Sea-going ships take up ballast water into so-called ballast water tanks or discharge it in order to ensure sufficient stability of the ship. With this ballast water, organisms can get into the tanks during uptake and are released into other marine areas or regions during discharge. There they may not have any natural enemies and may cause economic damage, as well as disturb the ecological balance. For this reason, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted the Ballast Water Management Convention. Among other things, it requires that ballast water may only be discharged if certain limit values or specifications are complied with.
In Germany, the BSH is responsible for the national implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention and the approval of Ballast Water Management Systems.