Argentina - New Provisions on Ballast Water Management: Ballast Chlorination

12th April 2017

Correspondents Pandi Liquidadores, Buenos Aires have advised the Club about demands being made by the Sanitary Authorities at the Port of San Lorenzo, Argentina for vessels to produce a certificate of chlorination pertaining to the ballast waters on-board. This has come about following the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development ratification of Resolution 85-E/2017, which came into force on 24 February 2017, and deals with ballast water treatment for vessels arriving from foreign ports.

Resolution 85-E/2017 is intended as a preliminary stage to the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, to which Argentina is party by Act 27.011/2014 and will enter into force on 8 September 2017.

In accordance with the new regulation, vessels calling at Argentine ports must apply a chlorination treatment to their ballast tanks as a measure to counteract the potential inception of intrusive aquatic species that could affect river ecosystems in Argentina. The Ministry of Health and Social Action Resolution 159/99 establishes a proportion of chlorine to be applied of 15 parts per million.

However, it remains unclear as to who should chlorinate the tanks, as the current regulation only stipulates that it must be done at roads on arrival but does not clarify whether it can be undertaken by the crew or a local entity. There are however reported ship’s agents at the Port of San Lorenzo supplying chlorine to vessels allowing the crew to perform the chlorination and for the Master to issue the certificate as per Section 2 of Resolution 85-E/2017.

There are other established local regulations in effect which address ballast water management requirements which must be adhered to in combination with the new regulation:

  • Prefectura Naval Argentina (DPMA) Ordinance No. 7/98 dated 2 November 1998, obliges all vessels bound for the River Plate to change all ballast water prior to arrival. The area is delineated as the zone from Punta del Este (Republic of Uruguay) to Punta Rasa, Cape San Antonio (Republic of Argentina). From there to a point located at latitude 37° 32’ South, longitude 55° 23’ West. From there to a point located in latitude 36° 14’ South and longitude 53° 32’ West. From there back to Punta del Este. The ballast water exchange must be conducted in open-sea following IMO approved methods and salinity levels following the exchange must not be below 30 parts per thousand (30 milligrams per cubic centimetre). Alternative ballast water treatment methods may be allowed under strict guidance and approval from either the IMO or the administration, of which the details can be are found in Section 8 and Annex 1 of Ordinance No. 7/98.
  • Prefectura Naval Argentina (DPMA) Ordinance No. 12/98 dated 7 January 1998, designates numerous zones of special protection along the Argentine coastline where deballasting is strictly prohibited

Although the new regulation makes no reference to ballast water exchange, it does specify that Ordinance No. 7/98 which necessitates ballast exchange must be followed. Subsequent to the rules from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development there is an expection that the Argentine Naval Prefecture may conduct a review on its own regulations to bring about further certitude on deballasting operations.

Pandi Liquidadores, via their Buenos Aires Circular 002/2017, have kindly provided a free translation of Sections 1 to 10 of Resolution 85-E/2017, a copy of which can be found here.

It is anticipated that local authorities at other Argentinean ports will follow the precedent set by the Port of San Lorenzo of requesting the certificate of chlorination. Members are advised to seek instructions on all ballast water management matters from their local agents prior to the vessel’s arrival.

Members requiring further information should contact the Loss Prevention Department.

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