Today, accession by Finland has triggered the entry into force of a key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species via ships' ballast water.
Ballast water is carried by ships to help maintain stability and is discharged during the loading of cargo. However ballast water also has the potential to cause widespread human health, environmental and economic damage as a result of the introduction of the harmful and invasive species that naturally reside in it.
Under the the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention’s terms, from September 2017 ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.
At PML Applications Ltd, the wholly-owned subsidiary of PML, scientists who are IMO consultants and experts in environmental aspects of ballast water treatment, were able to utilise their knowledge in this field to help facilitate the progress of the treaty in a variety of ways.
PML Applications Ltd is currently hosting the GloBal TestNet Secretariat for a second term, an international network of organizations, observers and advisors involved in the certification of ballast water management systems. GloBal TestNet’s aim is to increase levels of standardization, transparency and openness in type approval testing of ballast water management systems. GloBal TestNet also aims to contribute to discussions on the IMO’s development of the type approval testing process.
Tim Fileman, Business Development Manager at PML Applications, commented:
“I am delighted with today’s great news from the IMO and to see the beginning of controlling this important threat to global ecosystems and livelihoods. At the Ballast Water Centre we have been working with our clients to help ensure that their ballast water treatment systems are working and meeting performance requirements and we are excited that this and future work will now contribute to this important wider picture.”
The ratification of the treaty highlights the need for proper guidance and advice to be given on the environmental assessments for system specification, sampling and analysis of ballast water on ships and monitoring the efficacy of their fitted treatment systems. The UK Ballast Water Centre hosted by PML Applications Ltd provides scientific services for ballast water management and treatment system development. With both a breadth and depth of expertise, the Centre provides reliable and practical solutions to a range of ballast water challenges.