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Thursday, September 19, 2019

MARINA, DENR Enhance Ballast Water Management in PHL Shipping Sector



Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR - BMB) jointly pursued the effective management of ballast water in the Philippine shipping sector through a seminar-workshop on the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention on 18 – 20 September 2019.

The three-day event, which was initiated by the DENR – BMB, supported the notion that shipping activities should be in harmony with the environment. It also coincided with the celebration of the Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month (MANA Mo) which aimed to raise the awareness and literacy of Filipinos on the country's archipelagic features.

MARINA – Shipyards Regulation Service (MARINA – SRS) Director Ramon C. Hernandez stressed the role of shipping as the most efficient mode of transport in an archipelagic country like the Philippines. However, the shipping sector also bore disadvantages, particularly to the marine environment.






Generally, ships carry water in its ballast tanks to improve stability, structural integrity, and navigational safety.

When water is loaded into the ships, various biological materials such as plants and bacteria are sucked up into their ballast tanks. When the water has to be unloaded back to the sea, these biological materials are introduced in a new environment and become invasive, which causes damage to aquatic ecosystems. This activity is even noted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as one of the greatest threats to the world’s oceans.

To prevent further destruction of the marine environment, the BWM Convention was adopted by the IMO in 2004 to prescribe regulations on the proper management and treatment of ballast water and sediments discharge. The said convention entered into force in 2017.

The BWM Convention was ratified by the Philippines in 2018.

To date, the MARINA, together with the DENR – BMB and other concerned government agencies, is in the process of finalizing the rules and regulations on the BWM Convention to control the transfer of invasive aquatic species by ships, as well as to fully and effectively implement the international convention for the control and management of ships’ ballast water and sediments.

The country’s strategic action plan on the BWM, on the other hand, is undergoing further study and consultation.

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