Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

JTG Ballast & Biofouling

The Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Task Group on Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) and Biofouling

The Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Task Group on Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) and Biofouling (JTG Ballast &Biofouling) oversees practical implementation of the Joint Harmonised Procedure for the OSPAR and HELCOM regions on the issue of exemptions in accordance with Regulation A-4 1.4 BWMC (Ballast Water Management Convention, 2004). The group also considers the issues related to compliance control and enforcement of the BWMC and work towards further harmonization of implementing the BWMC. Furthermore, the group considers issues related to biofouling of ships and recreational craft at the regional and inter-regional level. The Task Group held its first meeting in October 2013 and continues meeting annually according to its terms of reference.

Joint efforts in the Baltic Sea and in the North-East Atlantic by HELCOM and OSPAR, respectively, are needed as the two organizations share many member countries and because there is a high level of interdependency between the two regions in terms of traffic links. In addition to the member countries, the shipping industry is also showing great interest in this work.​

A Baltic Sea starting point for this joint work is a guideline document to exemptions, adopted as part of the 2010 HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Moscow, as well as the output of the HELCOM ALIENS 2 and HELCOM ALIENS 3 projects. One of the terms of reference of this Task Group was the jointly development of the “HELCOM-OSPAR Joint Harmonized Procedure for BWMC A-4 exemptions“, to ensure that exemptions are granted in a constant manner that prevents damage to the environment, human health, property or resources, once the BWMC enters into force. The Harmonised Procedure was adopted at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting (3 October 2013) and OSPAR Commission meeting (24-28 June 2013) and subsequently amended in 2015 and 2020 to be aligned with latest developments in the field.

In September 2020, a revised version of the Ballast Water Exemptions Support Tool was released. This improved version of the tool will allow administrations and ship owners to quickly identify routes that may qualify for exemptions to the application of ballast water management for ships (regulation B-3) and those that are unlikely to. 



Mock Employee
Ville-Veikko Intovuori

Co-Chair of JTG Ballast & Biofouling
Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom)
+358 29 534 6642

Mock Employee
Saa Kabuta

Co-Chair of JTG Ballast & Biofouling
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management – the Netherlands

Mock Employee
Markus Helavuori

Professional Secretary
HELCOM Secretariat
+358 40 162 6520

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