The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) requires ships to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments. The convention enetered into force September 8th 2017.
“This is a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can cause havoc for local ecosytems, affect biodiversity and lead to substantial economic loss”, said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in a press release.
“The requirements which enter into force today [September 8th] mean that we are now addressing what has been recognized as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. Invasive species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend. Invasive species also cause direct and indirect health effects and the damage to the environment is often irreversible”, he said.
Lim added that the entry into force of the BWM Convention will not only minimize the risk of invasion by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a level playing field globally for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships.