Ships need ballast water for their stability, manoeuvrability and safety. The down-side to ballast water is that it contains bacteria, algae and animals from the place of its intake, and these microscopic organisms may be introduced at the port of ballast water discharge where they may cause devastating harm to the local ecosystem, economy, and human health. To reduce the risk of organism introductions, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments in 2004 - the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC). The Convention will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 IMO Member States, representing 35 percent of world merchant shipping tonnage. As of 30 September 2014, 41 States had ratified the Convention for a total tonnage of 30.25. Therefore, it is expected that the Convention will soon enter into force. Prior to the Convention’s implementation, it is crucial that the maritime sector, which has to address the BWMC requirements, is informed and educated on the latest Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement (CME) developments for the BWMC ballast water management standards and its applications. The aim of the e-CME Ballast Water project is to ensure that all North Sea Region countries are ready to perform CME in agreement with the BWMC when it enters into force. To that end, the project will provide education that involves hands-on training as well as e-learning/internet CME modules for Port State Control officers, Maritime Administrations, ship crew and maritime university students.
A free, online course has been developed the the e-CME Ballast Water project to inform people who will be in contact with compliance, monitoring and enforcement of the Ballast Water Management Convention once it enters into force. The Course on Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention has a special focus on sampling and sample analysis of ballast water samples. More information about the course can be found here: http://elearning.e-cmeballastwater.eu/