NBIC Frequently Asked Questions

Filling out the Ballast Water Management Reporting Form

General Questions

  1. How do I know if my BWMR is a Corrected report (formerly called and Amended report)?
  2. What is meant by alternative management?
  3. Can I report my ballast water volumes in gallons?
  4. Should I include my unpumpable ballast water on the reporting form?

Section 5: Ballast Water History

  1. I did not discharge some of my tanks in the arrival port, but instead in another location(s). Should I still list them in in the Ballast Water History table?
  2. Can I report multiple tanks on a single line in the Ballast Water History table?
  3. What do I enter if I filled my ballast tanks mid-ocean?
  4. Can I enter a port name as the endpoint for my ballast water exchange?
  5. How do I report a tank filled at more than one location (multi-sourced)?


Submitting the Ballast Water Management Reporting Form

General Questions

  1. What is the pre-arrival ballast water reporting deadline?
  2. Do I have to report to NBIC when arriving to a non-U.S. port?
  3. Do I have to report to NBIC every time I cross a Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone?
  4. I don't know how many tanks I will discharge yet, but I have to report now in order to meet the 24 hr advance deadline (only arrivals to Great Lakes or Hudson River). What should I do?
  5. I sent in my ballast water report using one method (Web App or PDF). Should I also send it using the other method to make sure it gets there?
  6. I submitted a ballast water report to NBIC. Do I still need to submit a report to states such as California, Oregon, or Washington, or other state that has BW reporting regulations?

Electronic Submission

  1. What are the advantages of using the Web App BWMR form?
  2. Which email address should I use to submit ballast water reports or ask questions?
  3. How do I know if I have the latest version of an electronic ballast water reporting form?
  4. What if I cannot submit a report due to inclement weather or technical difficulties?
  5. How do I sign a form that is electronic (i.e., the Web App or the PDF BWMR)?

Filling out the Ballast Water Management Reporting Form

General Questions

1. How do I know if my BWMR is a Corrected report (formerly called an Amended report)?
If the report you are submitting has a correction or a change to information you already submitted on a previous BWMR (including if you are diverted to a different port), then the report is a corrected report and you should choose “Corrected Report” from the pull-down menu in the Report type field, otherwise choose “New report”.

2. What is meant by alternative management?
Alternative management refers to actions other than CG specified BW management options such as Empty-refill exch, Flow-through exch, Onboard treatment, etc. listed in the BW Event pull-down menu.

3. Can I report my ballast water volumes in gallons?
Yes, acceptable ballast water volume units are: cubic meters, metric tons, and gallons. See options associated with Ballast water volume units field.

4. Should I include my unpumpable ballast water on the ballast water reporting form?
If you know the volume of unpumpable water, you should include it in the Total ballast water on board and Number of tanks in ballast fields on the BWMR form.

Section 5: Ballast Water History

5. I did not discharge some of my tanks in the arrival port, but instead in another location(s). Should I still list them in in the Ballast Water History table?
Yes, tanks that were de-ballasted within the coastal waters of the US (12 mi from land) en route to or at the arrival port should be listed in Ballast Water History table.

6. Can I report multiple tanks on a single line in the Ballast Water History table?
No. Each BW tank must be entered separately.

7. What do I enter if I filled my ballast tanks mid-ocean?
If the vessel took on water mid-ocean that was not part of an exchange, it should be specified as a“Source” event in the Ballast Water History table and the endpoint location of that sourcing should be specified. If that water was mixed in the tank with previous water sourced elsewhere, report the tank's ballast sources using the multiple sources rule. See number 9, below.

8.Can I enter a port name as the endpoint for my ballast water exchange?
No. Ballast water exchange endpoints must be listed as latitude/longitude coordinates.

9. How do I report a tank filled at more than one location (multi-sourced)?
For tanks with more than 1 source, use separate BW Event lines for each source listed. For tanks with more than 3 sources, only list the 3 largest sources from the last 30 days on separate lines. All other sources beyond those 3 must be combined on the 4th line with "multiple" written in the Location field.

To accurately record discharge and exchange volumes for tanks that are not discharged ENTIRELY of water, please use the following guidelines:

If a tank has 2 or more sources that were either exchanged or not exchanged, the tanks will need the proportional discharge volumes reported. Add all source volumes  together, and then divide each source volume individually by that total source volume (to get decimal proportions (between 0 and 1)). Once the proportions of the sources are found, take the total discharge volume and multiply by each decimal proportion value to get the final discharge volumes for each tank line. The final discharge volumes should ALWAYS add up to the total discharge volume.

