To minimize the potential for pollution resulting from oil, chemical, heavy metals and transfer of non-native aquatic organisms and pathogens which may be contained within ships ballast water and associated sediments, Marine Services, operates a stringent policy on the control and management of ships' ballast water; to provide protection for the important marine environment and the rich natural marine biodiversity within Scapa Flow.

The policy applies to all vessels over 400 gt within or using Scapa Flow Harbour Area. These port procedures are in accordance with and enhance on the International Maritime Organization’s Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediment as agreed in 2004 and ratified in September 2016.


The discharge of a ship's ballast water whilst within Scapa Flow as defined by the harbour limits is prohibited unless in accordance with the policy as adopted by Orkney Islands Council on 29 November 2017, which is as follows:


All vessels must comply, as necessary, with the adopted Policy as stated in the Vessels section of this web site. The Policy will be enforced without exception using a combination of working with Shipping Agents, Vessel Owners, Vessel Operators and the Vessel’s Officers and Crew.

All necessary forms must be in place and completed to the satisfaction of the Harbour Authority before permission to discharge ballast water into Scapa Flow is given.


In addition a Ballast Water Exchange Certificate must be submitted containing all ship's details, and a full record of ballast water exchange must be submitted before entering the Harbour Area. This Certificate must be in accordance with the vessel’s International Ballast Water Certificate – as per the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention 2004 (and amendments), in particular Resolution MEPC.124 (53) Guidelines for ballast water exchange (G6) adopted on 22 July 2005.

If the vessel is fitted with a ballast water treatment system the Harbour Authority should be supplied with copies of ship details, type of treatment system and certification of the same, and as necessary the latest survey date of the treatment system.


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