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  • The BTI Team

Ship Ballast

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Ballast is an essential component of ships, as it helps to provide balance, strength and stability to the vessel. The purpose of ship ballast is to add weight to the lower part of the vessel, which helps to lower the center of gravity. Ship ballast is an important safety feature for all vessels, as it helps to ensure that it remains upright during extreme weather conditions. This is especially important for smaller vessels, which are more susceptible to capsizing or rolling over in rough seas or high winds.There are several types of ballast used in ships.

  • Solid ballast is typically made of dense materials.

  • Liquid ballast, which is often seawater that is pumped into ballast tanks located in the lower part of the vessel.

  • Some modern ships also use air-filled ballast tanks, which can be filled or emptied to adjust the weight and stability of the vessel.

Some types of ship ballast can have a negative environmental impact. For instance, water ballast can carry invasive species from one part of the world to another. This is because ballast water can inadvertently transplant plants, animals, and microorganisms when the ballast water is discharged in a new location.

Lead ship ballast can also have negative environmental effects. Lead is a toxic heavy metal that can cause serious health and environmental problems if it is released into the environment. If lead ballast is not properly handled and disposed of, it can contaminate soil and water. To avoid corrosion issues due to lead, ships often need to install expensive cathodic protection.


Lead also poses an acute risk to human health. Handling lead requires extensive personal protective equipment including the use of half mask respirators. To address these concerns, some countries have banned the use of lead ship ballast altogether, and require ships to use alternative ballast materials that are less harmful to the environment.


A proactive and economical way to remove the aforementioned environmental impacts is to install ship ballast that is environmentally safe and non-toxic. For over 35 years, Ballast Technologies, Inc. has been the world's premier permanent ship ballast supply and installation contractor. BTI’s Perma Ballast® uses only non-toxic, chemically inert, and environmentally safe material.



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