News 11 Feb, 2008

Brazil: Ballast Water Management Regulations

The Association’s Brazilian correspondents, Pandibra McLintock, have alerted the Managers to recent changes to Port State Control inspections of vessels calling at Brazilian ports. These changes centre around Norm 20 issued by the Directorate of Ports and Coasts (DPC) which stipulates that any ballast exchange should be conducted by vessels in deep open water at least 200 nautical miles offshore.

During Port State Control inspections the attending Port State Control officers may take random samples of a vessel’s ballast water for testing with a Refractometer. If the test results indicate that the ballast water has a density of around 1025 kg/m3 the vessel will be deemed to have conducted its ballast exchange more than 200 nautical miles from the coast. However, occasions have arisen in the past where ballast water samples have been found to be 1020 kg/m3 or less. This has resulted in the authorities assuming that the ballast water exchange took place less than 200 miles offshore in breach of Brazilian environmental legislation. In such cases the authorities may report the matter to the Federal and State Prosecutors who in turn may commence proceedings aimed at obtaining indemnities from the vessel for damaging the environment. Fines have ranged from US$ 600 to US$ 28,000,000.

Before calling at Brazilian ports, vessels exchanging ballast water should ensure that the operation is carried out more than 200 miles offshore. Moreover, checks should be made following the exchange to verify that the density of the new ballast water is in the region of 1025 kg/m3.

If Port State Control officers subsequently decide to take ballast water samples for testing, they should be accompanied by a senior officer throughout. If the preliminary findings indicate that there may be cause for concern, the Association’s local correspondent should be contacted immediately as independent sampling and analysis may be required.

For further information please contact the Managers.