Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Ballast Water

A globally leading facility for testing ballast water treatment systems

NIOZ has long been a globally leading facility for testing ballast water treatment systems (BWTS). Control Union Water is a newly created spin-out company for commercial BWTS certification.

Control Union Water, with laboratories on Texel, performs commercial testing activities for the certification of ballast water treatment systems (BWTS). Control Union Water is a joint venture of NIOZ and Control Union, which offers inspection services on a global level.

Ballast water & invasive species

Vessels all over the world load their ballast tanks with surface water to optimise their stability, navigability and safety. An estimated annual volume of five to ten billion tons of ballast water is moved around the globe.

Ballast water is pumped into special ballast tanks, including local sediment particles and an enormous variety of planktonic organisms. When transported to other ecosystems there is a risk of severe damage to the receiving ecosystem and non-indigenous organisms developing into a plague.

The GEF-UNDP-IMO Globallast Programme considers the problem of invasive species to be among the major threats to the world’s oceans.

Ballast water treatment systems

As early as 2004, NIOZ started with the land-based testing of BWTS with the purpose of certification of testing procedures. Today NIOZ is among the most experienced BWTS facilities in the world.

Over the past decade, our ballast water research group has developed numerous methods for counting different types and sizes of planktonic organisms. These methods form the basis for the tests required for certification by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the US Coast Guard (USCG).

In 2016, Control Union and NIOZ joined forces to establish a spin-out company to perform commercial ballast water testing activities for the certification of BWTS. The resulting Control Union Water B.V. has her laboratories on Texel.

USCG Type Approval

Control Union was accepted as an Independent Laboratory (IL) by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in 2015. Control Union offers BWTS certification under USCG Type Approval. Demand for these approved systems is high, due to strict legislation and regulation and the limited number of accepted laboratories.

Control Union Water provides USCG test services as per the request of the USCG consortium. Besides Control Union and NIOZ, the USCG consortium consists of Wageningen Marine Research, GoConsult, Dr. Matej David Consult, and TNO.

The USCG consortium also provides IMO test services under the requirements of the IMO G8 and G9 Guidelines.

More information

For more information, please contact Dr. Louis Peperzak (T: +31 (0)222 369 512) or Mr. Cees van Slooten (T: +31 (0) 38 4260116)

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