Ballast water management in the Baltic Sea
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The Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), comprising of nine Baltic Sea countries and the European Union, is working to protect the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, including biological pollution from alien species. HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, singed by Contracting States’ environmentministers and EU, includes a Road Map for harmonized implementation and ratification of the International Convention for Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, with an overall aim of all Baltic Sea countries ratifying the Convention latest in 2013.
HELCOM has compiled information on the alien species present in the Baltic Sea and species that might still invade from other sea regions, possibly impairing or damaging the environment, human health, property or resources.
The HELCOM MARITIME Group has decided in its 8th meeting (2009) that Ballast Water Exchange is not a suitable management option for intra-Baltic shipping, and the Baltic Community has taken action with OSPAR Commission to promote voluntary exchange of ballast water outside the Baltic Sea and in OSPAR areas meeting the Convention requirements.
Further HELCOM work will focus on how to assess risks related on intra-Baltic voyages, and on following developments of ballast water treatment technologies suitable for the small and semi-enclosed Baltic Sea.
Key wordsHelsinki Commission Ballast Water Management Alien Species Shipping Ballast Water Management Convention
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