Ballast Water Management

The introduction of invasive species into a new eco-system can have serious consequences and it is well documented that invasive species can flourish in a new environment. The invasive species often competes with local organisms and can cause serious damage to commercial structures. In some cases, the arrival of an invasive species can be harmful to human health. This is not a new issue for the maritime industry, although the growth in the world fleet over recent years has made the problem worse. The global community’s response is the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention). The United States has produced its own legal regime. An overview of the main points of both the BWM Convention and the US regime is set out below.