28/05/2012 Enforcement of the Ballast Water Management International Convention

The Regional organization for the Conservation of Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has organized a regional training workshop on Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement Concerning the Ballast Water Management International Convention, in AQABA 28-29 May 2012. Organizing the workshop comes in the framework of PERSGA’s participation in the GloBallast Partnerships Project executed by the International maritime Organization. The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Aqaba Special; Economic Zone Authority and the Jordanian Maritime Authority and was kindly hosted by the University of Jordan Aqaba Branch. About thirty specialists from the region and thirty marine sciences students at the University of Jordan Aqaba Branch participated in the workshop.     

On the importance of Ships ballast Water Management Convention; it is an international convention concerned with the protection of the marine and coastal environment and human health from harmful invasive species that that could be transferred from one marine environment to another by ships ballast water. The convention has been adopted by IMO in 2004 and has not entered in force yet. But this approaching soon, since the convention has been ratified by 33 countries representing about 28% of the global tonnage, while it enters in force one year after being ratified by 30 countries representing 35% of the global tonnage.    

Threats that may occur as a result of some harmful alien species invading marine habitats are numerous and may affect biodiversity, economic activities such fisheries and industry, touristic and health as some of these species could be toxic or carriers of some deceases. 

The world has reached quite advanced stages in identifying and handling the problems of alien invasive species. The Ballast Water Management Convention identifies two types of solution to the problem. One is a temporary solution that should end completely by 2017 and depends on changing ballast water at high seas according to a preset criteria and the other is permanent and depends on ballast water treatment. The International Maritime Organization has so far approved about 20 systems as type. Here ballast water is sterilized onboard using a suitable treatment system while the ship is on route between different ports.         

It is worthwhile here to mention the importance of ratifying the convention, as it is about to get in force and the principle of “no more favorable treatment” applies. Thus ships that belong to countries that are not party to the convention may be more frequently subject to more detailed inspection leading to additional delays in ports and higher financial burdens.  

The Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden