DRAFT POLICY ON THE MANAGEMENT
OF BALLAST WATER IN SOUTH AFRICA
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This draft policy has been prepared under the South African component of the
GEF/UNDP/IMO Global Ballast Water Management Programme (“GloBallast”). It
draws on several previous studies done under the GloBallast programme, including a
Legislative Review Report prepared by Professor Jan Glazewski and Emma Witbooi of
the Institute of Marine Environmental Law, University of Cape Town. This draft policy
on the management of ballast water in South Africa is based on the discussion of the
National Ballast Water Management Policy Workshop held at Saldanha Bay, South
Africa, from 26 to 27 March 2002. The workshop was attended by a wide range of
stakeholders who have been closely involved in the GloBallast project from the outset,
including representatives of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, The
Department of Health, the South African Maritime Safety Authority, the National Ports
Authority, the National Ports Operations and the Wildlife and Environmental Society of
This document has been produced to facilitate further discussions aimed at producing a
draft Policy on the Management of Ballast Water in South Africa that can be submitted to
the Cabinet for approval and adoption as a White Paper. As such, it is a working
document and at this stage does not reflect the position of the Government of South
Africa, the IMO, the Global Ballast Water Management Programme, nor any of the
organisations involved in the National Ballast Water Management Policy workshop.
1. BACKGROUND ..................................................................................................................................4
2. OVERALL PURPOSE ........................................................................................................................5
3. SCOPE ..................................................................................................................................................6
4. THE CONTEXT ..................................................................................................................................7
5. PRINCIPLES .....................................................................................................................................11
6. APPROACH .......................................................................................................................................12
7. POLICY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES ...........................................................................................15
A. IMPROVING THE INFORMATION BASE FOR DECISION MAKING .....................................15
B. ESTABLISHING BALLAST WATER MANAGEMENT PROGRAMMES FOR PORTS ...........16
C. INTEGRATION INTO AN EFFECTIVE NATIONAL BIO-SECURITY FRAMEWORK ...........17
D. SHIP-BOARD MEASURES ...........................................................................................................19
E. INTERNATIONAL MATTERS .....................................................................................................20
8. IMPLEMENTATION .......................................................................................................................21
8.1. CURRENT INTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE .................................................................................21
8.2. NEW INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY .......................22
8.3. NEW LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY .............................................................23
8.3. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS AND MECHANISMS .................................................................24
9. MONITORING AND REVIEW .......................................................................................................25
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Alien organisms Plants, animals and micro-organisms which are deliberately or
accidentally introduced by humans to ecosystems outside of
their natural range.
biosecurity Safety from the risks posed by organisms and pathogens to the
economy, environment and the health of people and animals
BWMP Ballast Water Management Plan
CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
DEAT Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism of the
DoH Department of Health of the National government
DoT Department of Transport of the National government
Draft Ballast Water The draft International Convention for the Control and
Convention Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (IMO,
MEPC 46/3/2) (scheduled for adoption in 2003)
DTI Department of Trade and Industry of the National government
IMO International Maritime Organisation
IMO Guidelines IMO Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’
Ballast Water to Minimise the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic
Organisms and Pathogens
NEMA National Environmental Management Act, 107 of 1998
NPA National Ports Authority
NPO National Ports Operations
SAMSA South African Marine Safety Authority
UNCLOS United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea
WESSA Wildlife and Environmental Society of South Africa
NATIONAL POLICY ON THE MANAGEMENT OF BALLAST
WATER IN SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa is particularly rich in biodiversity and is ranked as the third most
biologically diverse country in the world.1 Its western shores are washed by the Atlantic
Ocean, its eastern shores by the Indian Ocean and it has territories (the Prince Edward
Islands) within the Southern Ocean. The interaction between the cold Benguela current,
the warm Agulhas current, and oceanic water has produced very varied marine habitats
and a remarkable degree of marine biodiversity. An estimated 16% of the total number
of marine fish species in the world and almost 15% of the coastal species known
worldwide are found in South African waters, with about 12% of these occurring
South Africa is also situated on a busy international shipping route and has a number of
major ports within its territory. The economy of South Africa and of many countries in
the interior are dependant to a significant degree on imports and exports via South
African ports. The ships that come in to South African ports to pick up commodities
being exported often discharge large volumes of ballast water. They may also transfer
ballast water within South African waters, as do coastal merchant vessels and the many
fishing vessels that operate from South African ports and fishing harbours.
