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Article Restricted

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Harmful Algae

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The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations body which administers the international regulatory regime for shipping, noted the negative impact of non-indigenous organisms transported in the ballast water of ships already in the early 1970s. Consequently, measures were taken with the aim to minimize ballast water mediated species invasions through IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) Resolutions. As a result of long-term IMO efforts, it was determined that an international convention would best meet the needs of the global community, hence the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments was adopted in a Diplomatic Conference in 2004 and is now open for signature by IMO Member States. This very complex (and by no means “simple”) Convention aims to reduce the transfer and subsequent impact of aquatic organisms in the ballast water and sediment of ships by acting to reduce the load of these organisms in discharged ballast water. A set of 15 guidelines provides technical guidance for the implementation of the Convention principles. This review considers critical aspects of this Convention and selected guidelines seen from perspectives of biological, shipping and regulatory concerns.