More About Marine Pollution due to Ballast Water

In Pollution

Further to my post under ARTICLES, Here is a compilation or articles from IMO and other sources.

Marpol Compliance
 Preventing Oil SpillsOfer Shipping Group main objective is to operate ships in a safe manner while taking into consideration the impact on the environment.

Ofer Shipping Group is aware that accidental oil spills at sea may cause significant harm to the marine environment. Consequently, awareness is continuously being raised among crew and all necessary actions are taken to prevent environmental incidents.

The crew is trained in safe navigation and operation of vessels. Additionally, all operational procedures and contingency plans that deal with emergency situations are under scrutiny and are continuously being improved.

All Ofer Group vessels hold a Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plan (SOPEP). This plan provides guidance to the Master and Officers onboard the ship with respect to the steps that should be taken in the event of a pollution incident, or its likelihood.

Antifouling Paint

Bio-fouling, or biological fouling, is the undesirable accumulation of microorganisms (barnacles, algae) on submerged structures – especially ships’ hulls.

Anti-fouling is the process of removing the accumulation, or preventing its accumulation. Ships’ hulls are painted with anti-fouling paint in order to increase speed and reduce fuel consumption.

In the past, antifouling hull paint contained tributyltin (TBT), a toxic product.

Ofer Shipping began phasing out TBT in 2003 and the entire fleet now uses TBT-free paint; well ahead of the expected January 1st 2008 deadline for compliance of the IMO Antifouling Convention.   Reducing Air Emissions

Ofer Shipping Grpup prioritizes minimizing fuel consumption and air emissions.

In order to prevent the atmospheric ozone layer from depletion The Company is constantly looking for cleaner and more fuel-efficient technologies and operational measures to help maximize energy efficiency and reduce air emissions such as CO2/NOX/SOX/and Fluorocarbons.

Ballast Water Management

The discharge of ballast water from vessels can transfer organisms from different marine ecosystems, which can be harmful to the ecological balance.

All the fleet vessels are provided with a Ballast Water Management Plan, which is in line with environmental policy, and is written in accordance with IMO Resolution A.868(20): “Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ship’s ballast water to minimize the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens’’.

The plan’s intention is to provide safe and effective procedures that minimize the transfer of the harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens found in the ship’s ballast water.

Fleet vessels calling in Brazilian ports follow the class approved Ballast water management plan, this in accordance with the Brazilian regulations (NORMAM 20) and enforced since 15th October 2005. The regulations require all vessels to carry out ballast water exchange prior to entering a Brazilian port or terminal.

Waste Management

Vessel operation inevitably generates waste, particularly oily waste, sludge and sewage. To counteract this, a waste management programme has been implemented to ensure that all types of waste are reduced and handled in a responsible manner. Garbage Management

Each vessel has a Garbage Management Plan onboard which is incorporated into the Ship’s Environmental plan. Separation of garbage is carried out on all vessels.

Garbage is always handled in compliance with regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships – Annex V of Marpol 73/78 regulations.


MARPOL amendments to prevent pollution during ship-to-ship oil transfer operations adopted

Posted by Seafarer

August 26, 2009

Amendments to the MARPOL Convention to prevent pollution during ship-to-ship oil transfer operations were adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) when it met for its 59th session from 13 to 17 July 2009, at the IMO Headquarters in London.

In a packed agenda, the MEPC also agreed to circulate voluntary and interim measures to address greenhouse gas emissions from shipping (see Briefing 27/2009).

The Committee adopted amendments to MARPOL relating to the on-board management of oil residue (sludge); approved, with a view to future adoption, proposed draft amendments to MARPOL to prohibit carriage or use of heavy grade oil in the Antarctic area; agreed, in principle, a proposal to designate specific portions of the coastal waters of the United States and Canada as an emission control area; and agreed guidelines relating to the implementation of MARPOL Annex VI, the ship recycling Convention and the Ballast Water Management Convention. MARPOL amendments – transfer of oil cargo between oil tankers at sea The MEPC adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex I for the prevention of marine pollution during some ship-to-ship (STS) oil transfer operations. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2011.

The new chapter 8 on Prevention of pollution during transfer of oil cargo between oil tankers at sea will apply to oil tankers of 150 gross tonnage and above and will require any oil tanker involved in oil cargo STS operations to have, on board, a plan prescribing how to conduct STS operations (the STS Plan), which would be approved by its Administration.

Notification to the relevant coastal State will be required not less than 48 hours in advance of the scheduled STS operations although some relaxation to this rule is allowed in certain, very specific, cases. The regulations are not intended to apply to bunkering operations.

Consequential amendments to the International Oil Pollution Prevention (IOPP) Certificate, the Supplement to the IOPP Certificate and the Oil Record Book were also adopted.

