EMSA monitors and examines international, regional and sub-regional developments in this field in order to enable the Member States and the Commission to identify any need for further action at EU-level to:
• promote the effective management of ballast water on board ships in European waters; and,
• to ensure a coherent approach within different European regions.
In November 2008, EMSA organised a workshop to identify how the EU Member States, the European Commission and EMSA can work together to provide a cohesive approach in implementing the ballast water management strategies of the regional fora and ratifying the Ballast Water Management Convention. The purpose and aims of the workshop were to:
•provide an overview of the problem and describe the current state of play at IMO and the regional seas organizations within Europe;
•share experiences and exchange best practice with respect to developing the regional strategies and ratifying the Convention;
•identify issues and technical difficulties related to developing and contributing to the interim ballast water control strategies being developed by the Regional Sea Conventions, ratifying the IMO Convention and the processes being employed to control alien species levels in ballast water discharges; and
•discuss potential future activities of the EU in this field, by identifying how the Commission and EMSA can add value to the processes already being employed to develop regional strategies and to ratify the Convention.
This workshop resulted in the development of a Ballast Water Action Programme to help Member States ratify the Convention and develop interim Strategies through the four Regional Seas Conventions around Europe.
In February 2010, EMSA held a Workshop on Sampling for Enforcement. At that Workshop the need to develop guidance on 11 issues concerning sampling for enforcement were identified. IMO’s direct enquiry as to whether EMSA, through the EC, could submit their work on this issue to BLG 15.
Subsequently EMSA has developed this guidance through research and liaison with global experts in the fields of ballast water sampling, water analysis, statistical analysis, port State control (PSC) and plankton biology. In the process of submitting this guidance to BLG for consideration, four papers were submitted to the European Council’s Shipping Working Party Meetings. At the meeting on the 25 November, the Shipping Working Party requested that EMSA host a workshop, prior to BLG 15, for the ballast water experts in the EU Member States to present the findings of the research and explain how the guidance has been developed, so the experts can be prepared to discuss these papers fully at BLG 15. The workshop was held in January 2011.
In relation to ballast water sampling, EMSA led (on behalf of the European Commission) the IMO Correspondence Group. EMSA has subsequently commissioned additional research into the development of a sampling protocol and identifying a threshold for "gross non-compliance" for the enforcement of the BWM Convention. This work was submitted as an information paper to IMO BLG 17.
EMSA has also been working on the PSC guidance for BW by amending the documents compiled by the IMO Ballast Water Sampling Group and helping the Paris MoU to develop Ballast Water Guidance for PSC. This will be submitted by the Paris MoU to the IMO in due course.
EMSA in conjunction with DG ENV and DG MOVE will be producing a factsheet on the relationship between the new EC Biocide Regulations and the type approval requirements for systems using active substances the G-9 Guidelines at IMO under the BWM Convention.
We also continue to work on completing the action points in our Ballast Water Action Programme.