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Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology

KIOST Designated as Independent Laboratory Authorized to Perform US Approval Tests for BWMS

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  • Date : 2019-03-19
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On February 15, 2019, the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) was designated as the sixth United States Coast Guard independent laboratory (USCG IL1), which are authorized to perform US approval tests for ballast water management systems (BWMS2).
1) USCG IL (United States Coast Guard independent laboratory): an independent testing agency authorized to conduct performance testing for ballast water treatment systems installed on ships navigating along US coasts on behalf of the US Coast Guard
 2) BWMS (ballast water management system): a facility for destroying and discharging biological and pathogenic bacteria in ballast water in accordance with international standards


The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the Ballast Water Management Convention in 2004 to prevent the destruction of marine ecosystems by the transboundary movement of foreign marine life contained in ballast water. Accordingly, ships built after September 2017 are required to install a BWMS that has been approved by the IMO and their respective governments, and ships built prior to 2017 are required install a BWMS between 2019 to 2024.
Apart from the IMO convention, the United States has enacted and implemented a federal law that allows only vessels equipped with BWMS approved by the US Coast Guard to discharge their ballast water in American territorial waters in order to protect the marine environment. This US approval can be issued by independent laboratories (USCG IL) certified by the United States Coast Guard.
It is estimated that about 64,000 ships worldwide will have a BWMS installed by 2024, about 50,000 of which were built before 2017. As a result, the size of the global market for BWMS, based only on the number of vessels requiring BWMS installation by 2024, is estimated to be about KRW 47 trillion.
In order for our BWMS, which makes use of active substances manufactured in Korea, to be approved, the BWMS must gain the approval (G9) of the IMO and then pass a test conducted by a Korean testing agency licensed to issue Korean government approval (G8) in accordance with the IMO guidelines.

 * The IMO’s BWMS approvals are divided into G8 approval and G9 approval.
 “Active substance” refers to a substance or organism that is used to process harmful aquatic organisms.
G9: an environmental assessment conducted to prevent secondary pollution from active substances
G8: a guideline for approval by the government of each country (and according to which the Korean government certifies government approval)


In 2007, KIOST was designated as the first testing agency in Korea for BWMS approval and carried out tests at a land-based facility and onboard ships to gain government approval (G8) until 2012. Subsequently, with the support of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, KIOST was able to establish its own land-based facility, helping it be designated as a USCG IL in Korea in 2013. Since then, the institute has been playing a leading role, performing quality control for government-approved testing agencies.
 Especially in the certification of USCG IL, KIOST was recognized as the only laboratory equipped with onshore and onboard testing personnel and onshore testing facilities as well as a USCG IL responsible for testing for both US and Korean approval.
President Kim Woong-seo said, “As BWMS must be installed on all international ships by 2024, more Korean BWMS companies are expected to apply for the US approval test, and our designation as a USCG IL can resolve any bottlenecks that may arise. KIOST, which has the best BWMS and testing capability in Korea, will cooperate with relevant organizations to solve the difficulties of domestic companies.”



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Last Update : 2020-03-07