Oil residue (sludge) MARPOL amendments Amendments to MARPOL Annex I regulations 1, 12, 13, 17 and 38, relating to the on board management of oil residue (sludge), were also adopted. The amendments clarify long standing requirements and remove existing ambiguities in order to facilitate compliance by ships’ crews. Definitions for oil residue (sludge), oil residue (sludge) tanks, oily bilge water and oily bilge water holding tanks are introduced for the first time.

Related amendments to the Supplement to the IOPP Certificate, Form A and Form B, and to the Oil Record Book were also adopted. The amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2011.

Special measures to protect the Antarctic to be considered for approval The MEPC approved, with a view to adoption at its next session (MEPC 60 in March 2010), proposed draft amendments to MARPOL Annex I on Special requirements for the use or carriage of oils in the Antarctic area.

The proposed draft amendments would add a new chapter 9 with a new regulation 43, which would prohibit the carriage in bulk as cargo, or carriage and use as fuel, of: crude oils having a density at 15°C higher than 900 kg/m3; oils, other than crude oils, having a density at 15°C higher than 900 kg/m3 or a kinematic viscosity at 50°C higher than 180 mm2/s; or bitumen, tar and their emulsions. An exception is envisaged for vessels engaged in securing the safety of ships or in a search and rescue operation.

ECA proposal approved The MEPC approved a proposal to designate specific portions of the coastal waters of the United States and Canada as an Emission Control Area (ECA). The ECA would be for the control of emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx), and particulate matter, under the revised MARPOL Annex VI Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships, which was adopted in October 2008 and is expected to come into force on 1 July 2010.

The draft amendments to the revised MARPOL Annex VI concerning the proposed ECA will be submitted to MEPC 60 (March 2010) for adoption (i.e. after the deemed acceptance date of the revised MARPOL Annex VI on 1 January 2010).

Currently, the revised Annex lists two areas for the control of SOx emissions: the Baltic Sea area and the North Sea, which includes the English Channel.

MARPOL Annex VI Guidelines adopted MEPC 59 adopted Guidelines for the development of a volatile organic compound (VOC) management plan; revised Guidelines for monitoring the worldwide average of sulphur; and revised Guidelines for the sampling of fuel oil for determination of compliance with MARPOL Annex VI.

Based on input received by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP), the Committee also approved Interim criteria for discharge of washwater from exhaust gas cleaning systems (exhaust scrubbers), intended to update the existing criteria contained in the Guidelines for Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (contained in resolution MEPC.170(57)).

The Committee also approved circulars on Guidelines for the application of the NOx Technical Code relative to certification and amendments of tier I engines and Definitions for the cost effectiveness formula in regulation 13.7.5 of the revised MARPOL Annex VI.

This comprehensive package of guidelines on MARPOL Annex VI is intended to assist Administrations in preparing for its entry into force and in subsequently implementing and enforcing its provisions.

Guidelines to implement ship recycling convention adopted Following the adoption of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, at a conference held in Hong Kong, China, in May 2009, the Committee adopted Guidelines for the development of the inventory of hazardous materials.

Progress was also made in developing draft Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. These are the first two guidelines intended to assist with the implementation of the Convention and are crucial for the voluntary implementation of the Convention prior to its entry into force.

Implementation of the BWM Convention The MEPC approved Guidance to ensure safe handling and storage of chemicals used to treat ballast water and the development of safety procedures for risks to the ship and crew resulting from the treatment process. This Guidance is intended to assist with the implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention), adopted in 2004.

The MEPC also agreed to give “final approval” to four ballast water management systems that make use of active substances and “basic approval” to three such systems.

The Ballast Water Review Group met during MEPC 59 to consider the status of ballast water technologies. Following its discussions, the Committee noted that the number of ballast water treatment technologies amounted to six Type Approved systems with four additional systems being granted Final Approval at this session. The Committee noted further that the installation of ballast water management systems may require extensive design consideration such as physical and technical feasibility, modification of ships designs and sufficient lead time necessary for these modifications.

While acknowledging the difficulties, the Committee agreed that ballast water treatment technologies were available and were currently being fitted on board ships and confirmed that sufficient ballast water management systems would be available to ships constructed in 2010. The Committee agreed to instruct the Secretariat to prepare a draft MEPC resolution, requesting Administrations to encourage the installation of ballast water management systems during new ship construction in accordance with the application dates contained in the BWM Convention, to be presented to MEPC 60 for consideration and adoption.

To date, 18 States have ratified the Convention, representing 15.27 per cent of the world’s merchant shipping. The Convention will enter into force twelve months after the date on which not fewer than 30 States, the combined merchant fleets of which constitute not less than 35 percent of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping, have become Parties to it. The Committee urged other States to ratify the Convention at the earliest opportunity.