Ships need ballast to operate safely and efficiently and for many decades have been using
seawater for this purpose. The ballast water gives added stability, limits hull stresses, and
improves steerage. Once a ship has discharged its cargo it will normally pump ballast
water into its tanks before it leaves port and then discharge the ballast water, and any
sediment in the ballast tanks, in or near the port of destination. This is often done
partially outside, but near to the port, and partially within the port as cargo is loaded.
When a ship takes on ballast water it often also pumps sediments into its tanks which
may contain the cysts of marine organisms like dinoflagellates. The ballast water itself
may contain thousands of species that are not excluded by in-take filters because most
marine species go through a planktonic stage of development. When ships de-ballast,
organisms that were taken up with the water and sediment when ballasting may be
introduced into the marine environment of the destination port and may establish
themselves there. These exotic marine organisms may pose risks to the local marine
ecosystems, to economic interests (e.g. by affecting local fishing or aquaculture industries
or by fouling infrastructure) and to public health.
The risks posed by non-intentional introductions of marine organisms and pathogens via
ballast water are serious. The approximately 40,000 major cargo vessels in the world
have been estimated to transfer 12 billion tonnes of ballast water around the world each
year, of which some 22 million tonnes are discharged within South African waters. On
The White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biological Diversity.
any given day it is estimated that in excess of 4500 species are being transported around
the world in ballast water. Approximately 8 million tonnes of ballast water are
discharged each year in the port of Saldanha alone, bringing in an unknown number of
alien organisms. Once a harmful pathogen or marine organism is introduced it is usually
very difficult or impossible to prevent wide-spread harm. For example it is believed that
the 1991-1993 cholera pandemic in Latin America that resulted in more than 10,000
deaths, was caused by the introduction into rivers of a pathogen contained in ballast water
taken aboard near the coast of India. When the United States authorities sampled the
ballast water of 19 vessels arriving in the Gulf of Mexico from Latin America during this
period, five were found to contain the strain of cholera that caused the epidemic.
The introduction of new species may also result in drastic changes to ecosystems and
cause severe socio-economic problems. For example, the European Zebra Mussel
(Dreissena polymorpha) has infested over 40% of the internal waterways of the USA and
control measures since 1989 have cost in the region of US$5 billion. Similarly the
introduction of the filter-feeding North American comb jelly (Mnemiopsis leidyi) into the
Black Sea has depleted native plankton stocks to such an extent that it has contributed to
the collapse of the entire commercial fisheries.
Marine organisms may also be introduced to the South African marine environment in
other ways. For example, the process of de-fouling vessels which involves scraping clean
the hulls of vessels, dislodges communities of living organisms attached to vessels.
Unless the defouling takes place in a dry dock, these organisms will be introduced into
the local marine environment. Other marine organisms, such as mussels, are introduced
intentionally for the purposes of mariculture. Consequently, while effective ballast water
management is essential to protect South Africa’s environment, marine biosecurity can
never be achieved by ballast water management alone.
South Africa is highly dependent on trade by sea and at present there is no practical
alternative to the use of ballast water by ships. On the other hand, people of South Africa
have a constitutional right to an environment that it not harmful to their health or well-
being and to have that environment protected, by reasonable legislative and other
measures, for the benefit of current and future generations. Furthermore, managing the
transfer of exotic aquatic organisms and pathogens in ballast water requires an
international approach. It is clearly in South Africa’s interests to put in place
management measures that minimise the import and export of aquatic organisms and
pathogens in ballast water and sediments, and to encourage other maritime nations to do
likewise. This policy seeks to recognise and balance these conflicting objectives and to
provide a clear statement of how the Government intends to reduce the risks of harmful
aquatic organisms and pathogens being transferred via ballast water to, or within our
2. OVERALL PURPOSE
The primary purpose of this policy is to avoid the accidental introduction via ballast
water, and the establishment within South African waters of any exotic marine organisms
and pathogens. Where it is not reasonably possible to achieve this, the policy aims to
control, and where appropriate, eradicate, any pathogens and harmful exotic marine
organisms that have become established. The policy is also intended to implement South
Africa’s international law obligations and to support the implementation of international
initiatives to control and manage the discharge of ballast water and sediments from ships
in order to prevent, reduce and minimise the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and
South Africa has assumed a number of international commitments, both non-binding and
binding under international law, that are relevant to the management of ballast water.
