Managing ballast water to stop new pests arriving in Australia


Ballast water is water taken on board by vessels to maintain stability and trim. Ballast water can contain thousands of aquatic microbes, plants and animals, which can be spread across the globe as the vessel releases ballast water. Unmanaged ballast water released in foreign ports could potentially introduce a range of invasive marine species. Invasions have already taken place around the world, in some instances with significant consequences for the local ecosystem.

The Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements explain how to comply with the legislation while operating a vessel in Australian waters. In general, vessels have the following obligations:
• manage ballast water prior to arrival in Australian seas, and between Australian ports
• carry a ballast water management plan, ballast water management certificate, and maintain ballast water records.

Some vessels may be required to install an International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved ballast water management system to meet new ballast water discharge standards. For more information on when a vessel will need to meet the discharge standard, please refer to the Australian Ballast Water Management Requirements available at
Further information about Ballast Water for vessels operating in Australia can be found at or you can email can