The Regional Organization for the Conservation of Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden has organized a national training workshop on “Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement concerning the Ballast Water Management International Convention”, in Aqaba, Jordan during the period of August 19th - 22nd 2013. Organizing the workshop comes in the framework of PERSGA’s participation in the GloBallast Partnerships Project executed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The workshop was conducted in collaboration with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority and the Jordanian Maritime Authority and was kindly hosted at the lectures hall at the Jordanian Maritime Authority. Twenty four specialists representing different sectors concerned with ballast water management in Jordan participated in the workshop.
Ballast Water Management is becoming a serious issue in protection of the marine and coastal environment. It is subject of a recent International Convention concerned with protection of the marine and coastal environment and human health from harmful invasive species that could be transferred from one marine environment to another by ships’ ballast water and sediment. The convention has been adopted by IMO in 2004 and has not entered into force yet. However, this step is approaching soon, since the convention has been ratified by 36 countries representing about 30% of the global tonnage, while it enters in force one year after being ratified by 30 countries representing 35% of the global tonnage. Threats that may occur as a result of some harmful alien species invading marine habitats are numerous and may affect biodiversity, economic activities such fisheries and industry, tourism and health, as some of these species could be toxic or carriers of some deceases.
The world has reached quite advanced stages in identifying and handling the problems of alien invasive species. The Ballast Water Management Convention identifies two types of solution to the problem. One is a temporary solution that should last about one year after the Convention’s entry in force. It depends on changing ballast water at high seas according to preset criteria. The other is permanent and depends on ballast water treatment. The International Maritime Organization has so far approved about 20 systems as type. Here ballast water is sterilized onboard using a suitable treatment system while the ship is on route between different ports.
The workshop was highly interactive and included two field visits. The first was to the Marine Science Station, Aqaba (University of Jordan/Yarmouk University) where a coastal water sample was collected and its plankton content was seen under microscope in the laboratory. The second field visit was to the Greek ship SAMJOHN LIGHT at the Port of Aqaba where the participants were briefed by the chief engineer about the management of ballast water on board and procedures with Port State officers. Participants also toured the ship guided by the Chief Engineer and were introduced to the points where ballast water level could be measured in the tanks and also to points where samples could be collected for analysis. PERSGA would like to take this opportunity to express its deep gratitudes to both the Marine Science Station and to the Ship SAMJOHN LIGHT for facilitating the field visits.