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Recent News

  • ACT/MERC develop protocols for evaluating the performance and safety of a proactive in-water cleaning systems.View
    • MERC releases report on Use of Dredged Material to Protect Low-Lying Areas of the Chesapeake Bay.View
      • MERC releases first evaluation report on the performance of an in-water cleaning and capture systems.View
        • MERC is partnering with the Alliance for Coastal Technologies, and several other partners, to evaluate the performance of instruments to measure total residual oxidants in ship’s ballast water. For more information please visit
        • MERC Maritime Environmental Resource Center will no longer conduct Type Approval Certification testing of ballast water management systems. View
        • ACT/MERC release an RFT for Evaluation of Ship In-Water Cleaning Technologies View
        • MERC is partnering with the Alliance for Coastal Technologies, and several other partners, to evaluate the performance of variable fluorescence fluorometers for use in compliance monitoring of ballast water discharge. For more information please visit
        • Green Business Is Good Business - See how the Port of Baltimore is committed to environmental and sustainable practices.View
        • MERC is helping to identify approaches to control the invasive hydroid, Garveia franciscana, on cooling pipes of Constellation Energy's Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant.  In addition to a better understanding of species life history, biology, ecology and physiology, MERC will be exploring mechanical cleaning, pipe coating, and water treatment options to reduce the significant impacts Garveia is having on power plant operations.
        • As part of the NSF International, US Coast Guard-approved, Independent Laboratory for certification testing of BWMSs, MERC participated in a webinar on the IL testing and the US Type Approval Certification process.  Further information and PowerPoint presentations can be found hereView
        • MERC is an Associate Supporter of the 2013 Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS).  The World Ocean Council's second SOS will be held in Washington D.C. to further advance leadership and collaboration among the diverse ocean business community in addressing marine environment and sustainability challenges.
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        • MERC has partnered with NSF International, Great Ships Initiative and Retlif Testing Laboratories to become the first US Coast Guard approved Independent Laboratory for the evaluation, inspection, and testing of ballast water management systems.
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        • With support from the US Maritime Administration, MERC is partnering with the Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) to examine fluorometers as tools for compliance monitoring of US Coast Guard and EPA regulations to prevent the introductions of non-native species from ship discharges of ballast water.  A summary report on the initial workshop addressing this topic can be downloaded here.
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        • MERC collaborates with PML to strengthen Ballast Water Services

          Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) Applications Ltd in the United Kingdom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the MERC to focus on providing ballast water technology developers/vendors with facilities and expertise for developing, evaluating and validating ballast water treatment systems. The organizations provide a complimentary service where MERC focuses on independent testing and validation of treatment systems and PML Applications Ltd provides pre-validation development support.


        • MERC fetured in AP Story; Cargo ships discharge thousands of gallons of ballast water containing millions of non-native species in global ports. A barge in Baltimore harbor brings business and environmentalists together to fight this potential environmental disaster.



          MERC research, and the Mobile Ballast Water Treatment Test Platform, are featured in the May 11 2012 issue of Science magazine.








          MERC is partnering with NOAA Marine Operations Center on treatment testing in Norfolk, VA.

          The NOAA Marine Operations Center-Atlantic (MOC-A, serves as a homeport for four NOAA research and survey ships and provides administrative, engineering, maintenance and logistical support to NOAA's Atlantic fleet.  MOC-A has agreed to allow the MERC Mobile Test Platform to use their dock facilities for ballast water treatment system testing in higher salinity waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay.  NOAA also contributed to the establishment of the MERC Mobile Test Platform by covering the costs of the onboard science van, under an RDTE Facility award.

        • MERC featured in a CBS Smart Planet story on Globe-trotting hitchhikers: invasive species assault U.S. waters.
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        • MERC Director featured in WAMU environmental story on Invasive Species Hitch A Ride... And Harm Our Waters
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        • MERC dedicates its new Mobile Ballast Water Treatment Test Platform.


        • MERC Environmental Economist, Dr. Dennis King, publishes a short article in Sustainable Shipping on "The world can afford sustainable shipping".
        • MERC Environmental Economist, Dr. Dennis King, publishes a short article in Sustainable Shipping on "Kick-starting Ballast Water Treatment Markets".
        • MERC Environmental Economist, Dr. Dennis King, publishes a short article in Sustainable Shipping on "Gaming" Ballast Water Treatment Markets.
        • Ship's experiments look for ways to prevent foreign stowaway

          Most days, the Cape Washington sits in Baltimore's harbor, looking majestic as the sun hits its gunmetal-gray exterior. Inside, the 700-foot ship resembles a giant parking garage, although the ramps built to withstand the weight of Humvees and tanks are empty. A drill rumbles in the background, and the faint smell of fresh paint wafts from the walls. The Cape more here.

        • MERC featured in PBS 2010 documentary entitled Fragile Waters.

