The Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group announces the release of the 2013 Summary of Great Lakes Seaway ballast water management report.
The mission of the BWWG is to harmonize ballast water management efforts between: the U. S. Coast Guard, Transport Canada – Marine Safety and Security, the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.
Since 2006, ballast water management requirements in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway System have been the most stringent in the world. As a result, independent research by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Science) has indicated that the risk of new aquatic invasive species being introduced into the Great Lakes via ballast water has been mitigated to extremely low levels.
In 2013, 100% of ships bound for the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone received a ballast tank exam. In total, the BWWG partner agencies examined 6,803 ballast tanks during 371 vessel transits. Vessels that did not exchange their ballast water or flush their ballast tanks were required to either retain the ballast water and residuals on board, treat the ballast water in an environmentally sound and approved manner, or return to sea to conduct a ballast water exchange.
This is the fifth consecutive year that BWWG agencies ensured the examination of 100% of ballast tanks entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the group anticipates continued high ship compliance rates for the 2014 navigation season.