Ballast water management systems (BWMS) manufacturers now have the opportunity to obtain German and U.S. type approvals from a single test

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF International, the first Independent Laboratory (IL) designated by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) to evaluate and test ballast water management systems (BWMS) for U.S. type approval, can now provide BWMS testing to Germany’s Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH)) requirements, which are based on International Maritime Organization (IMO) Guidelines. BWMS manufacturers may now submit for required type approvals to NSF International IL and in parallel to BSH using the same set of test data. This will reduce test costs and approval time and allow ships to navigate to U.S. and international shipping destinations.

USCG type approval of onboard BWMS is required for vessels entering and discharging treated ballast water in U.S waters to prevent the spread of non-native aquatic species in lakes, rivers and coastal waters. Additionally, the national type approvals for Germany offered through BSH meet the IMO requirements for ships throughout the rest of the world.

“This agreement with Germany’s BSH provides manufacturers a more economical and streamlined process for achieving two key BWMS type approvals in the industry. The BSH is key to making our program even more advantageous to ballast water management systems manufacturers. The combined capabilities of our IL partners are without parallel in the maritime testing and certification field,” stated Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF International’s Sustainability Division, which manages the NSF International IL.

“The NSF International IL and partners have the technical and scientific capabilities necessary to provide high quality evaluations of ballast water management systems to both U.S. and international requirements, which will provide additional benefits to manufacturers and eventually ship owners who need approved systems in both U.S. and international waters,” said Monika Breuch-Moritz, President of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency.

NSF International IL Partnership

NSF International’s IL partnership, formed in 2012, includes Retlif Testing Laboratories, Curtis-Straus Bureau Veritas, the Great Ships Initiative, the Maritime Environmental Resource Center and the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). As a USCG-approved IL, NSF International coordinates testing among all partner organizations, including oversight of the testing, review of test data (technical and quality assurance) and preparation of the final report for submittal to the USCG and BSH.

For more information on the NSF International BWMS testing program, please contact Tom Stevens, Technical Manager, at +1 734-769-5347 or

Editor's note: To schedule an interview with NSF Sustainability Technical Manager Tom Stevens, contact Kelly Ingerly at or +1 734-827-6850.

About NSF International: NSF International is an independent organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment ( Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF International is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Water and Indoor Quality and Food Safety.

NSF led the development of the American National Standards for all materials and products that treat or come in contact with drinking water. In 1990, the U.S. EPA replaced its own drinking water product advisory program with these NSF standards. Today, most major plumbing codes require certification to NSF standards for pipes and plumbing components in commercial and residential buildings. NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality management systems to help companies create more sustainable products, operations, systems and supply chains.

About Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH): German federal authority based in Hamburg and Rostock. The agency's tasks include maritime safety and security, hydrographic survey, maritime pollution monitoring, warning services such as tide predictions and water level, monitoring indicators of climate and environmental change, a geospatial database, and environmental protection in maritime transport, including ballast water management system type approval. The BSH is the German maritime authority which by implementing international conventions relating to shipping helps protect the marine environment. Type approval of ballast water treatment systems is one of those programs.

Kelly Ingerly
Communications Specialist, NSF International
Phone: +1 734-827-6850

Susanne Kehrhahn-Eyrich
Head of Press and Public Relations, BSH Tel.: +49 (0)40-3190-1010