Technical Circular No: 054/2021

Subject: Requirements for engaging Approved Firms for Commissioning Test of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS).

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1. Amendments to Regulation E-1 of the BWM Convention were adopted at MEPC 75 vide resolution MEPC.325(75), which require a commissioning test at the time of initial/additional survey upon installation of BWMS. Although the amendments will enter into force on 1 June 2022, based on MEPC’s suggestion to consider the application of the amendments as soon as possible, many Flag Administrations have already made commissioning test mandatory at the time of initial/additional survey upon installation of BWMS.

2. Commissioning test is to be conducted in accordance with 2020 Guidance for the commissioning testing of ballast water management systems (BWM.2/Circ.70/Rev.1), as may be amended. The purpose of commissioning testing is to validate the installation of a ballast water management system (BWMS) by demonstrating that its mechanical, physical, chemical and biological processes are working properly.

3. As per IACS UR Z17, Rev.16 which will be effective from 1st January 2022, firms engaged in Commissioning Testing of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS), are to be approved by Classification Society.

4. Service Suppliers are required to have a quality management system complying with the most current version of ISO 9000 series and be accredited to relevant standards such as ISO/IEC 17025 or equivalent.

5. Service Suppliers are to be independent of the BWMS manufacturer or supplier including shipyards.

6. Service suppliers are to have documented procedures for sampling collection and handling, analysis, assessment of BWMS correct operations and documenting and reporting.

7. Testing is to be conducted using indicative analysis equipment acceptable to IRS. For indicative analysis equipment planned to be used, the equipment OEM instruction manuals are to be available.

8. Sampling & Analysis: Sampling is to be carried out in accordance with BWM.2/Circ.42/Rev.2 (G2 Guidelines). The representative samples are to be analyzed as a minimum for the two size classes of organisms, namely ≥ 50 μm and ≥ 10 μm to < 50 μm, specified in IMO Circular BWM.2/ Circ.70/Rev.1 - Guidance for the Commissioning Testing of Ballast Water Management Systems using indicative analysis methods. Detailed analysis of all organism type/size classes or combination of detail and indicative analysis can also be performed.

9. Operators who conduct commissioning testing are to:

  • demonstrate knowledge in the use of different ballast water testing equipment for the purpose of assessing biological efficacy;
  • have documented evidence of sufficient engineering and biological knowledge to conduct the commissioning testing
  • have knowledge of IMO BWM.2/Circ.70/Rev.1 and BWM.2/Circ.42/Rev.2 as may be amended
  • be trained in the proper use of portable indicative analysis equipment.
  • be familiar with the technologies utilized by the indicative sampling equipment and understand water quality issues.
  • be trained in the proper disposal procedures for water samples following testing
  • have knowledge of the system design limitations of the BWMS
  • have the procedures and knowledge to be able to assess the applicable self-monitoring parameters

10. Upon satisfactory verification of compliance to the requirements of IACS UR Z17, the service supplier will be issued with a Certificate of Approval.

11. In view of the above requirements, shipowners are advised to engage approved service supplier firms for Commissioning Testing of Ballast Water Management Systems.

12. Firms interested in providing the service for Commissioning Testing of Ballast Water Management Systems are advised to contact us at for further information regarding the approval process.



This Technical Circular and the material contained in it is provided only for the purpose of supplying current information to the reader and not as an advice to be relied upon by any person. While we have taken utmost care to be as factual as possible, readers/ users are advised to verify the exact text and content of the Regulation from the original source/ issuing Authority. 

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