These include actual and prospective obligations under:
Article 196 of the United Nation’s Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
which provides that “States shall take all measures necessary to prevent, reduce and
control … the intentional or accidental introduction of species, alien or new, to a
particular part of the marine environment, which may cause significant and harmful
the Convention on Biological Diversity (“CBD”) to avert threats to the conservation
and sustainable use of biological diversity as well as relevant decisions by the
conference of the parties to the CBD, including decisions IV/5 concerning the
conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal ecosystems;2
the IMO Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water to
Minimise the Transfer of Harmful Aquatic Organisms and Pathogens (“the IMO
the draft International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast
Water and Sediments (IMO, MEPC 46/3/2) that is scheduled for adoption in 2003.
This policy is intended:
1. to provide a clear statement of how the Government of South Africa intends to
deal with the risk of aquatic organisms and pathogens being transferred in
ballast water or sediment in ballast tanks;
2. to inform related Government policies, and future strategies, action plans, and
Government expenditure in this regard; and
3. to guide decision-makers who are required to make decisions affecting the
management of ballast water and sediment.
This policy applies to all discharges of ballast water and associated sediments by any ship
This decision of the 4th Conference of the Parties can be found at http://www.biodiv.org/decisions .
within South African internal waters, territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone,
as well as to the ballasting practices of ships that fly the South African flag, wherever
they occur. The policy applies to all discharges of ballast water and associated sediment
in South Africa regardless of where the water comes from, because even the transfer
within South African territorial waters of pathogens or aquatic organisms to areas in
which they do not naturally occur, may give rise to problems.
This policy concentrates exclusively on ballast water and associated sediments. However
the Government is conscious that ballast water is only one means (vector) by which
aquatic organisms and pathogens can be transferred. This means that other measures
must also be taken to reduce the risks associated with other activities (in particular the
practice of de-fouling vessels within ports and introductions for mariculture) in order to
avoid undermining the effectiveness of a ballast water management programme.
4. THE CONTEXT
This policy must be understood within a context that includes:
the wider issue of achieving “biosecurity”;
other government policies;
the legal framework; and
South Africa’s obligations under international law and its responsibilities as a
member of the international community.
4.1. The wider “biosecurity” challenge
The Government is also conscious that the threats that this policy seeks to address are
part of a much larger issue. The challenge is how to protect the environment within
South Africa and consequently the health and well-being of humans, animals and plants,
from potentially harmful invasive alien species, while allowing the free movement of
goods and people.
This policy uses the term “biosecurity” to refer to the idea of safety from the risks posed
by organisms and pathogens to the economy, environment and the health of people and
animals. The challenge of maintaining “biosecurity” within South Africa has many
different dimensions and incorporates a wide range of specific problems. These include
the introduction and spread of invasive alien plants, animal diseases, and plant pests, all
of which are currently addressed separately. Addressing the biosecurity challenge in a
comprehensive, integrated and effective way will require the Government to make far-
reaching changes in the way that it currently addresses these issues. This is likely to
require the formulation of a broad national biosecurity policy, the amalgamation of
existing institutions or the establishment of new institutions - staffed by officials with
many different skills, and the enactment of new legislation. Introducing such far-
reaching changes requires wide-ranging consultation, and careful thought and planning.
All of this will take time. Readers should, therefore, be aware that although this
document reflects a complete statement of the South African Government’s current
policy on ballast water management, it is proposed that it will eventually form part of a
wider and more comprehensive national policy on biosecurity.
4.2 The policy context
It is important to appreciate how this policy fits in with other relevant government
policies, in particular:
the White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s
Biological Diversity (“the Biodiversity White Paper”); and
the White Paper on Sustainable Coastal Management for South Africa (“the Coastal
The Biodiversity White Paper
One of the main policy objectives of the Biodiversity White Paper is to “prevent the
introduction of potentially harmful alien species and control and eradicate alien species
which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species” (policy objective 1.6).
