Let us try and get to some better understanding of the contents of a Ballast Water Management Plan. As per the IMO Resolution A.868, all ships must have a Ballast Water Management Plan. This Plan must include at least the following:
- Safety procedures for ship and crew associated with ballast water management
- Detailed description of ballast water management practices
- Detailed procedures for disposal of sediments
- Procedures for coordinating ballast water management with coast and port states
- Designation of ballast water management officer
- Reporting requirements
Please make sure you find the shipboard management plan and go through it very carefully. Two of the world recognized and authoritative organizations, Intertanko and ICS, standing for the International Chamber of Shipping, have compiled a model plan that can easily be applied to most of vessels.
Subject plan will cover the following topics, as necessary:
- Ship particulars
- Explanation of need for the ballast water management and reporting to port states
- Ballast water arrangements
- Safety considerations
- Procedures for managing ballast water
- Ballast water sampling points
- Crew training and familiarization
- Duties of appointed ballast water management officer
- Ballast water reporting form and handing log.
As per the above mentioned IMO Resolution A.868, all ships must maintain the appropriate records to ensure that the ballast water management and all treatment procedures are followed and duly recorded. These records must include at least the following key information:
- Ship’s position
- Ballast water temperature
- Ballast water salinity and amount of ballast water loaded or discharged
And now, let us talk a bit about the duties and training requirements for on-board personnel. In the ballast water management plan, a ballast water management officer is to be appointed. On vessels where the chief officer usually handles the ballast water operation, he will be appointed as the ballast water management officer. On vessels where an engineer usually handles the ballast water operations, he will most likely be appointed as ballast water management officer. The ballast water management officer has the following duties:
- Ensure that the ballast water treatment or exchange follows procedures of the ballast water management plan
- Prepare the ballast water declaration form prior to arrival in port
- Be available to assist the port state control or quarantine officers for any sampling that may need to be undertaken
- Maintain the ballast water record log.
All personnel involved in ballast water handling must have adequate knowledge about ballast water management. This knowledge can be achieved by practical training on board or through the computer based training. The duties for each crew member involved in ballast water management you can find out by asking your ballast water management officer.
All officers and crew involved in ballast handing shall receive training in the following topics:
- The reason for exchange a ballast at sea
- The two main methods of exchange, namely flow-through (simultaneous filling and overflow of ballast water) and sequential(discharge and refilling of tanks)
- The means of carrying out ballast water management on board
- The reason why other means of ballast water management should not be used on board
- The location of sampling points
- Methods of sediment removal to be employed and how frequently it should be carried out
- The contingency procedure for situations that may affect the safe ballast exchange at sea to be explained.
This article was supposed to provide readers with the very basic introductory information about the Ballast Water Management Plan and the duties of the key shipboard personnel engaged in the ballasting operations. You are definitely invited and encouraged to go through the content of the training materials available here, including books, training videos and regulatory documents. As stated above, every single person involved in these operations in any way, shall possess sound understanding of the process since this is a key point for provision of the safety ballast handling operations and avoiding pollution to the marine environment.