Alongside our established network of partners, APEM have the skills and expertise to provide fully comprehensive sampling and testing of ballast water from vessels across the world.

Delivering confidence

APEM offer the full suite of sample collection and analysis on a global scale, helping ship owners and ports to meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organisation’s Ballast Water Management Convention.

Marine non-native species

Ballast waters and biofouling are considered two of the main pathways by which marine non-native species are introduced to new environments. When introduced to a new environment, these species may establish with adverse effects on the receiving ecosystem, native species, human infrastructure and potentially having legal implications.

APEM have developed services to help clients manage the risks posed by non-native species and comply with relevant legislation regarding the accidental introduction of marine species through ballast water or biofouling.

Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC)

The introduction of non-native species to new environments via discharged ballast water is considered to pose significant ecological and economic risk. To manage this, the International Maritime Organisation has developed guidelines for the control and management of ballast water. This is in the form of the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC), which specifies the permissible level of organisms that can be discharged by vessels via their ballast water.

APEM provide all the expertise, equipment and logistical solutions required to conduct sample collection and laboratory analysis to ensure vessels are compliant with this legislation. Our partnerships provide an international network of laboratories, field teams and scientists to deliver the sampling and analysis of ballast water on a worldwide scale. We also offer advice on managing ballast water and controlling the risks of invasive species.

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Invasive non-native species

APEM deliver high quality analysis of marine and freshwater ballast water for microbial composition, phytoplankton and zooplankton communities, including the identification of non-native species. We provide reporting on the analysis to the BWMC’s Regulation D-2 standards, based on specified numbers or organisms recorded per unit volume. Viability results are returned as standard.

Discover more about invasive non-native species.

Microscope close-up of copepoda

Data analysis and implication assessments

Many non-native species are thought to have been introduced via release of ballast waters. Our marine taxonomists have the knowledge, expertise and experience required to detect recently arrived non-native species and several members of the APEM team have published papers on invasive species and new UK invasions.

APEM’s team of taxonomists are recognised as experts in their fields, analysing thousands of samples each year from locations around the world, providing robust scientific data.

Biofouling assessments

The build-up of organisms on submerged structures (e.g. ship hulls, floating pontoons in marinas) not only adds significant weight and drag to the structures but can facilitate the spread of non-native species.

Whilst fouling of ships’ hulls may facilitate spread of organisms across stationary structures in oceans (e.g. wind turbines, oil rigs, buoys, piers and jetties), at a finer scale, fouling of hulls can also facilitate localised spread of invasive species within a region (e.g. within a harbour). Stationary structures can provide a ‘stepping-stone’ for organisms where otherwise no suitable substrates would occur, and where distance would otherwise prevent spread.

APEM have significant experience in assessing fouling communities with the purpose of detecting non-native species and assessing the threat they pose of introducing non-native species.

We plan and execute surveys tailored to fouling communities and the species likely to pose the greatest threats. Rapid assessment surveys are used to detect those species easily identified in the field, whilst laboratory analysis of samples from surface scrapes or settlement panels at one of APEM’s laboratories enables detection of smaller organisms that may not be evident on site.

We interpret the information in the context of local and international guidelines as well as knowledge of the recipient environment. The results are used to determine the risk posed by the vessel/structure and enable us to offer advice on suitable management options or preventative measures.

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