The Biodiversity White Paper emphasises that the Government is committed to
controlling and regulating the introduction and spread of alien organisms and recognises
that in the past many control efforts were unsuccessful and were not cost effective
because they were only taken after a problem had arisen. Accordingly, the White Paper
states that in future the Government “will adopt a proactive, preventative and
precautionary approach to control the introduction and spread of alien organisms. This
approach will take into consideration the need to balance the risks associated with
introducing and releasing alien organisms with the potential social, economic and
environmental benefits derived therefrom.” One of the strategies to achieve this is to
“prevent wherever feasible the unintentional introduction of alien organisms to South
The Biodiversity White Paper also establishes a number of “guiding principles” to guide
the application, assessment and further development of the biodiversity policy and
strategy. Several of these principles are directly relevant to this policy and have been
taken into account in formulating the draft Ballast Water Management Policy. These
the duty of care that requires that all people and organisations should act with due
care to conserve and avoid negative impacts on biodiversity, and to use biological
resources sustainably, equitably and efficiently (principle 2.3.2);
the precautionary principle which requires that action should be considered to avoid
or minimise actual or potential threats to biological diversity even if the scientific
evidence proving that biological diversity is being threatened or lost, is not conclusive
the principle of co-ordination and cooperation which requires that there must be
coordination between other plans, programmes and policies which have implications
for the conservation of biodiversity and use of biological resources (principle 2.3.12);
the principle of global and international responsibility which requires that South
Africa must share responsibility for ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of
biodiversity beyond our borders (principle 2.3.14); and
the principle of on-going evaluation and review which means that the biodiversity
policy will not be an end in itself, but rather part of an iterative process and will
regularly be monitored and reviewed and new strategies adopted where appropriate
The Coastal White Paper
One of the main goals of the Coastal White Paper is “to maintain the diversity, health and
productivity of coastal processes and ecosystems” (Goal D1). The White Paper states
explicitly that achieving this goal will require that the “Introduction of exotic organisms
into coastal waters, for example, via ship ballast water, hull clearing (sic) and
mariculture, will need to be prevented” (p 61).
4.3. The legal framework
This policy must also be understood within the context of the existing legal framework in
South Africa.3 The Constitution and the National Environmental Management Act
(“NEMA”) are particularly relevant here.
The Constitution provides in section 24 of the Bill of Rights that:
“Everyone has the right:
a. to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being and
b. to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations,
through reasonable legislative and other measures that:
i. prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
ii. promote conservation; and
For a fuller description of the legal framework, see the report prepared by Jan Glazewski and Emma
Witbooi of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Law at the University of Cape Town “Report on the
Globallast South Africa Legislative Review for Ballast Water Management and Recommendations for
Implementation of IMO Resolution A.868(20).
iii. secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while
promoting justifiable economic and social development.”
This policy and the measures that will be taken to implement it, must therefore be
understood as one of the “ reasonable other measures” that the state is required to take to
prevent ecological degradation and promote conservation in order protect the
environment for the benefit of the present and future generations. It is also, of course,
intended to help to ensure that the marine environment does not become harmful to the
health or well being of any person. However it is also important to appreciate that
everyone, and not only the state, is required to play their part in securing the
constitutional rights of South Africans. This means that everyone who is in a position to
take reasonable measures to prevent the introduction of potentially harmful aquatic
species in ballast water, must do so.
The National Environmental Management Act
NEMA establishes certain national environmental management principles that must be
applied to the actions of all organs of state that may significantly affect the environment.
These principles require that:
the disturbance of ecosystems and loss of biological diversity is avoided and where it
cannot be avoided is minimised and remedied (section 2(4)(a)(i)); and
a risk-averse and cautious approach is applied, which takes into account the limits of
current knowledge about the consequences of decisions and actions (section
NEMA also establishes a “duty of care” which requires that:
“28 (1) Every person who causes, has caused or may cause significant pollution or degradation of
the environment must take reasonable measures to prevent such pollution or degradation from
occurring, continuing or recurring, or, in so far as such harm to the environment is authorised by
law or cannot reasonably be avoided or stopped, to minimise and rectify such pollution or
degradation of the environment.”
This policy is intended to provide guidance of the kinds of reasonable measures that must
be taken, firstly to prevent the environment from being degraded as a result of the
introduction of alien organisms via ballast water, and secondly to minimise any
environmental degradation if alien organisms are introduced.
The South African legal framework must itself be understood in relation to the body of
international law. In this case it is important to be conscious of South Africa’s
obligations under international conventions to which it is a party. In particular, South
Africa has obligations:
under UNCLOS to take measures to prevent, reduce and control the introduction of
potentially harmful new or alien marine species (Article 196(1)); and
under the CBD, to “prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien
species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species (Article 8(h)).
