Vessel sourced marine pollution is either caused operationally or accidentally. Ship’s ballast water is an example of operational vessel sourced pollution. Ballast water is used to ensure safe operations of the ship throughout a voyage. It also helps in providing stability and balance to unladen ships. Transfer of marine organisms through ships’ ballast water is one of the most crucial issues. Marine organisms that are transported via ships' ballast water to the destination port have a harmful effect on coastal and marine ecology of that port state. Marine organisms grow in their new area, competing with the native species, and may cause the deterioration or extinction of one or more indigenous species, severely disrupting the marine ecosystem. These transferred organisms through ballast water are referred as invasive species. An example of this invasive species is Zebra Mussel.
Ballast water pollution is an imminent danger to a healthy marine environment, it may severely harm the marine ecosystem, species, and human wellbeing. Apart from the human health and environmental degradation, it economically effects the population of the coastal states as their welfare is largely dependent on a sound marine environment. In this way it appears that that the protection and preservation of the marine environment is of vital importance to the entire international community. Hence, this article aims to find out the grey areas in the present International legal framework to govern and regulate ballast water pollution.