A ship board trial of a deoxygenation method for treating ballast water was carried out during a voyage from Southampton (United Kingdom) to Manzanillo (Panama). A nutrient solution added to two ballast tanks encouraged bacterial growth, resulting in a gradual change to an anoxic environment. Samples were taken from two treated tanks and two untreated tanks to assess changes in the abundance and viability of zooplankton, phytoplankton and bacteria. The work was carried out before the International Maritime Organization (IMO) standard was agreed so only a broad indication of whether the results achieved the standard was given. For the zooplankton, the standard would have been achieved within 5 or 7 days but the phytoplankton results were inconclusive. The biological efficacy was the result of the combination of several factors, including the treatment, pump damage and an increase in the water temperature during the voyage.