Sixty-eight countries have now signed up to International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s Ballast Water Management Convention, with Qatar being the latest to accede to the treaty helping to protect the marine environment.
The signatories now represent more than 75% of the world's merchant fleet tonnage.
Under the treaty, ships are required to manage their ballast water, which can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants and organisms, which are then carried across the globe.
H.E. Mr. Yousef Ali Al-Khater, Ambassador of Qatar to the United Kingdom, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (8 February) to deposit the instrument of accession.
The Ballast Water Management Convention or BWM Convention (full name International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004) is a treaty adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in order to help prevent the spread of potentially harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships' ballast water.
From 8 September 2017, ships must manage their ballast water so that aquatic organisms and pathogens are removed or rendered harmless before the ballast water is released into a new location. This will help prevent the spread of invasive species as well as potentially harmful pathogens.
IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for developing global standards for ship safety and security and for the protection of the marine environment and the atmosphere from any harmful impacts of shipping.