South Africa also participates in several international initiatives to address the problems
associated with the introduction of alien species. These initiatives include the global
strategy and action plan being developed by the Global Invasive Species Programme with
the participation of a range of international organisations including the secretariat of the
CBD, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the IMO as well as the
Globallast Programme under which this draft policy has been formulated.
This policy is based on the principles set out below. These principles should also be used
in interpreting the policy and as a guide to implementing the policy, particularly when
deciding how to deal with situations that are not addressed specifically in this policy.
1. Consistency with law
Any controls that are applied to vessels must be in accordance with international
law and South African law, and must as far as possible, be consistent with the
resolutions of the IMO.
Any controls that are applied must be environmentally acceptable, reasonably
practicable to implement and take account of potential impacts on trade.
Controls must be implemented in a manner that does not compromise the safety of
ships or of their crews.
The policy must not be implemented in a manner that discriminates between South
African ships and foreign-registered ships.
5. Precautionary principle
Control measures must be consistent with the precautionary principle which
requires that the absence of conclusive scientific information as to whether or not:
(a) an organism is likely to be harmful when introduced into a part of the marine
environment in which it does not naturally occur, must not be used as a
justification for not taking reasonable measures to prevent the transfer of that
(b) any activity is having a significant adverse effect on the environment must
not be used as a justification for not taking reasonable measures to protect the
environment from the possible effects of that activity;
(c) any proposed activity that requires authorisation by law will have a
significant adverse effect on the environment must not be used as a
justification for authorising the proposed activity. 4
6. Preventive approach
A preventive approach must be adopted, which requires that any potential adverse
effect on the environment should be anticipated and wherever reasonably possible,
7. Best techniques
Controls must take into account the development of new and improved techniques
and technologies for managing ballast water and continually seek to improve levels
of biosecurity as such technologies and techniques become available.
6.1. Different approaches to ballast water management
The approaches taken by different countries to managing ballast water can, broadly
speaking, be grouped into two categories, which are referred to in this policy as the “risk
management approach” and the “blanket approach”, respectively. The former approach
focuses on assessing the risk posed by each vessel and then using the vessel’s risk profile
to determine the management measures that will be required (i.e. vessels that are seen as
posing a greater risk will be required to take more stringent precautions). On the other
hand, the blanket approach regards all vessels carrying ballast water as posing a potential
risk and requires them all to take specified measures to reduce or eliminate that risk.
Despite this difference it is important to appreciate that both approaches have as their
objective reducing or eliminating the risks of unintended introductions of alien or new
species, and both may use the same management techniques.
Management techniques themselves can be broadly divided into three groups namely,
ballast water management, ballast water exchange and ballast water treatment.
Ballast water management
These include: minimising the uptake of potentially harmful organisms and sediments by
avoiding uptake in specified areas; routine cleaning of ballast tanks; reducing or
minimising discharges of ballast water, particularly in environmentally sensitive areas;
and discharge to reception facilities where they are available.
Further thought needs to be given to how we can adapt this to make it more specific to ballast water.
Ballast water exchange
This involves replacing ballast water taken up in coastal areas with mid-ocean water and
is based on the premise that mid-ocean species are less likely to survive in the coastal
waters at the port of destination.
Ballast water treatment
This involves disinfecting or otherwise treating ballast water while aboard to kill or
remove living organisms. Options currently being considered include thermal methods,
filtration, ultraviolet light, centrifugation etc.
6.2. The risk management approach
The risk management approach relies on the use of fairly sophisticated methodologies for
assessing the risks associated with the ballast water carried aboard any particular vessel.
The degree of risk is assessed on the basis of a range of factors such as the similarities
between the marine environments of the ports of loading and discharge and the risk of
pathogens existing at the place where the ballast water is taken aboard.
The authorities then rely on this risk assessment to decide on the management measures
to be applied. For example, if the authorities believe that the risk of ballast water aboard
a particular ship introducing unwanted alien species is high because the ship took on
ballast water in coastal waters that contain species that could survive in the environment
near the port of destination, they may require the ship either to “exchange” all of its
ballast water by replacing it with other water taken on far from shore, before it arrives at
its destination, or to provide proof that it has acceptable treatment technologies on board.
6.3. The blanket approach
The blanket approach is based on the recognition that all untreated ballast water and
sediment presents a risk because:
(a) even a small number of organisms that are alien or new to a particular part of the
marine environment may be enough to result in their being established there with
potentially grave long-term consequences; and
(b) it is difficult or impossible to assess in advance what the effects of introducing a
new organism into any given environment will be.
