IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) prepared a Guidance for the commissioning testing of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) on board, for the persons engaged in fitting and verifying the installation of BWMS.


Initial survey which verifies that any structure, equipment, systems, fitting, arrangements, material or processes comply fully with the requirements of the Convention.

The Administration, which issues the International Ballast Water Management Certificate, verifies that installation commissioning procedures are on board the ship in a suitable format.

Verification that an operational test of the BWMS was carried out based on the installation commissioning procedures and that documented evidence is provided which shows compliance of the treated discharge ballast water during test with regulation D-2 through sampling and analysis based on applicable guidelines developed by the Organization.


The following steps should be undertaken following installation of the BWMS on board the ship, and after all ballasting equipment (e.g. pumps and piping) has been fully installed and tested as appropriate:

  • a sample should be collected during a ballast water uptake to characterize the ambient water, by any means practical (e.g. in-line sample port or direct harbour sample). The ambient water should be accepted for testing regardless of the level of challenge it poses to the BWMS;

  • a sample should be collected during the corresponding ballast water discharge after the full treatment has been applied. Samples should be taken in accordance with the Guidelines on ballast water sampling (G2);

  • the representative samples should be analysed for all size classes included in the D-2 standard using indicative analysis methods listed in table 3 of BWM.2/Circ.42/Rev.1; and

  • the applicable self-monitoring parameters (e.g. flow rate, pressure, TRO, UV intensity, etc.) of the BWMS should also be assessed, taking into account the System Design Limitations of the BWMS, and the correct operation of all sensors and related equipment should be confirmed.

The validation is successful if the analysis indicates that the discharge sample does not exceed the D-2 standard and the self-monitoring equipment indicates correct operation.

In the case that the ambient water is not appropriate for the operational testing during the commissioning of the BWMS (e.g. salinity of ambient water is outside the SDL of the BWMS), testing should be evaluated to the satisfaction of the Administration.


A written report including methods and detailed results of the commissioning testing should be provided to the Administration.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts