Ballast Water Management
Stability is necessary for a ship to sail safely. For this reason, seawater is collected and taken to the bottom of the ship and stored in specially made compartments. This water is used to maintain the ship’s stability and it is known as ballast water. This practice of pumping ballast water not only provides stability, it also reduces stress on the hull, improves propulsion and maneuverability and compensates for weight lost due to fuel and water consumption.
It is presumed that 10 to 12 billion tonnes of ballast water moves per year when ships are drained at harbours all around the world. This has a devastating effect on marine life, which moves with ballast water. Using water anaylsis methods and particle size analyzers, it has been found about 4,500 types marine organisms including plants; animals and bacteria are transported per day. These materials often include non-native, nuisance, exotic species that can cause extensive ecological and economic damage to aquatic ecosystems. It is believed that a marine species invades a new environment somewhere in the world every nine weeks. Apart from the threat that comes with the movement of marine life, there are also issues pertaining to overexploitation of living marine resources and physical alteration and destruction of marine habitats.
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