Spain Performs the First Audits of Compliance with the Ballast Water Management Convention on Two Ships Berthed in the Port of Algeciras.
17-09-2021 (Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda). The public body Puertos del Estado has led and coordinated the first tests to check the proper functioning of the treatment plants installed on board in compliance with the Ballast Water Management Convention. These plants allow ballast water to be purified before being discharged into harbour basins, thus eliminating the risk of introducing invasive species from other marine habitats.
Global warming, which includes among other effects the rise in sea temperature, makes the risk of introducing invasive species one of the most relevant factors in the loss of biodiversity, as it facilitates the establishment and spread of these species.
The audits, which were carried out on the vessels the NORDIC LUEBECK and MARY, which were berthed at the MAERSK and TTI container terminals on 14 and 15 September, respectively, had the technical support of the Capitanía Marítima del Estrecho and its Inspection Service, and the logistical support of the Port Authority of the Bay of Algeciras. Both audits were performed out by two different teams working on the vessels: the first team was composed of the global industrial auditing company SGS in partnership with LUMINULTRA by using ATP technology for the detection of microorganisms and bacteria; and the second team was composed of the local laboratory BE-QUÍMICA, in partnership with the Dutch company VESSEL PERFORMANCE CENTRE, using technology based on the detection and counting of microorganisms by motility microscopy.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) participated in the exercise as an observer, as did the company ALFA-LAVAL, manufacturer of the treatment plants onboard both vessels.
The results and experience gained from this exercise, piloted in Spain and the EU, will be made available to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) through the Directorate General of the Merchant Navy to consolidate knowledge on the effectiveness of this International Ballast Water Management Convention in its current learning phase.
Spain thus joins similar experiences carried out in the Port of Singapore and the Australian Administration. The exercise involved experts in sampling and analysis from five EU nationalities.