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The introduction of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens transferred through ships' ballast water and sediments from one coastal region to another has ecological, economic, environmental, and human impacts. The international community, through numerous binding and non-binding instruments, also sought to combat this problem. Ultimately, the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 was adopted by the International Maritime Organization as the dedicated legal regime intended to prevent, control and ultimately eradicate the introduction and spread of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens through ships' ballast water and sediments. By its Regulations, the Convention sets out coastal/port and flag State obligations along with subsequently adopted technical Guidelines by which to implement it. Despite the importance of this problem, the Convention has not entered into force. This study assesses the potential of the Convention to promote achievement of the goal to prevent and eliminate this source of marine and biodiversity degradation and destruction. The study finds that the Convention constitutes a useful global legal regime within which steps can be taken to establish uniform ground rules, standards and practices to combat the introduction, transfer and spread of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens across the world's coastal and marine areas. Nevertheless, its potential is undermined, among others, by the exemption of some categories of ships from its application, financial costs, especially to developing States, of implementing its requirements, and by the fact that its provisions do not account for other salient sources by which harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens are spread. Suggestions are made to encourage more ratification to bring the Convention into force and on remedying some of the weaknesses in the formulation of its rules.