Ballast Water Management (BWM)

Ballast Water Management (BWM)

Protecting the marine environment from invasive species

Ships that sail around the globe run the risk of carrying invasive aquatic species across the ocean, disrupting or harming marine ecosystems. To protect the environment, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) introduced the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water & Sediments (BWM Convention). This regulation requires all vessels that carry ballast water to implement BWM management plans and improve treatment systems.   

Bureau Veritas supports ship owners, operators and managers in complying with the BWM Conventions. Our experts help clients develop and maintain a BWM Plan throughout ship lifecycle, supporting ship operators in protecting the ocean and complying with regulations.


  • Understand the BWM Convention, including different requirements for new and existing ships
  • Understand the specific certification requirements for the relevant Flag State Administration
  • Develop and maintain an approved BWM Plan that complies with BWM Convention requirements
  • Receive training in ballast water management for all crew members and personnel

Developing a BWM Plan

To comply with the BWM Convention, ship owners must establish a Ballast Water Management Plan (BWMP) and Ballast Water Management System (BWMS). Bureau Veritas provides assessments of ship structure, stability and machinery, enabling our experts to help clients choose the most appropriate BWMS for each vessel. 

Providing technical assistance 

Equipment manufacturers must meet specific IMO guidelines for equipment design, onboard installation and operation of BWM systems. This is particularly important for BWM systems that use active substances, such as chemical treatments, to process ballast water. Bureau Veritas helps manufacturers comply with technical guidelines and assess the risks associated with BWM systems.

Delivering certification and coordinating surveys

Upon completion of the BWM process, ship owners receive the International Ballast Water Management Certificate, which remains valid for five years. Following certificate delivery, Bureau Veritas helps clients coordinate annual, intermediate and renewal surveys to ensure all plans, systems and equipment continue to function as designed.