Several bulletins have been published in recent years concerning ship ballast issues, particularly in countries such as the United States, Australia, and Ukraine. The United States and Australia in particular are sensitive to pollution and so strict compliance with ballasting requirements is necessary. However, some countries, notably in recent times the Ukraine appear to be imposing fines on ships entering its ports, where there is no evidence of pollution or lack of compliance with relevant ballasting requirements.
The latest information received from the Club’s local correspondent in Ukraine suggests that the matter is not improving, with every ship entering Ukrainian ports subject to ballast water testing and nearly every ship being fined.
Due to the nature of the de-ballasting regulations covering Ukrainian ports, it is very difficult and in most cases impracticable to oppose the fines. Experience has shown that money spent disputing these fines is wasted and, moreover often results in further delays to the ship. The Club’s local correspondent in Odessa, Ukraine, advises ships visiting Ukrainian ports to take the following precautions:
1. All ballast tanks should be well-maintained, i.e. they should be painted with no visible rust or loose scale. It should be noted that freshly painted tanks have also been known to cause problems where the paint is of a poor quality or simply not fully dried, resulting in the ballast water absorbing components of the paint.
2. It is a compulsory requirement of the Ukrainian ecological authority, the State Inspection for Protection of the Black Sea (SIPBS) that all ships exchange ballast in the Black Sea. The master/crew should try to take ballast in places where the water is visually clean, in order to prevent a claim based on the amount of suspended matter in the ballast water. It is recommended to exchange ballast several times.
3. Ships should avoid carrying ballast water additional to that which is necessary to be on board.
4. The ship's representative should be present during ballast sampling and ensure that, where practicable, samples are taken from opened manholes and not from sounding pipes.
Source of information:
DIAS Marine Consultants Co. Ltd.
Tel: +38 0482 377 696