Marine Industry unites to reduce AIS, other environmental impacts

Green Marine was founded by seven marine industry associations in Canada and the United States who decided to further reduce their “environmental footprint” by taking action around six major issues specific to their operations: aquatic invasive species, pollutant air emissions, greenhouse gases, cargo residues, oily water, and conflicts of use in port and terminals (noise, dust, odors, and light). This program covering the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes corridor is the first of its kind in North America. Program participants already include over 25 leaders representing the bulk of marine operations in this corridor. The program also has a newsletter.


Vessel Fouling Bill (AB 740) passes

Aquatic invasive species significantly impact California’s marine ecosystem and coastal economies. Hull maintenance and cleaning of commercial vessels is necessary to remove the attached invasive species. AB 740 would reduce the introduction of invasive species into California’s coastal waters through increased regulation of large commercial vessels entering California ports. Specifically, the bill would expand the current ballast water regulatory program to include cleaning and maintenance of the vessel hulls. For more info, visit the WCBOP's Laws and Regulation Page for California.


Invaders from the Sea wins top award

A documentary on aquatic invasive species (AIS) transported in ballast water has won the gold award in the category of “Best United Nations Feature” at the United Nations Documentary Film Festival. The film was produced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships, in cooperation with the BBC and the shipping industry.

Invaders from the Sea shows how harmful organisms transported in ballast water by ships have devastated biological and economic resources in many areas around the world, largely due to expanded maritime trade and traffic volume over the last few decades. The film captures the dramatic impact of this issue on the lives of millions of people, using examples of three harmful organisms, which have been transported to new areas in ships’ ballast water: the North American comb jelly, the Golden mussel (Limnoperma fortunei) and toxic algae (aka red tides and harmful algal blooms).

The film also highlights the progress made by IMO and the maritime industry in addressing this issue and the measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of harmful organisms. In addition to the IMO’s International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, IMO is executing the Global Ballast Water Management Project to assist developing countries in reducing the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships’ ballast water.

The IMO documentary features some of the solutions to preventing the spread of invasive species in ships’ ballast water, including exchange of ballast water on the high seas and new technologies that are under development, such as flow-through systems to exchange ballast water continuously while the ship is sailing and methods to kill or render inactive microscopic life forms by, for example, using ozone or ultraviolet light.

Invaders from the Sea is now available from IMO Publishing at: http://vp.imo.org/shop/v020e

For more information, please visit: http://www.imo.org/Newsroom/mainframe.asp?topic_id=1472&doc_id=7970


New Zealand releases new procedures for vessel inspections

Biosecurity New Zealand has finalized the standard, Requirements for Vessels Arriving in New Zealand, which proposed a risk-targeted approach to Vessel Inspections at the Border and introduced the concept of 'low risk vessel'. Regularly visiting vessels that attain this status may receive dispensation from inspection. A trial starts on 15 October with three shipping agents and the ships they handle. The standard will become operational in full for most vessels on April 7, 2008 and for cruise passenger vessels and pleasure craft at the start of the 2008/09 season. Information on clearance of vessels under the new system will be posted on this website under Border and Transportation Requirements. For more info, contact Liz Jones, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, liz.jones@maf.govt.nz, or read the final standard here.


Senate Panel approves Ballast Bill (S 1578)

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee approved a bill by voice vote that would set national standards for ballast water in an attempt to prevent invasive species from entering U.S. waters. During markup of the Ballast Water Management Act of 2007 (S. 1578), Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) agreed to continue discussions with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to resolve the issue of which federal agency should have lead authority over ballast water. As it stands now, the bill would direct the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies, to set the standards. Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said she opposes the bill as written because it would prevent states from imposing tougher ballast water treatment requirements and preempt the EPA from regulating ballast water discharges under the Clean Water Act. The bill still has a long way to go, however, before full passage through Congress.