The 2014 Summary of Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Management activities was released by the Great Lakes Ballast Water Working Group (BWWG) Thursday.
According to the report, 100 percent of ships bound for the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone received a ballast tank exam in 2014. In total, the BWWG partner agencies examined 8,497 ballast tanks during 454 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 sixth consecutive year that BWWG agencies ensured the examination of 100 percent of ballast tanks entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the group anticipates continued high ship compliance rates for the 2015 navigation season.
Since 2006, ballast water management requirements in the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway System have been the most stringent in the world, and 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.