iAfrica reported that South Africa will
ratify an international maritime convention aimed at stopping ships illegally discharging their ballast water while in local waters.
The government communications head said the meeting agreed to ratify the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ballast water and Sediment.
Ballast water is used in many cargo ships to maintain correct trim when the vessel is not fully laden.
A major problem associated with the discharge of such water from a ship is the dispersal of invasive marine species, picked up with the water in another area. Such organisms can become established in their new habitat, and prove almost impossible to eradicate.
In terms of the convention, adopted in 2004 at the diplomatic conference of the International Maritime Organization
, a ship may not discharge ballast water "until it can do so without presenting a threat of harm to the environment, human health, property or resources".
Vessels may be inspected by port control officers and in the event of concerns, a detailed inspection carried out.