After 40 Years, NPA Complies With Convention on Ballast water

Implementation of the convention on Ballast Water Management in Nigeria will take effect soon; so says the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
Speaking at a capacity building workshop by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria, MARAN ,in Lagos, the Senior Manager Environment at the NPA, Mr. Sani Shehu announced the determination of the authority to start complying with the recommendations of the convention, which was established as far back as 1980.
The training was in collaboration with NPA and the Nigerian Shippers Council,, (NSC)
Ballast water which is the volumes of water pumped into ships in order to keep them stable on the water, has been an issue of concern, given that the waste waters, containing hazardous substances, were discharged indiscriminately into water bodies, thus fueling contamination of oceans and rivers.

According to Shehu, ballast water is defined as a vector through which harmful Acquatic Organisms and Pathogens (HAOP) are transferred from one place to another.
“Shipping has been widely recognized as a major component of international trade, driving the most effective means of transporting bulk cargoes and passengers across borders of water from one place to another over long distance.
“For safety of the ships and oil tankers, ballast water is required to maintain stability throughout their voyages especially when empty or having insufficient load,’’ he said.
Shehu said that Bassel convention established in 1980 was aimed at controlling trans boundry movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal.
The overall objectives he explained were to among others ensure that hazardous wastes were disposed close to their sources of generation, minimize their generation and prohibit shipment of such wastes.
He pointed out that before now, there was no legislative framework in Nigeria backing the convention, which also explained why the NPA was not checking for compliance; but with the law now in place, the NPA had to immediately capture into its activities, the recommendations on ballast water.
On modalities for implementation, Shehu said, for ships that have the same coastal line with Nigeria like Ghana, the authority might not bother to check but for international ships, they would be needed to discharge their ballast water 200km away from the country.
While declaring that the NPA was committed to zero tolerance on illegal discharges from ships, Shehu said for effective ballast water management, there was need for adequate reception facilities in ports.
He listed some of the challenges of the convention to include insufficient funds, scarcity of ballast water sediment, treatment facility, dearth of trained manpower to the programme and others.
Shehu added that in the whole West Africa, it was only Nigeria that had the sediment treatment facility.

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