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Gard Guidance Masters


Ballast water exchanges at sea may be necessary to prevent the introduction into the sea of unwanted aquatic organisms from the vessel’s ballast water and sediment discharges. Although there are no international regulations yet in force, many national regulations require

  • ballast water exchange prior to arrival
  • documented ballast water control procedures
  • production of a ballast water exchange report upon arrival.Failure to comply with the above regulations may result in large fines.

    For further information on the prevention of the introduction of Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) please see section Pollution by ballast water.

    Ballast water exchange at sea may

  • cause critical situations, e.g. vessel’s stability
  • require procedures to be prepared by the Company.The Master is advised to strictly adhere to the procedures and safety precautions provided in the SMS.

    Safety issues involved in such operations include

  • prevention of over and under pressurisation of ballast tanks
  • free surface effects on stability
  • weather conditions
  • maintenance of adequate intact stability
  • permissible seagoing strength limits of shear forces, bending moments and torsional forces
  • maximum permitted draughts.

    Any ballast water exchange must be carefully and constantly monitored and controlled, and contingency procedures should be in place to deal with any emergencies which may arise.