the International Ballast Water Management Convention entering into force today (8th September) IMarEST remains on standby to support vessel owners, equipment manufacturers and other stakeholders in their collective efforts to ensure the Convention is successfully implemented.

Under the Convention, commercial ships are required to install ballast water management systems in order to prevent the global spread of invasive marine organisms.

“It is a major undertaking for any ship owner and one that is fraught with complex technical challenges. The IMarEST is well-placed and keen to assist vessel operators address these issues, particularly through its Ballast Water Expert Group,” said Dr Bev MacKenzie, the IMarEST’s Technical & Policy Director.

The Ballast Water Expert Group (BWEG) was first convened by the IMarEST in 2010 and prior to the Convention’s ratification, dedicated itself to informing and educating IMO member States and the wider community through the provision of technical information and guidance. Now that the Convention has entered into force, it is working to support stakeholders in aspects related to the practical implementation. Reflecting the change in focus, these activities include: Encouraging development, approval and uptake of management systems; Supporting crew training and cultural change; Ensuring adequate legislation is in place; Supporting sampling and monitoring of ballast water; Exploring contingency measures; and Ensuring best practice is captured and made available.

Working through the BWEG, the IMarEST will continue in its efforts to ensure the shipping and related maritime industries can fulfil their functions in facilitating international trade and economic development with minimal environmental impact. It will continue to support its members and the industry as a whole in implementing the Convention – preferably sooner rather than later.