Ballast water management system for Adriatic Sea protection


The BALMAS project is a strategic project within the IPA Adriatic Programme. The partnership consists of 15 partners from 6 countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro, Albania and Italy), with Institute for water of the Republic of Slovenia as a Lead partner. The total budget of the project is 7,1 million euro of which 6 million euro is co-funded by the European Union. The project started in 2013 and will last until September 2016.


Ballast water is recognized in the world as one of four global problems regarding the pollution and danger for the oceans and seas. This is the main reason why International Maritime Organization declared International Convention on the Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments in 2004. Ballast water is the sea water that high-capacity ships use to insure safe navigation and stability. At places of cargo loading and unloading in ports, they discharge or take up ballast water. Every year ten million tons of ballast water is being discharged in the Adriatic Sea. It is estimated that, during one year period, around 4500 various organisms are being transported worldwide via ballast water.

Ballast water transferred by vessels has been recognized as a prominent vector of harmful aquatic and pathogens species. The presence of harmful aquatic and pathogens species in ballast waters discharged into Adriatic ports has been proven, and their negative impacts have already been recorded. Adriatic countries have recognised that the BW issue is very critical and complex, and that key barriers to a viable solution are a lack of data and a lack of knowledge. Data and knowledge in the frame of BALMAS project will enable Adriatic countries to implement ballast water management Convention requirements through a common ballast water management plan, and provide support to responsible authorities for faster and effective decision making with a decision support system.

The general BALMAS objective is to establish a common cross-border system, which will link all researchers, experts and responsible national authorities from Adriatic countries in order to avoid unwanted risks to the environment from the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens – HAOP. This will be achieved through control and management of ships’ ballast waters and sediments. Further, long-term effective ballast water management in the Adriatic will be set at the cross-border level utilizing this project’s related knowledge and technology.

Project activities cover preparation of comprehensive analyse of the current state in the Adriatic ports through the port baseline surveys in 12 Adriatic ports (Koper, Trieste, Venezia, Bari, Ancona, Pula, Rijeka, Split, Šibenik, Ploče, Bar and Durres), development of monitoring plans for ports, establishment of early warning system in the ports, development of ballast water decision support system and ballast water management plan for Adriatic sea.
One of the important project goals of the BALMAS project is also to raise awareness among different target groups in all participating countries on the problem with the ballast water and to present common solutions for ballast water management in the Adriatic Sea.

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