Consequently advocates of this approach argue that the ultimate objective of preventing
introductions cannot be achieved by the risk management approach and that all vessels
that take on or discharge ballast and sediments must take measures to prevent the transfer
of marine species. Since the ballast water management technologies and techniques that
are currently available are incapable of eliminating the risk of transfers of organisms in
ballast water and sediment, supporters of the blanket approach emphasise the need to
focus on improving technologies and techniques for treating ballast water in order to
achieve this objective.
6.4. The South African approach
After careful consideration, the South African Government has decided to adopt the
blanket approach. Furthermore, they regard ballast water exchange as an inadequate
means of reducing the risks, and consider it as an interim measure that should be replaced
as soon as possible by ballast water treatment techniques that are safer and more
In deciding to adopt this approach the Government has taken into account:
its obligations under both international and South African law to take measures
that are reasonable or necessary to prevent the introduction of potentially
harmful alien or new organisms;
the limits of current knowledge regarding both the potential effects of the
introduction of any new or alien organisms into the South African marine
environment and how best to minimise the risk of introductions;
the fact that South Africa does not currently have the capacity to implement a
risk assessment based approach adequately;
emerging evidence that suggests that ballast water exchange may be a less
effective management technique than previously thought given that:
i) it simply results in replacing some of the organisms in ballast tanks with
ii) it supplies all organisms in the tanks with more nutrients and can lead to
enhanced growth of organisms within the ballast tanks;
iii) there is growing concern over the risks of introducing coastal species to
the high seas.
In order to minimise disruptive effect on trade, the Government intends to phase in the
introduction of ballast water control measures and to increase progressively the standards
required as improved techniques and technologies become available. As part of the
phasing in of this approach, the Government intends communicating this draft policy to
the key stakeholders and to give them an opportunity to become involved in the
finalisation thereof, and in the development of any new legislation that may be required.
In engaging with stakeholders to develop an effective ballast water management system
for South Africa, the Government also expects stakeholders to co-operate by providing
any information concerning current ballast water practices which may be required to
inform the development of this system.
The Government recognises that despite the best efforts of all involved, invasions of
harmful alien organisms or pathogens may occur. It will therefore be necessary to
develop a contingency plan to respond to such invasions. The Government also
recognises that responding effectively to an invasion may require a rapid reaction
involving considerable expense. Recovering the costs of taking this action is far more
difficult than in the case of, for example, oil pollution from vessels, because it is far more
difficult to prove that a particular vessel introduced the organism in question.
Accordingly, it will be necessary for the Government to establish financial mechanisms
to ensure that the necessary funds are available for emergency responses to invasions and
also to recover at least some of the costs associated with the ballast water management
programme. These issues are dealt with more fully in section 7 below.
7. POLICY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
This policy establishes goals which are grouped into five themes: (1) improving the
information base for decision-making; (2) establishing port ballast water management
programmes; (3) integrating ballast water management into a national biosecurity
framework; (4) ship board measures; and (5) international matters. These goals define
the main areas of Government intervention in relation to ballast water management.
A. IMPROVING THE INFORMATION BASE FOR DECISION MAKING
The Government requires more information in order to implement this policy effectively
and to review and improve the policy on an ongoing basis. In particular, more
information will be required about:
the current state of the marine environment in and near ports, in particular, alien
organisms that have already established themselves in such environments;
the ballasting and de-ballasting practices of vessels in South African waters; and
the latest ballast water management technologies and techniques internationally.
Environmental base line studies
Goal A.1 to prepare baseline studies of the marine environment in the major South
It will not be possible to assess the effectiveness of any ballast water management
programme unless we know the condition of the marine environment at the
beginning of the programme, and in particular, what alien organisms are already
established there. A baseline survey of the port of Saldanha has already been
undertaken with the support of the Globallast Programme, and similar studies will
be undertaken for the ports of Cape Town, East London, Port Elizabeth, Durban,
and Richards Bay, and for the proposed port at Coega.
Establishment of database to support ballast water management
Goal A.2 collecting data on how much ballast water is discharged into South
African waters, where it is discharged and where it comes from.
