THE International Maritime Organization’s Ballast Water Management Convention came into effect on Friday (September 8), bringing changes to rules in New Zealand for about 20 Kiwi-flagged vessels.
Foreign-flagged vessels travelling to New Zealand are already expected to comply with some of the initial standards of the Convention.
Maritime New Zealand general manager of maritime standards Sharyn Forsyth said traditionally ships on international voyages took on-board ballast in the coastal waters of one country after unloading cargo, and discharged this water at the next port of call when loading more cargo.
“This is why the requirements relate to ships travelling internationally,” she said.
“Ballast water discharge typically contains a variety of biological materials, which often include non-native, nuisance, exotic species that can cause ecological and economic damage.”
At present, the requirements of the Convention mostly include exchange of ballast water mid-ocean, but the intention is that ship owners will eventually install ballast water treatment equipment, which is now generally included in the design and construction of new vessels.