Adverse impact of ship noise on marine life The report of a correspondence group on Noise from commercial shipping and its adverse impact on marine life was considered, and the MEPC agreed to re-establish the correspondence group to continue its work on the future development of voluntary technical guidelines for ship quieting technologies.

Harmful anti-fouling systems for ships – best practices agreed The MEPC agreed to disseminate, via a circular, Guidance on best management practices for removal of anti fouling coatings from ships, including TBT hull paints, which was developed by the Scientific Groups under the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) and its 1996 Protocol (London Protocol).

The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001, entered into force in September 2008 and requires ships to either replace, or over-coat, any existing organotin-based anti fouling systems.

Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on the Human Element The Joint MSC/MEPC Working Group on the Human Element met during MEPC 59 to consider human element issues.

The MEPC agreed proposed draft amendments to the Revised Guidelines on implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, for submission to the IMO Assembly’s 26th session in November-December 2009, for adoption.

OPRC-HNS implementation – model courses approved The MEPC considered the report of the ninth meeting of the OPRC HNS Technical Group, which was held in the week prior to the Committee’s session.

The Committee approved two introductory IMO model courses on preparedness for and response to HNS pollution incidents in the marine environment, one aimed at the operational level and the second aimed at management level; the revised OPRC Train-the-Trainer course; and a Guidance document on the identification and observation of spilled oil.

The MEPC noted the ongoing work in developing a Manual on chemical pollution to address legal and administrative aspects of HNS incidents; a Manual on oil pollution, Section I – Prevention; a Manual on incident command system during oil spill response; and Guidelines for oil spill response in fast currents.

Source : imo

++++++++++Factsheet: Ballast Water and Aquatic Invasive Species

Download the Print Version (PDF) (2 pp, 360K, About PDF)

Ballast water is a major source for introducing non-native species into aquatic ecosystems where they would not otherwise be present. If the non-native species become established, they can adversely impact the economy or the environment, or cause harm to human health. For example, the management of zebra mussels near the Great Lakes has cost the U.S. economy millions of dollars annually. Costs include cleaning, monitoring, and retrofitting water intake pipes. Additionally, zebra mussels accumulate high levels of toxins which leads to health advisories for species in the food web.

With growing international trade, there are increases in the amount and frequency of ballast water transfers, and associated organisms, between distant ports.

Ballast water discharges from vessels on international and domestic voyages can contribute to the spread of invasive species in the U.S.

What is Ballast Water?

Ballast water is water from a port or other location that is taken onboard a ship and stored in tanks to add weight, thereby maintaining the ship’s trim and stability. For example, ballast water is often taken onboard as cargo is unloaded, and discharged as cargo is loaded. Depending on where the ballast water is taken onboard, it may be freshwater, brackish, or saltwater, and might contain organisms that are not native to the port area where ballast water will be discharged.

Why is Ballast Water Taken Onboard or Discharged From Ships?

Prior to departure or while en route, a ship may need to take ballast water onboard to maintain its stability and safety or to maximize its propulsion efficiency. On entry into a port, the ship may need to discharge ballast water to lighten the ship in order to maintain clearance under the keel in navigational channels or berthing areas, or to offset additional weight resulting from the loading of cargo or fuel.

What are the Impacts of Species Introduced Through Ballast Water?

Aquatic invasive species constitute a significant threat to biodiversity in the world’s coastal waters because they often have no natural predators and may out-compete native species for food in their new environment. Once established, invasive species can cause major environmental and economic harm as they multiply and spread. They can be very difficult, if not impossible, to control or eradicate following introduction into the receiving waters. Not all introduced organisms will become invasive species and harm native ecosystems; for example, some species taken onboard from a freshwater environment may not be able to survive if discharged into saltwater. Due to the variability in organisms and complex environmental interactions affecting their establishment, it is not yet possible to accurately predict whether an introduced species will become an invasive species in a new location.

What is Being Done to Reduce the Impact of Aquatic Invasive Species in Ballast Water?

The U.S. Coast Guard, the primary federal agency charged with establishing controls on ballast water discharges, is working closely with EPA and other federal agencies to improve ballast water management by ships and to reduce the potential for introduction of invasive species by ships. Individual states affected by invasive species from ballast water are also working to address the issue for their waters. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed a treaty in February 2004 that, once it goes into effect, will help control the discharge of ballast water and sediments from ships on international voyages in order to reduce the risk of introduction of invasive species.

How can I Obtain More Information?

Visit our Invasive Species Web site or Contact the Oceans and Coastal Protection Division at 202-566-1200 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              202-566-1200      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.


