Mandatory cleaning of ballast water to international shipping

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 19.11.2015 13.50
Press release

The Government proposes for Finland to adopt the International Convention regarding the management of ships' ballast water. Of the Baltic region, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Russia have already ratified the Convention, and in the rest of the Baltic countries legislative initiatives are underway.

The proposition is a part of a larger project that aims to prevent and decrease the spread of harmful alien species from one area to another. In October, the Government submitted a proposal to the parliament on implementing the EU regulation on invasive alien species in Finland. The submitted proposition complements this regulation as regards marine transport.

The International Convention enters into force when 35 per cent of world's tonnage falls within the convention. This is estimated to occur in 2016.

The Convention entering into force means that ballast water treatment equipment must be installed to ships travelling internationally. Ballast water is used in ships to stabilize them. The risk of zooplankton and phytoplankton in ballast water getting into the Baltic Sea is increasing as the climate becomes warmer and the growth of oil export from Russia brings large oil vessels full of ballast water to the Baltic Sea.

The international convention contains provisions on the exceptions, exemptions and control of ballast water management. The Government proposes that the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi could give recognised classification societies the responsibility of granting certifications. The new procedure would be simpler than the current one for both Trafi and the shipping companies.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) decided in 2013 that treatment equipment can be installed in vessels gradually so that installations are mainly performed in 2016-2020, and as late as 2021 in some cases.

In this stage, any specific estimation on the costs incurred to Finnish vessels cannot be presented, but based on the fleet currently shipping internationally, it has been estimated that the costs would be a total of 58-64 million euros within a five year time period.

The International Convention coming into force will have positive effects on the Finnish marine technology industry (clean tech) as the market on new ballast water management systems expands.

Further information
Ms Lolan Eriksson, Ministerial Counsellor, tel. +358 40 744 8118