The Government intends introducing legislation to require the master of every vessel
entering South African waters to notify the relevant authorities of any ballast water
which it may have on board and whether or not the water is likely to be discharged in
South African waters. The National Ports Authority will distribute IMO ballast water
reporting forms to all relevant vessels visiting South African ports and will collect
and process the information (which will include data on the source, volume, treatment
and discharge of ballast water and sediment). This information will be used to inform
ballast water management decisions and to improve procedures at each port.
Identify areas in which ballasting and de-ballasting should be prohibited
Goal A.3 to identify those areas in which taking aboard ballast water or
discharging ballast water and sediments should be prohibited.
One of the components of an effective national ballast water management system
will be the demarcation of marine areas within which ballast water should not be
taken aboard (for example adjacent to river mouths or sewage outfalls where there
is an increased risk of pathogens) and areas in which ballast water and sediments
should not be discharged (for example near mariculture farms, or in areas in which
there is an increased risk of negative socio-economic or environmental impacts).
Research to identify these areas will be needed before the necessary control
measures are put in place.
B. ESTABLISHING BALLAST WATER MANAGEMENT PROGRAMMES
International initiatives under the auspices of the IMO have approached the issue of
ballast water management primarily from the perspective of the flag-state and measures
that can be taken on board vessels. However, South Africa is primarily concerned with
the management of ballast water from the perspective of a coastal and port state. The
conditions in each of South Africa’s ports vary considerably and in order for this policy
to be implemented effectively it is necessary to take into account the different
circumstances that prevail in each of the ports. This will be achieved by requiring each
major port to prepare a ballast water management programme (BWMP) for that port that
will implement this policy in the manner that is most appropriate to local conditions. The
BWMP of each port will deal with a range of issues including appropriate ballast water
management practices (eg, the designation of uptake or discharge areas), the development
and use of reception facilities (if any), inspection procedures and objectives, and
emergency response plans.
Pilot ballast water management programme for Saldanha
Goal B.1 to develop a pilot ballast water management programme for the port of
A pilot ballast water management programme for the Port of Saldanha is
currently being developed under the auspices of the Globallast Programme.
Development of ballast water management programme for all major ports
Goal B.2 to develop ballast water management programme for the other major
The experience gained from the development of the pilot BWMP for Saldanha
will be used to develop BWMPs for the ports of Cape Town, East London, Port
Elizabeth, Durban, and Richards Bay, and for the proposed port at Coega.
Integrate ballast water management issues into the design and development of all new
Goal B.3 to ensure that ballast water management issues, including where
appropriate the construction of ballast water or sediment reception
facilities, is taken into account when designing and constructing all new
These issues are already being addressed in the planning for the proposed port of
Research the viability of developing BWMP programmes for fishing and small craft
Goal B.4 to conduct research to evaluate the desirability and feasibility of
establishing ballast water management programmes for fishing and
small craft harbours.
Insufficient information is known about the risks associated with the ballasting
practices of fishing vessels and small crafts (e.g. yachts) and research in this area is
required before any further policy decisions are taken in this regard.
C. INTEGRATION INTO AN EFFECTIVE NATIONAL BIOSECURITY
Ballast water is only one of many means by which alien organisms may enter the South
African environment and instituting strict controls on one method of entry is likely to be
ineffective if other means of entry are not also controlled. For this reason the
Government intends to move towards the establishment of a comprehensive biosecurity
policy for South Africa and to establish the necessary institutional arrangements to ensure
that this policy can be implemented in an integrated and cost-effective manner. The
Government is not yet in a position to make a properly informed decision regarding the
institutional arrangements that will be required but will consider the establishment of a
cross sectoral national biosecurity council to ensure that an integrated approach is taken.
This ballast water policy represents a foundation stone in the development of this national
Raising the profile of ballast water management as an issue of national importance.
Goal C.1 to draw attention to the threats posed by ballast water to the biosecurity
of South Africa and to the importance of addressing biosecurity in an
In 2001 DEAT initiated, through the Globallast Programme, a process of raising
the public profile of the ballast water management issue. This included displays
explaining the issue at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, Seaworld in
Durban, and a stand at the Water Dome at the World Summit on Sustainable
Development. Further co-operation with other organs of state and organisations
concerned about the threats to South Africa’s biodiversity (such as the Working
for Water Programme) is planned to continue to highlight both the ballast water
management issue and the fact that it must be addressed as part of a wider
Goal C.2 to initiate national discussions on the development of integrated national
This policy is intended to give greater impetus to discussions concerning the
development of a national biosecurity strategy. As is clear from this policy, in
order to be implemented effectively it requires the support of a wider strategy that
addresses the other means by which invasive alien organisms can enter and
become established within South Africa.
