- Ballast Water Management Plan
- Ballast Water Exchange
- Ballast Water Treatment
- Reporting Requirements
- Pleasure Craft and Search and Rescue Vessels
- Loaded Vessels with Tanks Containing Residual Ballast Water)
- Vessels Operating only in Waters Under Canadian Jurisdiction Subsequent to Operating Outside Waters Under Canadian Jurisdiction
- Compliance and Enforcement
The purpose of this guide is to provide information on the application of the Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations (the Regulations) made pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act. The purpose of the Regulations is to protect waters under Canadian jurisdiction from non-indigenous aquatic organisms and pathogens that can be harmful to ecosystems. When a new organism is introduced to an ecosystem, negative and irreversible changes may result including a change in biodiversity. Ballast water may have been associated with the unintentional introduction of a number of organisms into Canadian waters; several of which may have been extremely harmful to both the ecosystem and the economic well being of the nation. The Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations are intended to minimize the probability of future introductions of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens from ships’ ballast water while protecting the safety of ships. This guide is to be used as a companion document to the Regulations and should not be seen as adding to or detracting from existing statutory or regulatory requirements that will prevail in the case of conflict with this guide.
Voluntary provisions for ballast water exchange were first introduced in Canada in 1989 for ships traveling to the Great Lakes. Since that time, a number of significant developments have been made, including the following:
in 1991 ballast exchange guidelines were introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) - these were revised in 1997 as resolution A.868(20), Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water to Minimize the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens;
in 1993 the US Coast Guard introduced mandatory regulations that required ballast exchange for ships traveling to the Great Lakes – these were amended in 2004 to make reporting mandatory for all US waters and again in 2005 to make ballast water management mandatory in all US waters;
in 2000 the application of the Canadian guidelines was expanded to cover all waters under Canadian jurisdiction and they were renamed to the Guidelines for the Control of Ballast Water Discharge from Ships in Waters under Canadian Jurisdiction, TP 13617;
in 2002 the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., under agreement with the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., amended their joint Practices and Procedures, to make compliance with best management practices a mandatory prerequisite for transit of the Seaway system; and
- in 2004 the IMO finalized the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 – this new Convention introduced a performance standard for ballast water treatment and calls for the eventual phasing out of ballast water exchange, but is not yet in force.
The new Ballast Water Control and Management Regulations are harmonized to the maximum extent possible with current U.S. and international provisions, including the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004.
1.1 For the purposes of this Guide:
“exclusive economic zone” consists of an area of the sea beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea of Canada that has as its inner limit the outer limit of the territorial sea of Canada and as its outer limit the line every point of which is at a distance of 200 nautical miles from the nearest point of the baselines of the territorial sea of Canada or as specified in the Oceans Act.
“IMO” means the International Maritime Organization
“residual ballast” means ballast water, including sediments that are unable to be pumped out of a ballast tank under a vessel’s normal operational procedures.
2.1 Recognizing the importance of pre-planning in order to conduct any ballast water management procedure in a safe and effective manner, sections 11 and 12 of the Regulations outline the requirement for the preparation and carriage of a ballast water management plan.
2.2 A Canadian vessel registered under the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 is required to submit four copies of its ballast water management plan to a Regional Marine Safety Office.
2.3 Plans carried on Canadian and non-Canadian vessels should be reviewed by the national Administration, but do not have to be approved.
2.4 Ballast water management plans must include the information listed in section 11 of the Regulations. The following documents may be useful in preparing a ballast water management plan:
IMO Resolution A.868(20), Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water to Minimize the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens, in particular section 7.1.
the Model Ballast Water Management Plan developed by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO. )
Regulation B-1 of the IMO’s Regulations for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (not yet in force).
- Part B of the Annex to Resolution MEPC.127(53), Guidelines for Ballast Water Management and Development of Ballast Water Management Plans which is included as Schedule 1 of this Guide.
2.5 Vessels that conduct best management practices in accordance with section 5 of the Regulations and section 7 of this Guide should incorporate these practices into their ballast water management plan.
