This move comes after Belgium decided to start testing vessels calling at its ports and terminals to make sure they can demonstrate compliance with the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC), representing one of the first European nations to enforce this mandate.

Namely, Chelsea Technologies’ FastBallast portable ballast water analyser has been chosen to conduct spot checks on indicative sampling of vessels arriving into any Belgian port.

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FastBallast uses a statistical method to generate an estimate of cell density that is independent of an assumed level of fluorescence per cell. It also conducts sampling based on the Poisson distribution theory which aims to ensure a true analysis of the ballast water sample, providing a pass/fail response in under 10 minutes.

Dr Brian Phillips, Executive Chairman of Chelsea Technologies, commented that an accurate testing limits the risk of any ambiguity over results, possible fines, delays and reputational damage as well as protecting the environment by preventing the spread of invasive aquatic species.

He also added that:

Allied to this, confidence in the accuracy of ballast water treatment systems is essential to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, as inaccurate testing and false readings could lead to delays with port state control and potentially significant fines, risking reputational damage, as well as the impact of non-compliant discharges on the environment