Ballast water management

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Coming soon

Over the course of the next few months, the content of this site will expand rapidly.

Among the topics we aim to cover, are the governance structures of EU maritime law, inland waterway transport, rules applying to seafarers, trade regulations, security issues, port regulations and competion law.

IMO and EU policies aim to prevent the potentially devastating effects of the spread of invasive species carried by ships’ ballast water from one region to another. This is been done through the strict control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments.

  • Read more about IMO's work on ballast water management at
  • The European Commission DG for environment describes the problems posed by non-indigenous species and their policies regarding this at their web site and here.
  • Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe provides a useful guide to these problems at

International law

International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM). You can read more about this at and find the full text of the convention at

MEPC Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water to Minimize the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens. MEPC resolution A.868(20).

EU ratification

Commission recommends Member States’ ratification


European law

Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. Note in particular recital 21

13/7/2016: First European list adopted to stop the spread of invasive species threatening biodiversity and economic activities.

Regulation (EC) No 708/2007 concerning use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture.



The EMSA has a topic page online about these problems.


Statements of EU institutions

Commission 29.9.2014: “Commission welcomes the Council’s adoption of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation”

Commission 3.5.2011: EU Biodiversity Strategy. COM(2011) 244 final

Commission 5.12.2008: IP/08/1890 “Commission presents policy options for EU strategy on invasive species”

Commission 3.12.2008: Commission Communication “Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species”. COM(2008) 789 final

Commission 4.3.2008: IP/08/373 “Environment: nature’s uninvited guests under scrutiny”

Commission 11.10.2002: IP/02/1459 “Commission proposes an ambitious roadmap for enhanced protection and conservation of marine ecosystems”

Commission 2.12.1986: IP/86/588 “Community aid to fight marine pollution”


Written Questions by Members of the European Parliament (rule 117)

Written Question E-004706-15 by Ivan Jakovčić “Changes in the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean Sea”

Written Question E-011214-15 by Dominique Bilde and Sophie Montel “Fight against the harmful effects of alien species”


Written Question E-002613-15 by Zigmantas Balčytis “Establishment of Baltic Sea Protected Areas”

Written Question E-005568-14 by Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris “Tropicalisation of the Mediterranean”

Written Question E-008661-13 by Chris Davies “Alien invasive species”

Written Question E-012113/2011 by Zigmantas Balčytis “Introduction of alien species by ships” with answer given by Commissioner Mr Potočnik of 23.2.2012

Written Question E-5060/2010 by Franz Obermayr: “Bioinvaders in the EU” with answer given by Commissioner Mr Potočnik of 17.9.2010

Written Question E-3988/09 by Bas Eickhout: “Link between spread of marine aquatic invasive species and poor water ballast management” with answer given by Commissioner Mr Dimas of 24.9.2009

Written Question E-1005/06 by Dorette Corbey and Thijs Berman: “Filtration of ballast water” with answer given by Commissioner Mr Dimas of 16.5.2006

Written Question E-1004/06 by Dorette Corbey and Thijs Berman: “Filtration of ballast water” with answer given by Commissioner of 2.8.2006

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