Biological Commissioning

Check with your classification bureau to see which laboratories are approved by them. Only laboratories that are approved by your classification bureau are eligible to perform Biological Commissioning Tests. 

The ship owner needs to apply for this document at the administrationthat the vessel is sailing under. A Ballast Water Management Plan and a copy of the report showing that the results from the Biological Commissioning test have met D-2 standards needs to be provided. 

A Ballast Water Management Plan is a vessel specific plan in which operations and measures are described and needs to be approved by class. 

A Biological Commissioning test is a test where samples are collected from the BWTS after Technical Commissioning. The test is done to make sure that the system is working. 

Depending on your IOPP and the flag the vessel is sailing under. Some flags already require mandatory Biological Commissioning testing, others require this as of the 1st of June 2022. All vessels must comply on the 8th of September 2024 

The ship owner is responsible to arrange for the Biological Commissioning test to be conducted. An approved laboratory is responsible for taking the samples and analyzing them. 

In most cases the D-2 Commissioning test lies within the responsibility of shipowners.

It is mandatory, by law, to have a Biological Commissioning test conducted after the BWTS is technically commissioned. 


This depends on whether you are planning to discharge any bilge, gray, ballast or scrubberwash –water when in USA´s waters. If yes, then you have to show that your discharged effluent does not exceed the VGP set limits. 

The US EPA requires vessels to test the ballast water twice per year. Unless the sampling results are within permit limits for two consecutive events. In that case, monitoring may be reduced to one time per year.

In 2022 the VGP will be replaced by the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA). Although the expectation is that this will be very similar to the present VGP, it is not sure yet how this exactly will look like in terms of sampling and analyses and intervals.

Vessels sailing on the USA have to comply with the regulations for the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP). This will be replaced by the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) in the near future. 

VGP testing stands for Vessel General Permit. It is American legislation for discharge standards for Oily water separators (Bilge), Gray water, Ballast water systems and Scrubber installations. 

 MEA-nl can conduct analyses on your ballast water, grey water, bilge water and scrubber wash water in the Le Havre – Hamburg range.

The USA have created discharge standards to keep their coastal waters clean, therefore all vessels sailing to USA waters must show that they do not exceed the limits as described in the VGP legislation. 

Research and Development

Water treatment installations often start with a bright idea. The silver bullet for all types of water is still not there. In our workshop and lab, we can conduct in mutual consultation bench-scale tests on components and complete installations, including filtration techniques. This enables you to convince yourself that every step has the desired effect. Finally, full-scale tests can be conducted on board our Floating Test Facility.

Type Approval

Like a new type of car before it is introduced in the market, Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) have to be granted a Type Approval (TA) before being installed on-board of a ship. The global (IMO) and US regulations (ETV) contain the regulations and conditions for such granting.

Compliance Tests

Often, it can be appropriate to test the BWMS on a number of parameters in order to identify whether it works properly. Although the BWMS should have Type Approval, further tuning should be helpful after installation to avoid undue delays.

Ballast Water

The Code for approval of ballast water management systems (BWMS Code) will take effect on 13 October 2019. From that date on, BWMS have to be tested in accordance with the Code, where previously there were only Guidelines for testing purposes. BWMS approved before 28 October 2018 may be installed before 28-October 2020.

Some BWMS may require updates on the tests they have conducted so far. On a number of occasions, we have conducted gap analyses and identified which additional tests have to be conducted to bridge the gap.

Test should be undertaken under the supervision of a national administration. MEA-nl has worked with many national administrations, such as the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, China and others.