What is Ballast Water Management Plan ?

In order to reduce the harmful effects on the marine environment that are spread through aquatic micro organisms transferred from one area to another through ballasting operations of the ship, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a convention in order to control and manage ships ballast and sediments ion on 13th February 2004.

Port state authorities from around the world implemented their own requirements for ballasting and de-ballasting operation for ships sailing in their terrestrial water.

To simplify the requirement of the control of ballast water problem, a “ballast water management plan” was introduced which was to be used and implemented on board sailing vessels entering international waters.

Credits: IMOHQ/YouTube

Credits: IMOHQ/YouTube

Contents of Ballast Water Management Plan

The ballast water management plan includes the following:

  • International rules and regulations for different port state controls all over the world.
  • Location of ports providing shore discharge facility of sediments and ballast water.
  • Duties of the personnel on board for carrying out ballast operation.
  • Operational procedure along with the method to be used for ballasting.
  • The locations at different coastal water for ballast exchange should be mentioned in the plan.
  • Sampling point and treatment method should be given in the ballast water management plan.

Record of the ballast water exchange with all the following data to be noted:

  • Date of the operation
  • Ship’s ballast tank used in the operation.
  • Temperature of the ballast water.
  • Salinity of the ballast water in PPM (salt content in parts per million).
  • Position of the ship (latitude and longitude).
  • Amount of ballast water involved in operation.
  • All the records entered must be signed by a responsible officer (normally chief officer).
  • Master is overall in-charge of the operation and he will also acknowledge the ballast/ de-ballast operation by signing the BMP log.
  • Date and identification of the tank last cleaned.
  • If there is accidental discharge of ballast exchange it must be entered and signed. Same information is to be given to concerned port state authority.

Advantage of ballast water management plan:

With the help of a proper ballast management plan and some additional information, operational delays can be avoided which will help to save time and money.

Reporting for requirements of different post state authority is simplified. And the most important of all is that a safe ballast exchange can be carried out anywhere in the world.

If you liked this article, you may also like to read Ship oil pollution emergency plan


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  1. Mohd. Shamiul Hassan says

    Is this Ballast Water Management enforced to MARPOL Annex-VII already? I could not find anything regarding any law enforcement regarding this in any website. Seeking help regarding this topic. In addition to this topic, I also want to know regarding the enforcement of MARPOL Annex-VIII (using of anti-fouling paints) too.

  2. Anish says

    The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water & Sediments as Annex VII was adopted by consensus at a Diplomatic Conference at IMO in London on Friday 13 February 2004 and it is still not in force.
    The Convention will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage.

  3. Mohd. Shamiul Hassan says

    Hi Anish, many thanks for your kind response. I am totally informed regarding what you have mentioned. But what I did not know is that the enforcement date! It is on 10th December 2010. This one I came to know from one of the surveyor from Malaysia, who was in fact was my Chief’s examiner as well. And unfortunately, he failed me due to this, as I could not tell him the date of enforcement of Annex VII. I did tell him what you have said to me, but he did not accept. Anyway, now I know it is 10th Dec 2010, which I will never forget!

  4. eileen says

    I am a student, currently doing a project regarding ballast water. Can I know is there any issue regarding ballast water practice? and from what I research, it is compulsory to install ballast water treatment system by 2016, can I know what is your point of view regarding it?
    I would really appreciate if you could take some of your time replying as it is important to me.
    Thank you

  5. José R.S Irmão says


    I’m a Marine consultant in Brazil and by now I’m developing a study regarding reception and treatment of ballast water and would like to know where I can obtaing charging prices (dues and fee) charged by those that are presently colleting and treating ballast worldwide. I also would like to know which countries have implemented already such procedures.
    I will really appreciate if you could take some of of your precious time and send me the replay for those questions done.

    Thank you so much

    José R. S. Irmão
    e-mail: safeport.consultoria@bol.com.br

  6. Shohel Kibria says

    Some of marine institutes , they r discussing the matter of MARPOL annex VII and also raise question on ORAL. Its so stupid idea to raise a question which not yet enforce at all.

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