NEW guidelines aimed at assisting port state control authorities ensure compliance with ballast water rules have been adopted by the nation states from the Indian Ocean Memorandum of Understanding.
Representatives of IOMU member states have been meeting in Fremantle as part of an event hosted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
The guidelines relate to the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BMW Convention).
The BMW Convention came into force in September last year, introducing global regulations to control the transfer of potentially invasive species from one marine environment to another.
The International Maritime Organization has noted several invasions likely to be the result of untreated ballast water, including the North American comb jelly which was introduced to the Black and Avos Seas in the 1990s and contributed to the collapse of local fisheries.
Closer to home, the European green crab – a native of the European Atlantic Coast – has been recently introduced to Southern Australia, South Africa, the US and Japan.
According to AMSA, the guidelines developed and adopted by the IOMOU provide a step-by-step process for port state control officers which detail the equipment and operations which need to be closely examined during an inspection.
AMSA chairman Stuart Richey AM said all of the member states of the Indian Ocean MOU “shared a common goal” to protect the marine environment.
Indian Ocean MOU chair and Kenyan State Department of Transport Shipping and Maritime Assistant Director, Beatrice Nyamoita, said port state control of ballast water management played an important role in protecting the health of fisheries around the world and the livelihoods of the people that rely on them for income.