IMO Forum To Address High-Density Oil Spills

During the recent IMO 45th session of its Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 45), it was agreed to hold a Research and Development Forum in March 2002, which will focus primarily on response to spills of highdensity oil. France will host the forum, which will be the third R&D Forum sponsored by IMO. High-density fuel oils such as that carried by Erika are among the most difficult and most costly to deal with when spilled.

Ballast Water Exchange An MEPC Working Group furthered the efforts to enact new regulations for ballast water management to prevent the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms in ballast water. It is planned to hold a diplomatic conference during 2002 or 2003 to adopt the new measures. The proposed new measures take a two-tier approach. Tier one includes require- ments that would apply to all ships, including mandatory requirements for a Ballast Water and Sediments Management Plan, a Ballast Water Record Book and a requirement that new ships shall carry out ballast water and sediment management procedures to a given standard or range of standards.

Existing ships would be required to carry out ballast water management procedures after a phase-in period, but these may differ from those applied to new ships. Tier two includes special requirements which may apply in certain areas and would include procedures and criteria for the designation of such areas in which additional controls may be applied to the discharge and/or uptake of ballast water. The text for Tier two is still to be developed.

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 24,  Nov 2000

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