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Aquatic invasive species

Criteria by type of participant


Performance indicator's objective:

Reduce the risk of introducing and propagating aquatic invasive organisms and pathogens associated with ballast water discharges and biofouling.


This indicator is only applicable for fleets that regularly manage ballast water.


  • “Regularly” excludes exceptional transits like a repositioning cruise, sea trials or some construction condition. It would still allow non-applicability for newer ballast configurations like flow-through that don’t traditionally carry and discharge.

2024 criteria

Level 1

Monitoring of regulations

Level 2

2.1. Minimize or, whenever possible, avoid uptake of ballast water in the following conditions:

  • In shallow water;
  • In areas close to sewage outflows;
  • In areas with known epidemics or infestations;
  • In areas where dredging operations are underway;
  • In areas where tidal flushing is poor;
  • In areas identified by regulatory authorities.

Note: These measures should include any specific regulations applicable in ports or transit areas.

2.2. Uptake only the minimum amount of ballast water required to safely depart the dock, and complete ballasting operations in deeper waters (while always ensuring the vessel’s safety).

2.3. Develop and implement voluntary preventive measures if EU national / EU port authorities determine that a harmful species has established itself in a particular port.

2.4. Periodically inspect vessels’ hulls, including niche areas, such as sea chests, propeller thrusters, keels, rudders, and dry dock support strips.

Note: Refer to 2011 IMO Biofouling Guidelines Sections 1.4, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4. A copy can be found in the Members section of the Green Marine Europe website.

2.5. If needed, remove biofouling organisms from the hull, propellers, stern tube, sea chests, and other wetted portions of a vessel. Note: Cleaning with capture is suggested if biofouling covers over 15% of the wetted surfaces. At 15% coverage, the vessel is considered extensively fouled. Diagrams to help estimate percent coverage can be found in the Members section of the Green Marine Europe website.

2.6. For each vessel, keep a record book on details of all inspections and biofouling management measures undertaken on the ship.

Note: A template of such a record book can be found in the Members section of the Green Marine Europe website.

2.7. Ship owners operating in domestic/local waters (vessels not equipped with a BWMS):

If feasible and safe, conduct water ballast exchange during coastal vessel trade prior to re-entering the next port.

Note: Domestic/local waters trade is defined as "a movement of cargo and passengers between coastal ports and within EEZ waters.

Level 3

3.1. Maintain a Ballast Water Management plan and Biofouling Management plan for each vessel which includes all the best practices required to achieve Level 2. Have a policy to support scientific research (3.2).

Note: A Biofouling Management plan template can be found in the Members section of the Green Marine Europe website.

3.2. Support scientific research on ballast water or biofouling by providing access to ships for sampling by governmental and research groups or by participating in an expert working group.

Note: It is not necessary to actively participate in the research program in order to fulfill this criterion.

Only for vessels without BWMS:

3.3. Complete and maintain an annual inventory to evaluate the amount of ballast water taken and discharged by the company's ships by origin/destination.

Note: See Annex 1-A.

Only for vessels with a BWMS:

3.4. Produce an annual internal log showing any cases of ballast water treatment system malfunctioning. For such cases, include root cause(s) and preventive action(s) taken.

Note: This log has to include any PSC deficiency concerning BWMS.

For vessels with antifouling or fouling release coating:

3.5. Within dry-docking specifications, select coating with effective coating lifespan in line with the schedule for next dry-docking and anticipate operational wear, such as contact with lock walls or abrasive cleaning.

Note: The effective coating lifespan is determined by the manufacturer based on the vessel-specific application scheme (e.g., coating thickness); it is the age of an anti-fouling coating after which the coating is no longer expected to satisfactorily prevent or deter the attachment and growth of biofouling organisms.

Level 4

Fulfill one of the following 2 criteria:

4.1 Actively participate in research on reducing the risk of AIS introduction and spread associated with ballast water operations and discharges. For example, partner with an academic institution, technology developer, innovation accelerator, related PhD funding, or government agency.


4.2. Actively participate in research for eco-friendly biofouling paints and antifouling systems and on reducing the risk of AIS via biofouling, for example - autonomous underwater cleaning or underwater cleaning reclamation (vacuum or other control technologies).

Note: Active participation is defined as the provision of support by the company, whether through financial means, human resources or equipment and can include an experimental shipboard trial.

Level 5

5.1. Install and use a ballast water management system on one or several of the company's vessels. And, for each installed and in-use system, adopt contingency measures, as per MEPC 71/WP.9 Annex 4.

Note: See the “Links to Ballast water Regulations” document in the Members section of the Green Marine Europe website for reference and links to regulations.

AND fulfill one of the following 3 criteria:

5.2. For each installed BWMS, conduct a ballast water management system commissioning test for biological efficacy.
Use the international Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) Circular 70 (BWM.2/CIRC 70/Rev.1) as the basis for sampling and analysis. The document can be found in the Members section of the Green Marine Europe website.


5.3. Purchase or install a compliance monitoring device and conduct annual self-monitoring of ballast water discharges for each installed BWMS.


5.4. Submit data on the use of the BWMS to the ship owner's flag State and ship owners’ association (such as ECSA, Armateurs de France, etc.) to contribute to the IMO Experience Building Phase.

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