A Decision Support System (DSS) is a supporting tool enhancing a decision-making process. Decision-makers are frequently faced with the problem to take decisions on very complex issues, which requires large data inputs, and a timely decision process. DSSs provide decision makers with a tool to reduce uncertainties, and to simplify and speed-up the decision process as well as to avoid subjectivism induced by the decision-maker and to guarantee transparency of a decision process. Implementation for the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) involves complex and diverse activities between vessels and port State authorities. A regional commonly agreed BWM DSS supports the implementation of common actions, as well as it helps sharing information, and with this achieving more effective BWM measures, lessens the burden on vessels, and lowers the costs of BWM measures.

Experience gained through the development and implementation of the Baltic BWMC DSS may serve as case study and be implemented as pilot action also in other EU regions. The regional DSS will be developed in close cooperation with and under consideration of the needs of the target groups which are e.g. port states, their administrations and shipowners.

The main output in COMPLETE project will be the report DSS for Baltic ballast water management that will contain the regionally specific BWMC DSS model and recommendations/guidance for its implementation at national and transnational levels. The BWMC DSS model can be directly used in the decision process by the port State authorities of all countries, or in the next steps a cross-border electronic BWMC DSS could be established to support the reporting and data exchange between vessels and authorities, as well as among Baltic Sea countries.