          Fragile Waterways travels to neighborhoods in Brooklyn, NY, the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes and Long Island to look at the challenges communities are facing as they clean up, restore and protect their lakes, canals, rivers, and the water they drink.

        • MERC releases the third in a series of reports on the performance of ballast water treatment systems.

          The Severn Trent De Nora BP-1000 Ballast Water Management System, which utilizes filtration and electrochlorination, was tested onboard the M/V Cape Washington in the fall of 2009.  All MERC Test Plans and Final Reports can be found here.

        • MERC set to start construction of a new mobile test platform.

          Because MERC is located on the Chesapeake Bay, it offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the performance of ballast water treatment systems under a variety of challenging environmental conditions.  Utilizing a mobile testing platform, MERC will have the capability to test systems in different seasons to capture temperature effects on system performance and in different locations within the Bay to capture impacts of varying salinities as required by both International and U.S. guidelines and standards.  The Chesapeake Bay also offers waters with naturally abundant, taxonomically diverse, and well-studied planktonic organisms that will allow for the appropriate quantification of system biological efficacy.

          MERC Primary Investigators, Drs. Tamburri and King, publish a paper entitled Verifying Compliance with Ballast Water Discharge Regulations in the journal Ocean Development and International Law.

          U.S. and international rules have been proposed to reduce risks associated with invasive aquatic organisms by requiring that ship's ballast water be treated to kill or remove living organisms and achieve certain standards before being discharged.  Enforcing these rules requires verifying when a discharge violates these standards.  A preliminary comparison of verification systems indicates that mandatory reporting and/or inspecting treatment equipment does not provide an acceptable level of confidence, and that sampling and analyzing enough ballast water to achieve acceptable confidence is prohibitively costly.  The most cost-effective alternatives that achieve acceptable levels of confidence involve indirect measures of ballast water using sensors that indicate whether discharge standards are met.


          MERC is featured again in the January/February 2010 issue of the Maritime Executive, which provides an update on ballast water regulatory issues.

          Read in an Adobe PDF format 1.1mb



          MERC is assisting Maryland Sea Grant and the Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species on a workshop in Baltimore, MD, entitled Aquatic Invasive Species Mid-Atlantic Workshop Vector Management: A Prevention Solution for more information, please visit:



          Treating Ballast Water Could Fight Invasive Species

          Please visit the following link to listen to the full interview;



          Maritime Environmental Resource Center is featured in the January/February issue of the Maritime Executive.

          Read in an Adobe PDF format 1.4mb




          Maritime Environmental Resource Center is featured in the January/February issue of the Maritime Executive.

          Read in an Adobe PDF format 1.2mb



          MERC has selected a suite of technologies for 2009 testing.

          Complete Land-Based Testing of MSI Filtration + UV system (March/April 2009)
          Laboratory toxicological evaluations of a ballast water algaecide (March/April 2009)
          Land-Based Testing of Siemens SiCURE BWMS (May/June 2009)
          Land-Based Testing of Severn Trent De Nora BalPure system (August/September 2009)
          Shipboard Testing of Severn Trent De Nora BalPure system (Spring through end of 2009)
          Evaluations of ballast water specific filter systems (fall 2009 – 2010)

          For more information, contact

          MERC patners with NOAA

          MERC proposal to the 2008 NOAA Ballast Water Management Demonstration Program's RDTE Facility competition received very favorable reviews and was selected for funding. Through the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, MERC has entered into a Cooperative Agreement with NOAA to work with MARAD on converting a barge into a Chesapeake Bay mobile test platform. Initial design for the barge retrofit has been completed, and we plan to bring it online before the end of 2009.

          MERC MERC Economic Assessments

          Dennis King and his team have initiated economic analyses of alternative ballast water treatment systems, focusing on the cost of installing and using alternative treatment systems aboard various types and sizes of ships operating along major trade routes. MERC is looking at the full range of equipment acquisition and installation costs as well as expected increases in ship operating costs associated with energy and manpower usage, maintenance and servicing, and so on. Our preliminary assessments of the full costs of using various ballast water treatment systems aboard most types/sizes of ships will be complete in the fall of 2009.

          MERC Partners with ABS

          The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has contracted MERC to help review, consolidate, and develop an online, searchable matrix of ship discharge regulations for the marine industry. The primary objective of this resource is to disseminate up-to-date environmental regulations to marine vessel operators, owners, and crews. The online matrix will provide end users with the ability to investigate a range of environmental compliance issues that are globally, regionally, and port specific. Some of the many benefits of making this information easily accessible and accurate include the prevention of unnecessary environmental degradation, regulation infractions, and insurance premiums. The initial database should be available to the public before the end of 2008. Please visit ABS ( and MERC ( over the next few months for more information.

          Congressman Cummings officially launches the Maritime Environmental Resource Center (MERC)

          Congressman Cummings (D-Md.), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, joined the U.S. Maritime Administration, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Port Administration, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science to announce the kick-off of the Maritime Environmental Resource Center.

          Full press release in a PDF format;