Please make sure also that exchange volumes reflect the same proportional volumes as the sources. Using the above decimal proportions found for the sources, multiply by the total tank volume exchanged to get each line's exchange volume.

Submitting the Ballast Water Management Reporting Form

General Questions

10. What is the pre-arrival ballast water reporting deadline?
Ballast water reports must be submitted prior to arrival in a US port or placeONLY if your ship has operated outside the EEZ and you are bound for 1) the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway or 2) a port or place on the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge. Great Lakes bound traffic must report 24 hrs prior to reaching Montreal and Hudson River bound traffic must report 24 hrs prior to reaching New York, NY. All other arrivals must report to the NBIC no later than 6 hours after arrival at the port or place of destination, or prior to departure from that port or place of destination, whichever is earlier. 

11. Do I have to report to NBIC when arriving to a non-U.S. port?
No. Only report to NBIC upon arrival into a port or place within the waters of the United States of America. Great Lakes bound traffic must report 24 hrs before reaching Montreal, Quebec in the St. Lawrence Seaway (see #9 above).

12. Do I have to report to NBIC every time I cross a Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone?
No. It is not necessary to submit a report each time your vessel crosses into a different COTP zone unless you will be arriving to a U.S. port or place. You must submit a BWMR to NBIC no later than 6 hours after arrival at the port or place of destination, or prior to departure from that port or place of destination, whichever is earlier.

13. I don't know how many tanks I will discharge yet, but I have to report now in order to meet the 24 hr advance deadline (only arrivals to Great Lakes or Hudson River). What should I do?
Fill out and submit a BWMR report with your best estimate of the tanks/volumes you might discharge, selecting “New report” in the Report type field. After arriving to port, submit a second BWMR form describing what actually happened, selecting “Corrected report” in the Report type field. (In the case of the Web App form, submit pre-arrival estimated “New report”, but after arrival, log into your account, choose your pre-arrival report and update as “Corrected form” in the Report type field).

14. I sent in my ballast water report using one method (Web App or PDF). Should I also send it using the other method to make sure it gets there?
NO. Our preference is that you create a free online account with the NBIC that allows you to submit a Web App BWMR, in part because it will provide immediate confirmation that your BWMR has been received. However, a PDF BWMR form is also available at the NBIC web site.

15. I submitted a ballast water report to NBIC. Do I still need to submit a report to states such as California, Oregon, or Washington, or other state that has BW reporting regulations?
Yes. Submitting a report to NBIC does not fulfill state reporting requirements. Likewise, submitting a report to a State Agency does not fulfill the requirement to report to NBIC.

Electronic Submission

16.What are the advantages of using the Web App BWMR form?
The Web App form allows a vessel to create a free account with the NBIC, including a user name with password protection. The Web APP BWMR form has many advantages: 1) it remembers static information (e.g., Vessel Information) and auto-populates fields when the user starts a new report for a vessel. 2) It allows ships to access previously submitted BWMRs and easily edit them to submit a corrected report. 3) Because the Web App connects to the NBIC information system with your Internet Browser, up-to-date information will be accessible to the user via type ahead pull-down menus that will significantly reduce required keystrokes. 4) If new versions of the Web App BWMR form are required, user accounts will be automatically updated with no special requirements by the user.

17. Which email address should I use to submit ballast water reports or ask questions?
nbic@ballastreport.org

18. How do I know if I have the latest version of an electronic ballast water reporting form?
If you have set up a free online account with the NBIC to submit Web App BWMRs, you will automatically be using an up-to-date BWMR form. If you are using the PDF form, the latest version is available at the NBIC website. You may also request a form by emailing NBIC at nbic@ballastreport.org.

19. What if I cannot submit a report due to inclement weather or technical difficulties?
In this case the vessel should transmit the ballast water data to their shipping agent. The agent should then fill out the appropriate BWMR and submit it to NBIC.

20. How do I sign a form that is electronic (i.e., the Web App or the PDF BWMR)?
Fill in the Responsible Officer's name and title field, and make sure that you check the Certificate of accurate information box.

Please make sure that your e-mail provider allows you to receive messages from the address nbic@ballastreport.org.

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