All ocean vessels require ballast water to help maintain stability and maneuverability during transit. Ballast water is taken on or discharged by tankers, cargo ships, and cruise ships when changes in cargo load, weight distribution of the vessel, or the sea conditions require it. As ballast water is taken up in one location and discharged in another, marine organisms living in the ballast water are often discharged into unrelated, foreign waters. These non-indigenous species may become invasive and cause environmental, ecological, economical and even human health damage.
Transport System for Potentially Invasive Species: New Regulations
National and international regulations have been adopted to mitigate and prevent further ecosystem invasions by organisms released with ballast water. Starting in September 2017, new regulations will take effect to limit the introduction of foreign organisms via ballast water discharge. Technical guidelines have been established to limit concentration and size of viable organisms. Achievement of said guidelines and adherence to standards will require the use of approved Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS).