BALlast Water MAnagement System For Adriatic Sea Protection – BALMAS
Romina Kraus, dr.sc.
+385 52 804 746
Ballast water is recognized in the world as one of four global problems regarding pollution and danger for the oceans and seas. This is the main reason why International Maritime Organization declared International Convention on the Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments in 2004. Ballast water is the sea water that high-capacity ships use to insure safe navigation and stability. At places of cargo loading and unloading, like ports, they discharge or take up ballast water. Every year ten million tons of ballast water is being discharged in the Adriatic, with tendency to increase considering development plans for Adriatic ports. It is estimated that worldwide, during one year period, around 4500 various organisms are being transported via ballast water. Possibility of Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens (HAOP) transfer, whose negative influence has already been documented in the Adriatic, is of special concern. To this point in time, 70 allochthonous species have been recorded in the Adriatic, for most of which can be told for sure they were introduced via ballast water. Twelve of these species can be found in „100 worst list“. Adriatic Sea is semi-enclosed sea, limited in water exchange with other seas, what makes it extremely susceptible to any form of pollution, introduction of non-indigenous species and, therefore, to all the dangers arising from ballast water discharge.
IPA Adriatic Programme has recognized the importance of this subject and approved the financing of the BALMAS project (Ballast Water Management System for Adriatic Sea Protection) that was devised as a project that interconnects Adriatic Sea research, experts and national authorities with the purpose of removing unwanted risk to environment and people, coming from transfer of HAOPs, through control and management of ships' ballast water.
The necessity for cross-border cooperation has been observed in dealing with this problem because specificity, dividedness, vulnerability, economic importance and semi-enclosed shape of the Adriatic Sea are the reasons why HAOP and international navigation cannot be put under context of political borders. Therefore, seventeen partner institutions from six countries (Italy, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Croatia) are taking part in this project. Project is composed of several sub-objectives:
1. baseline survey in 12 Adriatic ports encompassed in the project
- Italy: Bari, Ancona, Venezia and Trieste
- Slovenia: Koper
- Croatia: Pula, Rijeka, Šibenik, Split and Ploče
- Montenegro: Bar
- Albania: Durrës
2. development of monitoring plans for ports
3. establishment of Early Warning System (EWS) in ports
4. development of Decision Support System (DSS) to help national authorities make faster and more efficient decisions regarding ballast water management.