The overall aim is to develop a fully operational and regionally harmonised structure for the ships’ ballast water management in the BSR. As Ballast Water Management Convention has entered into force in September 2017, all ships in international traffic are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard. On another side, BWMC Regulation A-4 gives Contracting Parties the right to grant exemptions from ballast water treatment. Thus, port state administration, ship owners and environmental authorities will have to take numerous decisions while implementing the BWMC.

Preparing to meet this challenge, HELCOM conducted development of a risk assessment tool under the HELCOM OSPAR Joint Harmonized Procedure for BWMC A-4 exemptions (JHP). It aims to ensure that exemptions are granted in a coherent manner that prevents damage to the environment, human health, property and resources. COMPLETE will produce recommendations (to be shared with HELCOM/OSPAR TG Ballast) on how to improve the JHP taking into account practical experience evolving in the process of the BWMC implementation and based on best scientific knowledge available.

Further development of the JHP, including target species selection criteria, will be carried out to help administrations and ship owners in prompt identification of routes that may qualify for exemptions in the HELCOM and OSPAR marine areas. Related to this, a regionally harmonized early warning system for timely communication of findings of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens to all relevant authorities as well as the regionally specific Decision Support System for ballast water management is needed. Finally, local authorities will be trained on ballast water sampling for Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement of the BWMC.