not fully loaded with cargo, ships use ballast water for stability and trim. However,
that water can contain many live organisms that, when released into waters of
another port, can become invasive. Invasive species have contributed to the
decline and disappearance of native ones and the collapse of local fisheries,
caused damage to infrastructure, and cost billions of dollars per year in lost
revenue and control costs. The zebra
mussel’s colonization of the Great Lakes Region in North America is one of
famous examples of an invasive species.
to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 10 billion
tonnes of ballast water are transported every year onboard ships, making it one
of the most important vectors for aquatic invasive species. There are an
estimated 7000 species transferred in ballast water every hour of every day.
Concerns have resulted in agreements and regulatory requirements
Oceanographic Commission (IOC)-IMO Working Group on Ballast and other Ship
Vectors (WGBOSV), a variety of ballast water CMDs have
been developed. However the accuracy, precision, detection
limits, and reliability of CMDs must be quantified for their use, including in regulatory enforcement. This
includes various sensors, instruments, kits, methods, and assays that have been
designed to assess compliance with ballast water discharge standards and
requirements, as well as several novel CMD approaches that are also currently
Rigorous, transparent, and standardized verification testing is
needed for these devices to be adopted and implemented globally, by multiple
administrations (i.e. countries, governments, or jurisdictions) to enforce
compliance monitoring. According to WGBOSV, not all of the existing CMDs
have been tested by an independent, third-party testing organization and none have been tested in a universally accepted, standardized way, due to a lack of consensus on robust verification
With the latest TIMES, volume 63, Protocol for the Verification
of Ballast Water Compliance Monitoring Devices, WGBOSV
present what they hope will serve as a standardized framework for the
verification testing of CMDs. Co-author Mario Tamburri (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science)
states that, “through collaboration with experts from around the world, the
group has developed a standardized protocol for how to verify the performance
of devices that are used to monitor for compliance with regulations on ship
ballast water discharge. This verification
testing will provide the ballast water management system manufacturers, ship
owners and operators, and regulatory and enforcement agencies with the critical
information needed to use these devices”. Co-author Lisa Drake (SGS Global Marine Services)
adds “We are working to knit this information
into guidance documents that are being developed by international
organizations, so a robust protocol is universally available.”
publication is aimed at researchers, developers/ manufacturers of CMDs,
regulators, and enforcement agencies.
TIMES Vol. 63, Protocol
for the Verification of Ballast Water Compliance Monitoring Devices, is now
available to download and view in ICES library.
ICES-IOC-IMO Working Group on Ballast and other Ship
Vectors (WGBOSV) provides scientific support to the development of international measures aimed at reducing the risk of transporting non-native species via shipping activities.
WGBOSVs work contributes to Impacts of human
activities and Emerging techniques and
technologies, two of ICES science priorities that support our Strategic Plan. Discover our seven interrelated scientific priorities and how our network will address them in our Science Plan: “Marine ecosystem and sustainability science for the 2020s and beyond”.
Tanker discharges ballast water.