Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Work on ballast water management progresses in the HELCOM and OSPAR regions

The coastal
countries of the Baltic and North Seas, as well as the EU, are reviewing their jointly
agreed procedure for applying and granting exemptions under the IMO Ballast
Water Management Convention, at a starting today in Madrid, Spain.

Practical tests of the port sampling protocol, adopted as part of the Procedure
reviewed today, will help to improve cost-efficiency, scientific reliability and
comparability across regions. Photo: Riikka Puntila

The coastal
countries and EU originally developed the Joint Harmonized Procedure on such
exemptions during 2012–13 within the regional marine protection Commissions,
HELCOM and OSPAR, with active participation from ship owner organizations. The procedure
adopted in 2013 supplements the global exemption guidelines provided by IMO.The
procedure has by today been tested in practice in more than 13 ports in the
Baltic Sea, North Sea, Iberian Atlantic and the Great Lakes of North America. These
practical tests of the port sampling protocol, adopted as part of the Procedure,
will help to improve cost-efficiency, scientific reliability and comparability
across regions.The
sampling protocol is intended for use in ports in the Baltic, North-East
Atlantic and beyond, as the basis of risk assessments required by IMO as a
justification of an exemption.Today’s Meeting
will also consider revisions to the adopted criteria, and current list, of
harmful alien species – also called as “target species”. Defining and selecting
these target species is central for the outcome of risk assessments.This Fifth
Meeting of the joint HELCOM-OSPAR Task Group on Ballast Water Management is
chaired by Mr. Henrik Ramstedt (Sweden) and Mr. Manfred Rolke (Germany), and is
hosted by Puertos del Estado (Spain).. All documents will be public after the meeting * * *
Note for editorsThe Working Group of HELCOM, originally
established in 1975, identifies and promotes actions to limit sea-based
pollution and ways for safer navigation. It also works to ensure enforcement
and harmonized implementation of international shipping regulations. Its sub-groups
include the HELCOM-OSPAR on Ballast Water Management (regional dimensions of
implementing the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention), Expert group on
safety of , Working group for mutual exchange
and deliveries of Automatic Identification System () data, and HELCOM Cooperation Platform on Port
Reception Facilities (). The was set up by the 1992 OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the
Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, which unified and updated the
1972 Oslo and 1974 Paris Conventions. It brings together the governments of
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the
Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United
Kingdom, together with the European Community. The Baltic
Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental
organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union
working to protect marine environment of the Baltic Sea from and to ensure
safety of navigation in the region. Established in 1980, HELCOM is legally the
governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment
of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention
ratified by the governments of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Poland,
Latvia, Lithuania, Russian Federation and Sweden, as well as the European Union.* * *
For more information, please contact:
Hermanni Backer
Professional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Maritime Spatial Planning
Tel:  +358 46 8509199
Skype: helcom02
E-mail: hermanni.backer(at) Johanna
Information Secretary
Tel: +358 40 523 8988
Skype: helcom70
E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)

Criteria of target alien species and procedures for sampling in ports under review in today’s meeting.