3.1 With the exception of vessels specifically exempted from the provision of the Regulations, all vessels are expected to exchange or treat their ballast prior to discharge in waters under Canadian jurisdiction.
3.2 When conducting ballast water exchange in order to meet the provisions of the Regulations, Part A of the IMO Guidelines For Ballast Water Management and Development of Ballast Water Management Plans and the IMO Guidelines for Ballast Water Exchange should be followed. The IMO Guidelines are included as Schedule 1 and 2 to this Guide.
3.3 The Regulations specify the procedures that must be followed for vessels on transoceanic and non-transoceanic voyages, including the recognition that under certain circumstances, for reasons of safety, equipment failure or practicality, the preferred option for management of ballast water may not always be possible. In these cases, those alternatives that are acceptable have been identified, particular to specific voyages. Cases where exchanging ballast would be impractical, such as where the voyage was not of sufficient length in waters suitable for exchange, shall be considered exceptional circumstances and the Minister shall be notified in accordance with section 13 of the Regulations.
3.4 In cases where the preferred option or alternatives are not complied with, the Master should be able to provide clear proof of why compliance was not possible.
3.5 In dealing with the exceptional circumstance where a vessel cannot comply with the specific provisions of the Regulations, the vessel will be required to implement one or more of the measures listed in subsection 13(5) of the Regulations. At a minimum, vessels would be required to discharge only the amount of ballast water operationally necessary for cargo operations. The Master may wish to suggest suitable measures to Transport Canada for consideration.
3.6 If, when verifying compliance through an onboard inspection, it is determined that the vessel does not comply with the Regulations (for example the salinity of the ballast is found to be below 30 parts per thousand as required in paragraph 8(2)(b) of the Regulations) or it is determined that the reasons provided for not complying were unjustified, then Transport Canada will treat the vessel the same as an exceptional circumstance and require the vessel to comply with one or more of the measures listed in subsection 13(5) of the Regulations.
3.7 A vessel shall not be required to deviate from its intended voyage, or delay the voyage, in order to conduct an exchange beyond 200 nautical miles from shore or beyond 50 nautical miles from shore as referred to in sections 6(1), 6(2), 6(4)(b), 7(1), 7(2) and 7(3)(b) of the Regulations. A vessel may however be required to deviate from its intended voyage or delay its voyage in order to conduct an exchange within waters under Canadian jurisdiction, as referred to in sections 6(3), 6(4)(a), 6(4)(c), 6(4)(d), 6(5), 7(3)(c) and 7(3)(d) of the Regulations.
3.8 In addition to the mandatory provisions in the Regulations, for vessels traveling to and from ports in the Bay of Fundy, it is recommended that exchange occur in the Gulf of Maine in waters greater than 100 metres deep, as indicated in Figure 1. It is also recommended that vessel traffic crossing the Gulf of Maine and using a coastal route along the Scotian Shelf should exchange in the Gulf of Maine in waters deeper than 100 metres.
3.9 Figure 1 also indicates the alternate exchange zone for transoceanic voyages to east coast ports referred to in paragraph 6(4)(a) of the Regulations and for non-transoceanic voyages along the east coast of North America referred to in paragraph 7(3)(a) of the Regulations.
Figure 1. Recommended ballast water exchange zones on the Scotian Shelf and Gulf of Maine
The magenta zone indicates that traffic transiting to/from the Bay of Fundy should exchange in the Gulf of Maine, in water deeper than 100 m. The yellow zone indicates that traffic crossing the Gulf of Maine and using a coastal route on the Scotia Shelf should exchange in the Gulf of Maine, in water deeper than 100 m. The green zone is the exchange zone for onshelf traffic heading to/from Nova Scotia, plus vessels following a shelfbreak path. Vessels should exchange in waters deeper than 1,000 m, west of Sable Island and the Gully and away from the entrance to N.E. Channel.
Please note that the coordinates for the Yellow and Magenta zones are not to be considered as strict geographical boundaries, but rather to illustrate the advice regarding exchanging in waters greater than 100 m in the Gulf of Maine.
