Joint decision support tool on alien species introductions via Ballast Water


This decision support tool was adopted in 2013 (and subsequent amendments endorsed in 2015) by the coastal countries of the Baltic Sea and North-East Atlantic regions as part (chapter 6) of the joint harmonized procedure on granting exemptions from ballast water treatment provisions of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The tool comprises a database on observations of alien species and physical features in ports, a list of target alien species, a list of all marine alien species observed in port surveys in the region and an agreed risk assessment model. It will allow administrations and ship owners to quickly identify routes that may qualify for exemptions to the application of ballast water management for ships (regulation B-3) and those that are unlikely to. The online tool is jointly administered by the HELCOM and OSPAR Secretariats. It was originally developed with funding through the HELCOM ALIENS 2 , ALIENS 3 and BALSAM projects by HELCOM Secretariat and Germany (BSH/Brockmann consult)

The further development of the tool will be supported by the joint task group of the two commissions on Ballast Water Management (HELCOM/OSPAR TG BALLAST), which will follow up the implementation of the “Harmonized Procedure” in general.

To enter the application use “bw_reader” as “user name” and “balwat” as “password”, and you will have right access to consult the available information.


In case you require modification or upload of new port survey data please contact HELCOM Secretariat ( and/or OSPAR Secretariat (

Please note that detailed information on the species recorded in the tool is provided through links to the following databases:
- AquaNIS: Information system on Aquatic non-Indigenous species

- NOBANIS: European Network on Invasive Alien Species

- DAISIE: Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe

- Global Invasive Species Set

- NORSAS: North Sea Alien Species database

- MarLIN: Marine Life Information Network

- GB Non-natives Factsheet Editor: GB Non-natives Factsheet Editor

- WorMS: World Register of Marine Species Taxon Search

- Marine Species Identification Portal.