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Control of transportation of marine organisms -ballast water sediment removal guidelne

The most realistic and practical method for the control of transportation of marine organisms and to control sediments, is to exchange ballast water in deep ocean or open sea areas. This will limit the probability that fresh water or coastal species will be transferred in the ballast water. The responsibility for deciding on such action rests with the Master. The Master must contact the Port State Authority of his next port via the agents and determine if special control actions are required.

The exchange is to be conducted in water depths greater than 2000 metres, or in those cases where this is not possible, exchange of ballast water is to be made well clear of coastal and estuary influences.

Draining of each tank is to be done until pump suction is lost. This will minimise the likelihood of residual organism survival. The tank is then to be flushed over the bottoms by refilling (if possible – by gravity) to approx. 0.5 metre depth, twice, each time followed by complete draining until pump suction is lost. The tank is then to be refilled. The effectiveness of this flushing can be increased if the vessel is on a course that causes the vessel to roll slightly, however, the vessel must not deviate greater than 15o from the intended voyage course during the time of flushing.

When heavy sedimentation is observed after visual inspection, then manual sediment removal may be undertaken. Tanks are to be inspected visually for sediment build up at least once every three months wherever practical, and sediment build up recorded on the tank condition report which is to be forwarded to the Company.



Flow Through Exchanges

When a vessel cannot conduct a complete ballast change, a “flow through” (through ballast tank vents) exchange of ballast water may be an acceptable alternative for some tanks, however, it has little effect on sediment control.

Due to the risk of building up the pressure in ballast tanks, and the possibility of damage to vent heads, screens, etc. this procedure would require Administration (Classification) approval and must not be attempted without prior special considerations and authority of the Company.

Modification of tank venting arrangements may be necessary to avoid damage to the vent heads and screens.


Discharge of Ballast Water to Shore Reception Facilities

The Master is to check if there are any requirements for shore based discharge of ballast through voyage orders, agents instructions, “Guide to Port Entry”, etc. If there is any doubt the relevant Management Office must be referred to for advice, before arrival.


Manual removal of solid elements

Care is to be taken when manually removing sediments while the ship is in port or in continental shelf waters, to ensure sediments are not discharged into these waters. Sediments must be disposed of ashore and processed according to the local requirements. A log book entry is to be made and receipts obtained.

This part applies to solid sediment discharges, and does not affect sediments that can be removed from the chain locker or wells by hand hosing.


Sample analysis certificate

Vessels may avoid ballast changing in some circumstances by having their ballast water or harbour source samples analysed by a laboratory at the departure port. Where the analysis shows the ballast or sediment to be free from unwanted aquatic organisms or pathogens an analysis certificate is to be provided by the Master to the Port State of arrival. This must be carried out by fax several days prior to arrival in case the analysis is rejected, in order that the ballast change procedures can be applied prior to arrival.



Related guideline

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  3. Regulation of pumping system of bulk carriers


  4. Risk of partially filled ballast tanks


  5. Handling water ingress problems in bulk carrier, investigation and countermeasures



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Operation of sea going bulk carriers involved numerous hazards . Careful planning and exercising due caution for all critical shipboard matters are important . This site is a quick reference to international shipping community with guidance and information on the loading and discharging of modern bulk carriers so as to remain within the limitations as specified by the classification society.
It is vital to reduce the likelihood of over-stressing the ship's structure and also complying with all essential safety measures for a safe passage at sea. Our detail pages contain various bulk carrier related topics that might be useful for people working on board and those who working ashore in the terminal. For any remarks please Contact us

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