Vessels are therefore strongly recommended to ensure that exchanges occur in depths greater than 100 m.
Yellow Zone – Traffic crossing the Gulf of Maine
Magenta Zone – Traffic to/from the Bay of Fundy
The Green Zone is the exchange zone for on-shelf traffic heading to/from Nova Scotia, plus vessels following a shelf-break path. Vessels are strongly recommended to exchange in waters deeper than 1,000 m, west of Sable Island and the gully and away from the entrance to the Northeast Channel.
Green Zone – Traffic heading to/from Nova Scotia
3.10 Notices to Mariners #995/1982 has imposed ballast water discharge restrictions for the Grande Entrée Lagoon of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine or within 10 miles of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine archipelago, to reduce the threat of introduction of toxic phytoplankton to local mussel farming industries.
Under this notice discharging of ballast water within 10 nautical miles of the Islands is prohibited unless the ballast water were pumped on board in a designated area off Canada's east coast at minimum distance of 5 miles from the shore.
All vessels planning to deballast in the protected waters defined above shall, at least three days in advance, notify the area Manager, DFO, in Cap-aux-Meules, telephone (418) 986-2095.
4.1 For ships choosing to use a treatment method other than ballast water exchange, the method will be acceptable if the ballast water, after treatment, meets the standard specified in section 9 of the Regulations. This standard is the same as the Ballast Water Performance Standard specified in Regulation D-2 of the IMO’s Regulations for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. It should be pointed out that the purpose of section 9 of the Regulations is to acknowledge that the use of IMO treatment systems is acceptable for ships coming to Canada, but there is no obligation at this time for any ship to fit such systems.
4.2 Treatment systems shall be installed and certified in accordance with the IMO Guidelines for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems (Resolution MEPC.125(53)) and, in the case of systems that use an active substance, the IMO Procedure for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems that make use of Active Substances (Resolution MEPC.126(53)).
4.3 In the case of prototype systems being tested and evaluated, this should be done in accordance with the procedures in the IMO Guidelines for Approval and Oversight of Prototype Ballast Water Treatment Technology Programmes (Resolution MEPC.140(54).
4.4 The use of a treatment system that does not meet the standard specified in section 9 of the Regulations may also be acceptable if it is at least equivalent to ballast water exchange, but such systems would have to be evaluated and accepted by Transport Canada on a case by case basis.
5.1 If a ship is unable to manage its ballast water as required under section 4 of the Regulations, subsection 13(1) requires them to notify the Minister of Transport at least 96 hours before entry into the territorial sea of Canada. Where this is not possible because the ship is not aware that it is unable to manage its ballast water, notification should be made as soon as possible. Notification should be made to the appropriate Centre listed in section 5.3 of this Guide and should provide the following information:
an explanation as to the inability to carry out exchange, and
what equivalent process the ship intends to carry out to minimize the threat of introduction of aquatic invasive species potentially entrained in the ballast water prior to entry into waters under Canadian jurisdiction.
For vessels proceeding to areas situated on the East Coast, in Quebec or in Ontario (Great Lakes Basin):
to Marine Communications and Traffic Services (ECAREG) by facsimile: (902) 426-4483, telex: 019 22510,
or telephone: (902) 426-4956.
For vessels proceeding to areas situated north of 60º N, including all the waters of Hudson Bay, Ungava Bay, and James Bay:
to Marine Communications and Traffic Services (NORDREG) by facsimile: (867) 979-4236, telex: 063 15529,
or telephone: (867) 979-5724.
For vessels proceeding to areas situated on the West Coast:
to Marine Communications and Traffic Services, by Email to:
email@example.com, by facsimile: (604) 666-8453
or telephone: (604) 666-6011.
5.2 As required by subsection 14(1) of the Regulations, the Master of a ship destined for a Canadian port, shall provide as soon as possible after a management process is performed or a measure determined by the Minister is implemented a fully completed ballast water reporting form as set out in section 10 of this Guide by e-mail transmission, or by other means described in section 5.3. It is requested that whenever possible the form be submitted prior to entry into waters under Canadian jurisdiction.
