Vancouver introduces new unilateral ballast water exchange rules

Regardless of the recent adoption of the International Convention on Ballast Water, the Port of Vancouver in Canada has proceeded with new requirements mandating ballast water exchange. These entered into force on 30 April 2004. The requirements are based on the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) resolution A.868 (20), which provides guidance on the minimisation of harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water.

Compliance with the new ballast requirements will be checked by the harbour master representatives who will inspect the ballast water management plan. In line with the Canadian national requirements, a ballast water reporting form is also mandatory and should be faxed to the Canada/United State Cooperative Vessel Traffic Services (+1 604 666 8453) 24 hours prior to vessel’s arrival. As no form is provided, INTERTANKO would recommend using the IMO Standard Form which is available on the INTERTANKO website. Click here to download a copy of the form. The requirements stress that authorisation must be received prior to ballast discharge.

Exemptions to the requirements are given if weather, stability or hull stress problems prevent ballast exchange; however, this must be fully documented in the ballast water record book. Use of treatment systems is permitted providing approval has been given by the administration (flag state). Again, information on the system must be forwarded to the Harbour Master at least 24 hours prior to vessel’s arrival.

Contact: Tim Wilkins