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Ballast Water Discharge Requirements



The invasion of marine organisms has become one of the four major problems facing the world’s marine ecological environment, according to the International Council for Oceanography (ICES), 94% of the potentially harmful marine organisms are transmitted by ballast water.

The International Convention for the control and management of ballast water and sediments of ships (hereinafter referred to as the “ballast water Convention”) in 2004 aims to reduce the harm caused by the discharge of ballast water, the Convention came into force on January 22, 2019 in China. This paper mainly introduces the regulation, harm and detection of ballast water discharge.

Hazards Caused By Failure To Treat Ballast Water As Required

Failure to treat ballast water in accordance with regulations reveals contempt and irresponsibility for the protection of marine environment and water resources, ignorance and indifference to relevant laws and regulations, and ignorance of the risk of ballast water discharge. The hazards caused by the random discharge of ballast water are mainly reflected in the following aspects:

Ecological impact. Through the competition between the alien and native species carried by ballast water, the biodiversity is threatened and ecological disasters such as red tide are caused.

Economic impact. Due to the competition of invasive species, plunder or replace of cultured species, or reduction of fishery production by changing habitat and living environment, coastal recreational areas, sightseeing beaches and other pleasant places on the coast are affected or even closed.

The impact of pathogens and toxic species on human health has also resulted in additional economic impacts, including increased costs for surveillance testing and analytical processing, and reduced social productivity due to diseases and deaths in affected populations.

Health effects. The spread of pathogens is harmful to human beings. Some alien species are likely to carry pathogens. In the process of migration, pathogens will also be brought into a new environment. The local animals and plants lack antibodies to these pathogens, and are easily attacked by pathogens to break out the disease.

Ballast Water Management Requirements

The main ways of ballast water management stipulated in the annex of Ballast Water Convention are replacement (D-1 standard) and treatment (D-2 standard).

D-1 standard

The ballast water of the ship is replaced by sequence method, overflow method and dilution method, so as to meet the D-1 standard: 

Ballast water replacement shall be carried out in the water area at least 200 nautical miles away from the nearest land and at least 200 meters deep.

If the actual distance of the route is less than 200 nautical miles, replacement can be carried out in the water area with the nearest land of at least 50 nautical miles and water depth of at least 200 meters.

D-2 standard

Rule D-2 of the Convention deals with two size biological categories and a set of indicator microorganisms. Ships for ballast water management in accordance with regulation D-2 shall discharge:

  1. The minimum size of living organisms greater than or equal to 50 microns is less than 10 / m3.
  2. Less than 10 / ml of viable organisms with a minimum size of less than 50 microns but greater than or equal to 10 microns.
  3. The emission of indicator microorganism shall not exceed:
    (1) Vibrio cholerae (O1 and O139) were less than 1 CFU / 100ml or less than 1 CFU / g zooplankton sample (wet weight).
    (2) Escherichia coli: less than 250cfu / 100ml.
    (3) Enterococcus: less than 100cfu / 100ml.

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