5.3 The Master of the ship shall provide the completed ballast water reporting form as follows:
For vessels proceeding to areas situated on the East Coast, in Quebec or in Ontario (Great Lakes Basin):
by Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by facsimile: (902) 426-6657
For vessels proceeding to areas situated north of 60º N, including all the waters of Hudsons Bay, Ungava Bay, and James Bay:
by Email to email@example.com,
or by facsimile: (902) 426-6657
For vessels proceeding to areas situated on the West Coast:
by Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by facsimile: (604) 666-9177
5.4 Vessels subject to the Regulations that have not submitted a fully completed form in accordance with section 14 of the Regulation will be requested to provide the appropriate Marine Communication and Traffic Services Centre with the following information as part of the MCTS interrogative:
Whether a ballast water reporting form signed by the Master has been provided by facsimile to the appropriate agency (i.e. Transport Canada Marine Safety, port authorities or the U.S. Coast Guard) or has been submitted by electronic or other acceptable means.
Whether ballast water is being carried.
If the answer to (b) is affirmative:
Whether the vessel has a Ballast Water Management Plan appropriate to that vessel.
Whether the Ballast Water Management Plan has been reviewed by a classification society or flag administration.
Whether ballast water management procedures have been performed prior to entering Canada’s exclusive economic zone
If the answer to (f) is negative:
What is the reason for non-performance?
What procedures, are proposed to protect Canada’s waters prior to discharge of ballast?
5.5 Under section 191 of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 it is an offence to contravene any provision of the regulations.
6.1 Under subsection 2(2) of the Regulations ships used for search and rescue operations or pleasure craft that are less than 50 m in overall length and that have a maximum ballast water capacity of 8 m3 are exempted from the application of the Regulations.
6.2 If carrying ballast, these vessels should, insofar as practicable, either comply with the requirements of the Regulations or meet the provisions of the IMO Guidelines for Ballast Water Management Equivalent Compliance contained in Resolution MEPC.123(53). The IMO Guidelines are included as Schedule 3 to this Guide.
7. Loaded Vessels with Tanks Containing Residual Ballast Water
7.1 Loaded vessels coming from outside waters under Canadian jurisdiction normally carry some residual ballast water onboard. Any vessel intending to take on ballast in tanks containing residual ballast water and subsequently discharge it in waters under Canadian jurisdiction, must ensure that proper management procedures have been followed.
Vessels must ensure that the residual ballast water has been exposed to salinity conditions equivalent to ballast exchange by complying with one of the following options:
- the residual ballast came from ballast that was properly exchanged at sea;
- the residual ballast meets the international standard for treated ballast water;
- the vessel complies with sections 1, 2, 6 and 7 of the Code of Best Practices for Ballast Water Management, published by the Shipping Federation of Canada; or
- the vessel conducted a saltwater flushing at least 200 nautical miles from shore.
The vessel shall conduct mid-ocean ballast water exchange during ballast-laden voyages in an area 200 nautical miles from any shore and in water 2,000 meters deep whenever possible, prior to entering waters under Canadian jurisdiction. Vessels unable to conduct mid-ocean ballast water exchange during ballast laden voyages shall conduct saltwater flushing of their empty ballast water tanks in an area 200 nautical miles from any shore, whenever possible. Saltwater flushing is defined as the addition of mid-ocean water to empty ballast water tanks; the mixing of the flush water with residual water and sediment through the motion of the vessel; and the discharge of the mixed water, such that the resultant residual water remaining in the tank has as high a salinity as possible, and preferably is greater than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). The vessel should take on as much mid-ocean water into each tank as is safe (for the vessel and crew) in order to conduct saltwater flushing. The master of the vessel is responsible for ensuring the safety of the vessel, crew, and passengers. Vessels reporting only residual ballast water onboard should take particular care to conduct saltwater flushing on the transit to the Great Lakes so as to eliminate fresh and or brackish water residuals in ballast tanks.
