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Ballast water management programme gets extended to other 8 major ports of India
Over 90% of the world cargo is mobilized trans-oceanically and nearly 10 billion tones of ballast water is filled at one part of the ocean and discharged at the other. In doing so it introduces vide range of living organisms, including pathogens, into alien regions, usually along the coasts of the continents. These organisms can establish and invade an environment, if found suitable and pose economic and human health hazards. Many cases of marine bioinvasion have been reported and their
harmful effects on the ecosystem and human health have been documented. Therefore marine bioinvasion has been considered as one of the greatest threats that are challenging the health of the oceans. Realizing the importance of this issue the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had formulated the International convention for control and management of ship’s ballast water and sediments in 2004. The convention includes various guidelines and standards that are required to be followed by all the maritime countries.
As per the convention various ballast water management options can be utilized. These options are mid-oceanic exchange, ballast water risk assessment and ballast water treatment technologies. In addition, the studies pertaining to establishment of data bases through port biological surveys and locating appropriate site(s) for ballast water discharge in emergency situation will also help in managing ballast water.
National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), has been identified by the Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India as a lead R&D agency for helping the ministry in addressing the ballast water management issues and preparing comprehensive port specific management planes for the country. In this regard, initially the institute completed work related to port biological baseline surveys, ballast water risk assessment and identification of ballast water discharge sites for the ports of Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mormugao and Visakhapatnam under "Globallast" and "Government of India initiative" programs. Through this program NIO also developed a user friendly and self validating e-form for reporting ships' ballast water history, which is an essential requirement for conducting ballast water risk analysis. It is now envisaged to extend these efforts to the remaining 8 major ports (Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Haldia, Kandla, Tuticorin, Paradeep and Kolkata) of the country, through an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NIO and the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS). This will enable NIO to prepare a comprehensive port specific ballast water management plan for these ports to fulfill following objectives during 2010 to 2016.
To carry out Port Biological Baseline Surveys
To conduct Ballast Water Risk Assessment.
To Develop Geographical Information System on ballast water management
To identify suitable site for each port, through modeling studies, for discharge of ballast water in emergencies situation.
To conduct on-voyage Ballast Water Sampling.
Implementation of Electronic Ballast Water reporting form.
Necessary support in terms of funding and logistics is provided by the Ministry of Shipping through Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai. This program will be executed by NIO at various ports with the participation of Universities and R&D institutions with relevant experience.
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