2017 has been a busy year for the marine sector, especially in regard to Ballast Water Management Plans. The long-awaited ratification and adoption of new regulations has led to a significant number of operators ordering and installing new systems, to the point where suppliers are struggling to cope. Now the clock is ticking on those who are yet to become compliant.
A viable ballast water management plan has to incorporate a number of aspects, including:
- Rules and regulations which cover international and local port stipulations
- Clear indication of the duties of each relevant crew member
- Full operational procedures
- Information about sampling points and treatment methods
Non-compliance can be damaging and expensive
For owners and operators, the responsibilities are clear. Failure to comply with the regulations can lead to severe punishments for both individuals and organisations, so it’s vital for everyone concerned to know their responsibilities. This is an issue that has been coming for several years, and now that it’s arrived it won’t be going away.
After a number of high profile ecological disasters as a result of unregulated ballast water discharges, there was a realisation that something had to be done. In 1991, a form of cholera that had only been present in Bangladesh was released in Peru in the days before ships had an effective ballast water management plan. Many thousands were killed as a result.
Cross-contamination has become a global problem
The relocation of zebra mussels from the Caspian Sea to the Great Lakes in the USA has caused extensive damage to the local ecosystem, while similar stories have affected areas such as Australia, South-East Asia and the Mediterranean. Strong, reliable and accountable action was required, and this need has led to the adoption of new international regulations.
One of the most important aspects of every ballast water management plan will be the need for accurate record-keeping. The exchange of ballast water is obviously the crucial part of the process, and the one that can do the most damage, so it’s vital for information to be reliable. Among the data that needs to be recorded will be the date, the location of the vessel, salinity and temperature levels and the amount of water involved. Now, more than ever, our high quality eazy Ballast Water Test Kit is a must-have, because the exchange not only needs to be safe, it also has to be seen to be safe.