The St Lawrence Seaway Authorities' mandatory requirement contained in subsection 30(2) of the Seaway Practices and Procedures (http://www.greatlakesseaway.com/en/navigation/handbook.html) which indicates that to obtain clearance to transit the Seaway every vessel entering the Seaway after operating beyond the exclusive economic zone must agree to comply with the "Code of Best Practices for Ballast Water Management" of the Shipping Federation of Canada (see Seaway Notice No. 6 - 2002 at http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/navigation/notice20020322e.html).
7.2 Vessels unable to comply with section 7.1 above, shall notify the Minister of Transport, who may, if found that the vessel did not comply with best management practices, in consultation with the Master, request that the any ballast water taken aboard in the St Lawrence River or Great Lakes, be retained on board, treated on board or discharged to a reception facility and the vessel may be subject to inspection and detention if found to have detainable deficiencies.
7.3 Vessels that operate within the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River should comply with the "Voluntary Management Practices to Reduce the Transfer of Aquatic Nuisance Species Within the Great Lakes by U.S. and Canadian Domestic Shipping" of the Lake Carriers Association and the Canadian Shipowners Association while operating anywhere within the Great Lakes and the Seaway (see Seaway Notice No. 6 - 2002 at http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/navigation/notice20020322e.html).
8. Vessels Operating only in Waters Under Canadian Jurisdiction Subsequent to Operating Outside Waters Under Canadian Jurisdiction
8.1 Subsection 2(1) of the Regulations provides an exemption for ships operating exclusively in waters under Canadian jurisdiction or certain adjacent waters. Since ships that have operated outside these waters may carry harmful aquatic organisms or pathogens in their residual ballast, the exemption is not applicable to any ship that has made a voyage outside these waters.
8.2 Where a ship that has operated outside the waters mentioned in subsection 2(1) of the Regulations and subsequently operates only in these waters (for example an existing ship brought into Canadian registry, a ship on the coasting trade or a Canadian ship employed elsewhere and returning to the Canadian trade) and carries residual ballast that might be discharged directly or after being mixed with other waters, Transport Canada will initially treat the ship the same as an exceptional circumstance and require the ship to comply with one or more of the provisions listed in subsection 13(5) of the Regulations. Transport Canada will determine how long these provisions must be complied with before it can be considered that the ship is no longer discharging ballast taken on board the ship outside of waters under Canadian jurisdiction – at this point the requirements of sections 6 and 7 of the Regulations would no longer be applicable and ballast water management would no longer be necessary.
9.1 A vessel may be subject to inspection by Transport Canada inspectors for the purpose of determining whether the vessel is in compliance with the Regulations. Such inspection may include inspection of the ballast water record book, ballast water management plan, sampling of the vessels ballast water, and any other documentation or assistance as required by the inspector.
9.2 When Transport Canada receives a report that a vessel is not able to comply with the provisions of the Regulations, the situation is treated as an "exceptional circumstance" in accordance with section 13 of the Regulations. Transport Canada inspectors will, in consultation with the master, determine the measures that will need to be taken to reduce as much as practicable the likelihood of the introduction of harmful aquatic organisms or pathogens into waters under Canadian jurisdiction. In such cases, masters should be prepared to provide information respecting the nature of the ballast water being carried and possible operations that the vessel could take.
9.3 In cases where Transport Canada determines that a vessel did not comply with the Regulations and / or the "Code of Best Practices for Ballast Water Management" published by the Shipping Federation of Canada, as applicable, the vessel may be subject to inspection and detention in accordance with subsection 222(1) of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
9.4 An example of the inspection form used by Transport Canada is attached as Schedule 4 of this Guide.
10.1 In addition to any inspections to verify compliance with the provisions of the Regulations, vessels may be boarded and samples of ballast water may be collected for scientific analysis in order to further research the effectiveness of ballast water management.
10.2 Masters and owners are requested to provide as much assistance as possible to those persons involved with the scientific analysis.
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