Montenegro and Syria take national initiatives to progress with the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention. – Feb 23, 2010

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) supported the organisation, via REMPEC, of two national Training Courses / Seminars in Montenegro and Syria, with the objective of encouraging these two countries to take national level initiatives on ships’ ballast water management issues. The national levels initiatives are strongly encouraged by the IMO-GloBallast Partnerships and will be one of the priorities in 2010. 

The two countries selected by the IMO Globallast Partnerships were Montenegro and Syria, in view of their active participation in the GloBallast Partnerships activities. Syria has ratified the 2004 Ballast Water Management Convention and needed some support with a view to strengthening the capacities of the officers in charge of implementing the Convention. Montenegro is currently developing a legislation related to the protection of the marine environment from ship-generated pollution and is considering including provisions with the effect of implementing the Ballast Water Management Convention.

The first day of the activities (Training Course) was essentially dedicated to an introduction to the issue of ship’s ballast water and to an overview of the provisions of the BWM Convention,  encompassing operational aspects on board the ship, the role of the port State authorities, possible options concerning the exchange of ballast water, and compliance and monitoring aspects (inspections).

The second day of the event (seminars) focused on national implementation aspects, with presentations by the country on the status of the problem at national level and discussions on national legal, policy and institutional frameworks, possible development of a national road map / action plan, and of the formation of a national Task Force involving the various stakeholders that have to play a role in addressing the issue of ballast water and invasive species.

The National Training Course / Raising Awareness Seminar on Ships’ Ballast water Management was successfully organised in Montenegro, Podgorica, on 10 and 11 November 2009, and was hosted by the Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Telecommunication of the Republic of Montenegro.  The lectures were delivered by Mrs. Maja Markovcić Kostelac, Msc, and Mr. Matej David, PhD. These two instructors were selected due to their expert knowledge and experience in different fields related to ballast water management and taking into the account their participation in the Mediterranean and Adriatic regional and sub-regional co-operation relevant for the subject. Mrs. Markovčić Kostelac acted also as the representative of REMPEC and a facilitator of the Training Course.

As the Course intended to be an introductory  Training on ballast water management issues, the participants were expected to have different backgrounds as well as different knowledge levels on the topic. In addition, the objective of the Seminar (Day 2) was to encourage discussions amongst participants coming from different sectors and administrations thus having different perspectives  on ballast water management issues.  The Training was attended by 29 participants from different administrations, scientific institutions, ports and shipping industry, marine environment protection institutions. The participation of high and medium level management of different stakeholders was of particular importance for the achievement of the Training Course / Seminar objectives.  The participants concluded by underlining that the solid tools provided during the Training Course / Seminar will be useful for further developing the national framework for ballast water management in Montenegro. The participation of different stakeholders was a positive approach which would facilitate the establishment of a National Task Force in a short period of time.  The Report of the Training Course / Seminar can be found here.

A similar activity took place in Syria, Lattakia, on 23 and 24 February 2010 and was hosted by the General Directorate of Ports of the Ministry of Transport of Syria. Dr. Jose Matheickal, Senior Advisor for the IMO-GloBallast Partnerships, Dr Gehan El Sakka, General Director of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency of the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs of Egypt, and Captain Moataz Ferrag, Lecturer at the Maritime Safety Programme of the Arab Academy for Technology and Maritime Transport, acted as instructors and facilitators during the Training Course / Seminar.  The Programme of the National Training Course / Raising Awareness Seminar on Ships’ Ballast Water Management delivered in Syria can be downloaded here and a short Report will be uploaded as soon as available. The participants were extremely active and a decision was taken to establish a National Task Force in the very near future with all relevant stakeholders invited to participate in order to ensure that the various aspects of the  implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention are addressed.