Ballast Water Management

What is Ballast water?
Ballast water is the material pumped into a ship's tanks to improve its stability for safe operations. Ballast water is taken up when cargo is unloaded and discharged when cargo is loaded, or when ships need extra stability in response to bad weather.

As ballast water is taken up, ships can also pick up the plants and animals that live in the water. When ballast water is discharged, these plants and animals can be released and at times become marine pests.

Ships visiting Western Port are required to meet the ballast water requirements of the Victorian Environment Protection Ships' Ballast Water Regulations 2006 and the Environment Protection Authority’s Waste Management Policy (Ships' Ballast Water), July 2004.


Ballast Water Management

The Port of Hastings has lead Australia in ballast water management. Since the 1990s, they would informally request that ships originating from high risk domestic ports exchange their ballast water at sea, prior to entering the port.

In response to the initial success of their approach, in 2001/2002 the Hastings National Demonstration Project was undertaken in partnership with the Environment Protection Authority. The purpose of the project was to trial the integrated management of both domestic and international ballast water at the one port to assess its suitability for Australia wide implementation.

The project proved a success, with shipping and port industries adopting the management system in July 2001.

Refer to the Port Operating Handbook for Ballast water requirements.