Reporting to port states
Several countries have become aware of the potential, through discharge of ships’ ballast water, for the transfer into their coastal areas of what are found to be harmful aquatic organisms. Governments have recognised that, before devising mandatory controls on ships, it is necessary to know the scale of what has, until very recently, been an unrecorded procedure.
Concerned countries have therefore introduced a requirement which, though often differing in detail, generally calls for ships to report in advance, to the national monitoring authority, how much ballast water will be on board on arrival, where it was taken on board, and whether a ballast management procedure has been followed. In most cases it is mandatory to make the report, even though the actual ballast exchange in mid-ocean (or other management procedure) remains voluntary.
To assist in this regard, wherever possible the plan contains the format of the relevant national reporting forms.