The risk of vessels being fined for allegedly discharging dirty ballast water in Ukrainian ports has been highlighted in the past. However, Club correspondent Dias Marine Consulting PC, Odessa, has recently advised that such cases are now resulting in fines of between US$ 40,000 to US$ 60,000. We are therefore repeating the recommendations previously made by Dias to minimise the likelihood of ballast water samples being found to contain excessive amounts of oil, iron or suspended solid content when tested.
1. Ballast tanks should be well maintained and coated with no loose scale or rust present in order to keep the iron content of the ballast water within acceptable limits. Caution should be exercised when ballasting recently coated tanks as problems have arisen where poor quality paint, or coatings which have not fully cured, have contaminated the ballast water.
2. The State Inspection for the Protection of the Black Sea (SIPBS) requires all ballast water on board to be exchanged in the Black Sea prior to arrival. The ballast should be replaced with visibly clean water several times, ensuring that this is done in an area with no visible pollution or suspended matter in the water, such as seaweed.
3. As far as is safe and practicable vessels should only carry sufficient ballast water to maintain adequate stability, keep hull shear force and bending moments within seagoing limits, and to ensure manoeuvrability allowing for propeller/rudder and thruster immersion and hull windage.
4. If a SIPBS inspector attends a vessel to obtain ballast water samples for testing, a crewmember should supervise the ballast sampling. As far as possible the samples should be drawn via open manhole covers from the mid-level of the ballast water. Samples from tank sounding pipes or drains in ballast system pipework, particularly in the engine room, should be avoided. Care should also be taken to ensure that samples do not include sediment from the bottom of the tank or material that may be floating on the surface of the ballast water.
Members requiring further advice should contact the Loss Prevention department.
Source: Dias Marine Consulting PC, Odessa.