Concerning the article published in Le Devoir on July 20, 2015, some clarification is necessary on ships’ ballast water management. The MIB would like to point out that:
In theory, aquatic invasive species can be introduced through a ship’s ballast water (water used to maintain vessel stability by controlling the weight distribution in its tanks). However, in practice, Canadian and international regulations (which have existed for years) remedy this problem.
The following is a summary of how Canadian regulations counter the introduction of aquatic invasive species by ships:
- Ships arriving by sea in waters under Canadian jurisdiction must:
- Exchange the ballast water offshore and, if heading for the Great Lakes, flush any residual waters, and/or
- Treat the ballast water (in keeping with the International Maritime Organization standards being implemented), and/or
- Retain the ballast water on board, and/or
- Transfer it to a port reception facility.
2. Canada has the best ballast water management system in North America.
Examples of measures:
- A Ballast Water Reporting Form must be sent in before entering Canadian waters
- Transport Canada studies the forms received to ensure that ballast water exchange rules have been followed. If not, follow-up is carried out and measures are applied on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the vessel complies with the regulations
- Onboard inspections are conducted to check:
- the ship’s documents and management plan
- that the crew is aware of ballast water management procedures
- 100 % of ballast water reports are checked, 365 days a year.
- No invasive species have been identified since the flushing measure was applied to ocean-going ships in 2006.
- An international ballast water convention is about to go into effect