Ballast loading is necessary to stabilize ships at sea. To this end, water is collected in special ballast tanks before departure from the port. This reduces the load on the hull, provides lateral stability, improves propulsion and maneuverability and compensates for weight changes at different load levels and due to fuel and water consumption. Large tankers can carry in excess of 200,000 m3 of ballast water. When pumping up ballast water, local marine organisms will inevitably also be included and probably also some sediment with adsorbed marine organisms.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing for public comment a proposed rule under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act that would establish national standards of performance for marine pollution
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