EXPERTS attending the sixth Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-IMO GloBallast R&D forum and exhibition on Ballast Water Management in Canada, say more research is needed, particularly, for compliance and monitoring, alternative treatment methods, and risk assessment based, decision support tools.
The UN's International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Stefan Micallef, who is the director of the Marine Environment Division, said in his opening remarks that the Ballast Water Management Convention needed to enter into force for effective implementation of its provisions and urged IMO member states to ratify it.
Responding to shipowner concerns about the reliability of available BWT systems, the forum held a session on alternative treatment methods, a sector which has seen significant development since the last forum held in Busan in 2013, reported London's Tanker Operator.
During a dedicated session, participants were informed that mobile treatment solutions, including those on barges or small boats, can be plugged into the ship when, for example, the installed ballast water management system has stopped working.
Discussions on risk assessment for exemptions and ship targeting for port state control (PSC) officers, also took place. It was noted that several tools already exist to support PSC monitoring and others are in the pipeline. In particular, participants highlighted a need for the development of risk assessment based decision support tools for PSC officers.
The forum ended by opening discussions on the other main vector for the transfer of marine invasive aquatic species via ships, namely through biofouling, the undesirable accumulation of micro-organisms, plants, algae and animals on submerged structures, especially ships' hulls.
IMO said that it had adopted guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimise the transfer of invasive aquatic species.