GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnership Project – Activities in Croatia – Jun 01, 2008

GloBallast News Release: 1 June 2008

The Republic of Croatia is a part of the GloBallast Partnerships Project as a Lead Partnering Country (LPC) in the Mediterranean region.  The government of Croatia has recognized the introduction of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens into new marine ecosystems as a significant and growing environmental challenge, and is determined to preserve the sensitive environment of the Adriatic Sea. Therefore a complex approach to this issue, covering different aspects, was initiated.

In 2005 Croatia started the voluntary requirement for ships’ ballast water reporting, and in 2007, Croatia made it mandatory for all ships calling at Croatian ports by issuing the Ordinance on Ballast Water Management and Control. With the purpose of improving environmental protection, this Ordinance sets out the principles and procedures of ballast water management and inspection of all merchant ships, regardless of their nationality.  The Ordinance also stipulates the obligation of Port Authorities to undertake baseline studies for their respective port areas. Port facilities, where tank cleaning and sediment disposal are exercised, have to provide adequate reception facilities for sediment.

Within the activities of the GloBallast Partnerships Project, Croatia recently organized the first National Task Force (NTF) meeting and workshop (29-30 May 2008). This meeting and workshop included presentations by various experts and government organizations on different aspects of the issue, such as invasive species introduced in the Adriatic sea, an overview of the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, ballast water treatment technologies, inspection procedures and issuance of certificates, ship documents and reporting aspects, sampling of ships ballast water and analyses, baseline studies and monitoring of harbour areas. During the event the screening of the IMO-BBC TV Documentary – Invaders from the Sea also took place.

The NTF meeting was chaired by the GloBallast Partnerships National Focal Point for Croatia, Ms Maja Markovcic-Kostelac from Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure; The Assistant Minister of the same Ministry Capt. Mario Babic, welcomed the Meeting. Over 50 participants from various government organizations, institutes, NGOs, academia and the private sector participated in the meeting.

The meeting was participated in by the Chief Technical Adviser of GloBallast Partnerships Project, who gave a presentation on the global project framework and the various activities planned within the Project. This presentation explained what was expected from the LPCs and also identified the expected outcomes from the Project.

All the participants in the meeting showed a great interest in the issue of ballast water management in the Adriatic Sea. As a result, they all accepted, according to their field of expertise, nominations in nine various working groups within the National Task Force. The working groups will meet and work according to the Plan of Activities for 2008 and 2009, which was adopted at the meeting.