Ballast Water

A major concern is the introduction of invasive species through ship ballast water carrying viable organisms from one waterbody to another. All mainland coasts of the United States – East, West, Gulf, and Great Lakes, as well as the coastal waters of Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands – have felt the effects of successful aquatic species invasions. Over two-thirds of recent non-native species introductions in marine and coastal areas are likely due to ship-borne vectors, and ballast water transport and discharge is the most universal and ubiquitous of these. EPA is working in conjunction with our Federal and State partners to address this source of aquatic invasive species both domestically and internationally.

Present Ballast Water Management Practices

Currently, ballast water exchange is the only effective management tool to reduce the risk of ballast-mediated invasion. Ballast water exchange involves replacing coastal water with open-ocean water during a voyage. This process reduces the density of coastal organisms in ballast tanks that may be able to invade a recipient port, replacing them with oceanic organisms with a lower probability of survival in nearshore waters.

Ballast water exchange is recommended as a voluntary measure by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). However, it is important to recognize two short-comings of this procedure. First, the ability to safely conduct ballast water exchange depends upon weather and sea surface conditions, and it is not always possible to perform an exchange. Second, there is still some residual density of coastal organisms in ballast tanks following exchange, so this process is only partly effective.

The Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-646) required that all vessels entering Great Lakes Ports from beyond the EEZ undergo ballast exchange or some comparably effective ballast treatment which conforms to discharge requirements of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251). These requirements were extended to vessels arriving in ports of the upper Hudson River, north of the George Washington Bridge on November 4, 1992.

The National Invasive Species Act (NISA) of 1996 (P.L. 104-332) reauthorized and amended the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990. NISA issued mandatory ballast management reporting and voluntary ballast exchange guidelines to all vessels that enter U.S. waters from outside the EEZ, with the exception of military vessels, crude oil tankers that carry out coastwise trade, and some passenger ships that are equipped with ballast treatment systems.

If compliance with the voluntary guidelines is low, NISA authorizes the use of mandatory guidelines for vessels arriving to selected regions or the entire country. The National Ballast Water Information Clearinghouse will provide data and analysis to estimate the national patterns of ballast water management. Policy decisions about the adequacy of voluntary guidelines and the acceptable rate of compliance will be based upon criteria and evaluation by a committee of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force

Toxic Dinoflagellates (phytoplankton) in Australia (PDF file)
Comb Jellies in the Black Sea

The Black Sea in Crisis

In period of only three decades, the Black Sea has suffered the catastrophic degradation of a major part of its natural resources. Increased loads of nutrients from rivers caused an overproduction of tiny phytoplankton which in turn blocked the light reaching the sea grasses and algae, essential components of the sensitive ecosystem of the north-western shelf. The entire ecosystem began to collapse. This problem, coupled with pollution and irrational exploitation of fish stocks, started a sharp decline in fisheries resources. To make matters worse, in the mid 1980s, a jellyfish-like species (Mnemiopsis leidyi), which was accidentally introduced to the Black Sea from the eastern seaboard of America in the ballast water of a ship, invaded the Black Sea. Its diet included fish larvae and the tiny animals small fish feed upon. It quickly reached a total mass of 900 million tons (ten times the annual fish harvest from the entire world!). Though declining, Mnemiopsis continues to plague to Black Sea but this is not the only problem. Poor planning has destroyed much of the aesthetic resources of the coastlines. Uncontrolled sewage pollution has led to frequent beach closures and considerable losses in the tourist industry. In some places solid waste is being dumped directly in the sea or on valuable wetlands. Tanker accidents and operational discharges have often caused oil pollution. All of this came at a time when five of the Black Sea countries were facing an economic and social transition and were unable to take the necessary urgent remedial actions.

It does not require much insight to appreciate that the exploitation of the Black Sea’s resources in the past few decades has been unsustainable. The environment of the Black Sea has deteriorated dramatically in terms of its biodiversity, habitats, fisheries resources, aesthetic and recreational value and water quality. The Black Sea has many “uses”, ranging from fishing, tourism and mineral extraction on one hand, to its use as a cheap transport route and as a convenient place to dump solid and liquid waste on the other. Many of these uses have an additional economic cost through their impact on the environment. The present environmental crisis has been precipitated largely by ignoring these hidden costs. Like so many environmental issues, by paying little or no attention to these “costs”, they have been conveniently transferred from one generation to the next.

Zebra Mussels in the Great Lakes


Ballast water exchange in the open ocean A popular choice at the moment, it puts coastal organisms in the saltier water of the ocean where they are less likely to survive than in coastal areas of similar salinity. The water that is put into the tanks then has organisms that are adapted to higher salinity and less likely to survive at the coast. This method can be unsafe for ships and also time consuming.


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