Transport Canada ballast regulations in The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway

News & Insights 29 January 2013


The IMO International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments was adopted in 2004.

The IMO International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments was adopted in 2004 with the purpose of avoiding the invasion of foreign aquatic species to new environments. Ships trading internationally will be familiar with these regulations and the practice of saltwater ballast exchange and tank flushing is well practiced.

In October 2012, users of the Great Lake and St. Lawrence waterway (“GLSLW”) network were advised of new regulations to be implemented by Transport Canada. The new regulations would impose the strict IMO guidelines upon transoceanic ships entering the GLSLW for the same purpose of avoiding foreign aquatic species invasion. In what appears to be a blanket approach, Transport Canada are intending to apply the same strict regulations to those ships which operate solely within the network of the GLSLW.

There is growing concern for those ship owners operating solely within the free flowing GLSLW as currently there is no scientific support that such owners have led to the introduction of any foreign aquatic species. More importantly, whilst ships trading in salt water have technology available to them for ballast water treatment, there are currently no freshwater ballast water treatment systems that exist and no indication of when they might be developed.

The impact of Transport Canada’s new regulations would be severe for GLSLW operators and be detrimental financially and physically on what is currently an environmentally safe means for the transportation of cargo within the network.

A new website has been set up by a group of interested parties providing information, updates and ways of supporting the issue.

Category: Pollution

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