The Maritime Environmental Resource Center (MERC) announced that after years of efforts to ensure scientifically-sound and transparent ballast water management systems certification testing, it will stop conducting Type Approval Certification testing of BWMS.
In this decision led the lack of an appropriate standardized approach and sufficient oversight in the implementation of ballast water regulations, facts that are undermining the goal of national and international policies to prevent the introduction of environmentally and economically destructive invasive species.
“MERC has a deep understanding of the complexities and challenges associated with testing ballast water management systems against specific discharge standards. While perfection is unrealistic, it is possible to be rigorous, consistent, and transparent when testing BWMSs, which is necessary for the regulations to succeed,” said Dr. Mario Tamburri, Director of MERC and UMCES Research Professor.
Deficiencies in both the IMO G8 Guidelines and the USCG Independent Laboratory certification testing process created significant uncertainties about the quality and value of test results.
“UMCES’ scientific integrity and reputation for providing advice for science-based decision making is of the utmost importance. Therefore, under the current regulations, which do not significantly reduce the threat of some invasive species, MERC can no longer conduct BWMS certification testing,” noted UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory Director Dr. Thomas Miller.
UMCES is a research and educational institution working to understand and manage the world‘s natural resources and pursues solutions to improve people‘s lives and the environment.
As part of UMCES, MERC will still lead a range of fundamental research and technology-based solutions to address maritime environmental challenges, including areas of ballast water compliance monitoring tools, in-water cleaning technologies to remove and capture vessel biofouling and broader areas of sustainable urban estuary research and education.
In addition, MERC will complete the testing for which it is currently contracted, but will suspend all future testing of BWMSs.
Lastly, it will remain committed to contributing in future efforts for the revision of the process for certification of BWMSs at a national and international level, in order to improve the current BWMS test methods.