Protecting the waters

31 May 2024 14:18 Environment

From September 2024, the rules for discharging ballast water in ports will be tightened. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) will then require all seagoing vessels to treat ballast water when discharging it, usually in coastal areas, to prevent the spread of invasive species. From 1 June 2024, ships that do not have a system on board or whose system cannot be operated properly will be able to have their ballast water treated in the port of Hamburg.

The Authority for the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture (BUKEA) has granted a licence to Bawat BaaS and the Hamburg waste management company Jongen to operate a mobile ballast water treatment plant. This will ensure smooth handling in the port of Hamburg while complying with legal requirements.

Jens Kerstan, Senator for the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture: 'Ballast water must be cleaned to protect our environment and our seas. Invasive organisms can spread uncontrollably and significantly disturb the native balance. I am delighted that Bawat BaaS and the Hamburg-based waste management company Jongen will be able to operate a mobile treatment plant in the Port of Hamburg. This will ensure that shipping in Hamburg can continue to run smoothly and that only purified ballast water is discharged into our port.

Seagoing ships must take on or discharge ballast water to ensure the stability of the ship. The International Ballast Water Convention entered into force on 7 September 2017. Its (transitional) regulations stipulate that by 8 September 2024 at the latest, all seagoing ships must have ballast water treatment when ballast water is discharged into port to stabilise the ship.

Ships without a ballast water treatment system are subject to the discharge ban and must leave the port of Hamburg with no or a reduced load.

The background to the international ballast water convention is that when ballast water is taken on board, organisms such as bacteria or algae enter the ship's tanks and are discharged into other waters. These foreign organisms can cause considerable damage to the local marine environment.

Seagoing ships can now have their ballast water cleaned in the Port of Hamburg.

Press contact

Ministry of the Environment, Climate, Energy and Agriculture (BUKEA)
Press Office
Phone: 040 42840 8006