Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Report released on methods for spotting alien species in Baltic ports

​​​HELCOM has today released a on alien species transported via ships’ ballast water that threaten the sensitive Baltic ecosystem and may also have negative impacts to the economy and human health. The report is the final outcome of HELCOM project (2012–2013) which further tested and proposed improvements to the joint HELCOM-OSPAR sampling protocol, specifying methods and means for spotting marine alien species in ports. The project has also updated the related online port survey database and risk assessment tool, shared with the North-East Atlantic marine environment protection commission , which went live last week.Both the sampling protocol and the online tool were adopted by the coastal countries of the Baltic Sea in 2013, as part of the joint harmonised procedure on granting exemptions for ballast water treatment provisions of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in the combined HELCOM and OSPAR marine area.1. Under certain low risk conditions, the BWM Convention Regulation A-4 enables a party to grant exemptions to any requirements to apply ballast water management for ships (regulation B-3) or additional measures (regulation C-1). Whether or not a specific case can be defined as falling under such low risk conditions requires a risk assessmentThe joint harmonised procedure was agreed within HELCOM by the Baltic Sea coastal states and the EU in 2013, and simultaneously also by the OSPAR Contracting Parties. It was a further development of the regional Baltic Sea guidance on such risk assessments for A-4 exemptions, agreed within HELCOM in 2010. style=”color:#6e6e6e;text-align:justify;”>2​ These documents were seen as necessary in order to ensure an efficient and harmonised implementation of the BWM convention in the Baltic SeaThis final report of the project coordinated by the HELCOM Secretariat presents the results of practical trials carried out in the ports of Gothenburg (SWE), Kokkola (FIN), Hamina/Kotka (FIN) and Sköldvik (FIN). Further, the report estimates the work load of the agreed port sampling procedure; describes the work carried out on the joint online decision support tool as well as other activities of the project._________​_____________________________________________________________________________________1 Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Guidelines for the Contracting Parties of OSPAR and HELCOM on the granting of exemptions under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, Regulation A-42​ “Guidance to Baltic application of BWM Convention A-4 Risk Assessments” adopted as part of the HELCOM Ministerial Declaration in Moscow, Russia, 20 May 2010.​* * *Note for editors:Shipping has steadily increased in the Baltic Sea during the last decade, reflecting intensifying co-operation and economic prosperity around the region. On the average, 2,000 ships are at sea every day and by 2017, maritime transport of goods in the region has been estimated to doubleThe Maritime Group of HELCOM (), identifies and promotes actions to limit sea-based pollution and ways for safer navigation. It also works to ensure enforcement and harmonized implementation of IMOs international shipping regulations in accordance to the 1992 Helsinki Convention.The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organisation of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region.HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention, from 1974.* * * For more information, please contact:Hermanni BackerProfessional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Maritime Spatial PlanningHELCOMTel:  +358 46 8509199Skype: helcom02E-mail: hermanni.backer(at)helcom.fiMarta RuizProject Researcher HELCOM ALIENS 3Tel.: +358 40 647 2424Skype: helcom59E-mail: marta.ruiz(at) 

HELCOM has released a report on alien species transported via ships’ ballast water that threaten the sensitive Baltic ecosystem and may also have negative impacts to the economy and human health.