Administrations shall take these Guidelines into account in determining whether ships
satisfy the requirements of Regulation A-5, Equivalent compliance of the International
Convention for the Control and Management of Ships” Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004.
Ships subject to these Guidelines should, insofar as practicable, comply with the Convention, and
if that is not practicable, shall achieve equivalent compliance in accordance with Regulation A-5
and these Guidelines.
For the purpose of these Guidelines the definitions in the Convention apply.
These Guidelines apply to pleasure craft used solely for recreation or competition or craft
used primarily for search and rescue less than 50 metres in overall length and with a maximum
ballast water capacity of eight cubic metres. Overall length means the length of the hull
excluding bowsprits, booms, bumpkins, pulpits, etc.
These Guidelines do not apply to the uptake or discharge of ballast water and sediments:
necessary for the purpose of ensuring the safety of a ship in emergency situations
or saving life at sea;
when being used for the purpose of avoiding or minimizing pollution incidents
from the ship; and
on the high seas of the same ballast water and sediments.
In addition, these Guidelines do not apply to:
the accidental discharge or ingress of ballast water and sediments resulting from
damage to a ship or its equipment provided that all reasonable precautions have
been taken before and after the occurrence of the damage or discovery of the
damage or discharge for the purpose of preventing or minimizing the discharge
and the owner or the person in charge did not wilfully cause such damage;
the discharge of ballast water and sediments from a ship at the same location
where the whole of that ballast water and those sediments originated provided that
no mixing with unmanaged ballast water from other areas has occurred. In the
context of these Guidelines, ”same location” shall be taken to mean the same
harbour, mooring or anchorage; and
the discharge of ballast water and sediments if the master reasonably decides that
compliance with these Guidelines would threaten the safety or stability of the
ship, its crew, or its passengers because of adverse weather, ship design or stress,
equipment failure, or any other extraordinary condition.
Precautionary practices to minimize the uptake or transfer of harmful aquatic organisms
Uptake of ballast water6
Wherever possible, ballast water should be taken up outside of port waters and as far from
the coast as practicable. In addition, consideration should be given to the use of dockside water
supplies (e.g. water not taken directly from the harbour; such as fresh water, potable water, etc.)
as the source for ballast water.
When loading ballast water, every effort should be made to avoid the uptake of
potentially harmful aquatic organisms, pathogens and sediments that may contain such
organisms. The uptake of ballast water should be minimized or, where practicable, avoided in
areas and situations such as:
in areas identified by the port State in connection with warnings provided by ports
concerning ballast uptake and any other port contingency arrangements in the
event of emergency situations;
in darkness when organisms may rise up in the water column;
in very shallow water;
where propellers may stir up sediment;
areas with current large phytoplankton blooms (algal blooms, such as red tides);
nearby sewage outfalls;
where a tidal stream is known to be more turbid;
where tidal flushing is known to be poor; or
in areas close to aquaculture.
If it is necessary to take on and discharge ballast water in the same location, care should be
taken to avoid unnecessary discharge of ballast water that has been taken up in another location.
Discharge of ballast water9
To prevent, minimize and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms
and pathogens to the maximum extent practicable taking into account the nature of the ship
Ballast Water should either be exchanged prior to discharge in accordance with Regulation B-4
or otherwise managed in accordance with the requirements of the Administration. Any chemical
treatment shall only use Active Substances approved by the Organization pursuant to
Regulation D-3 of the Convention.
Where practicable, routine cleaning of the ballast tank to remove sediments should be
carried out under controlled arrangements, and suitable arrangements made for the
environmentally sound disposal of any resulting sediments.
Compliance with other guidelines11
Nothing in these Guidelines shall prevent a ship to which these Guidelines apply from
using any method of Ballast Water Management approved under any other Guidelines issued by
the Organization. If suitable new and emergent treatments and technologies prove viable, these
should be evaluated with a view to be incorporated, as appropriate, into these Guidelines.