Integrating ballast water management issues into legislation and Government policies
Goal C.3 to ensure that ballast water management issues are addressed in future
Government policies, plans and legislation.
The South African Government is in the process of developing a National
Coastal Zone Management Act which will establish mechanisms for coastal
planning and a Coastal Fund. It is also in the process of developing a
National Biodiversity Act aimed at the protection of South Africa’s unique
and valuable indigenous organisms. The publication of this policy is a first
step in ensuring that ballast water management issues are considered in the
development and implementation of coastal management and biodiversity
programmes and plans and in regulations to be made under the new Act.
Establishing financial mechanisms to support ballast water management
Goal C.4 to ensure that the proposed coastal fund or a similar financial
mechanism is established with the financial capacity and mandate to
support the implementation of this policy, including emergency responses
to the introduction of alien organisms and pathogens.
The implementation of this policy on a consistent basis throughout South
Africa will require funding. In addition it is essential that financial provisions
are put in place to fund emergency responses. This could be done by
expanding the mandate of the proposed coastal fund but if this is not done,
other appropriate funding mechanisms will have to be found.
Establishing an effective inspectorate
Goal C.5 to ensure that compliance with legislation and other measures taken to
implement this policy is effectively monitored and that swift enforcement
action is taken in cases of non-compliance.
At present ships visiting South African harbours are visited by a number of
different officials each with different mandates. These may include
inspectors from the Department of Health, the South African Marine Safety
Authority, the National Ports Authority and Customs. A well-trained and
organised body of inspectors will be required to implement this policy
effectively. This could be achieved most efficiently and cost-effectively by
creating a unified inspectorate that could deal with a range of issues
simultaneously when inspecting a vessel and would ensure that swift and
effective enforcement action is taken against those who break the law.
D. SHIP-BOARD MEASURES
If South Africa becomes a party to the proposed International Convention for the Control
and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments, it will assume a number of
obligations relating both to the control of South African flagged ships and also of foreign
ships visiting South African ports. In particular South Africa will be required:
to take effective measures to ensure that South African ships comply with the
Convention (including ensuring that South African ships are surveyed regularly in
order to monitor and enforce compliance);
to issue International Ballast Water Management Certificates;
to inspect the vessels of other countries that are parties to the Convention when they
are in South African ports to ensure compliance with the Convention;
to enact laws that prohibit any South African ship contravening the provisions of the
Convention anywhere in the world and that provide for penalties that are sufficiently
severe to be effective as a deterrent; and
to promptly take enforcement action against offenders.
Dialogue in respect of implementation of provisions of draft Convention
Goal D.1 to enter into a dialogue with the owners of South African ships and other
interested and affected parties regarding the best way of implementing
the provisions of the draft Convention if South Africa becomes a party to
Implementation of Convention once ratified
Goal D.2 to pass the necessary laws and establish other mechanisms to implement
the Convention as soon as possible after South Africa becomes a party to
E. INTERNATIONAL MATTERS
Support for an international convention on ballast water management
Goal E.1 to support the IMO in the development and conclusion of the draft
international convention for the control and management of ships’ ballast water and
South Africa believes that a unified international approach is important to
tackle this international issue successfully. The Government will continue to
support IMO initiatives to develop and conclude and international convention
on this issue.
Certification of ballast water treatment technologies
Goal E.2 to support the establishment of an internationally recognised mechanism
of approving ballast water treatment technologies.
A great deal of research and development expenditure will be required to
develop and evaluate appropriate technologies and techniques for treating
ballast water. The Government believes that an international mechanism for
evaluating and approving such technologies and techniques should be
established. For the reasons set out in Part 4 of this policy, the Government
is opposed to ballast water exchange being approved by the IMO or other
international bodies as an adequate and acceptable ballast water management
technique other than as an interim measure.
In order for this policy to be implemented effectively it is essential that responsibilities
are clearly allocated among the various stakeholders, notably among the organs of State
concerned. It will also be necessary to re-structure the current institutional framework to
make it more cost-effective and efficient from a ballast water management perspective.
8.1. CURRENT INTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE
Currently the following organs of state are responsible for different aspects of ballast
water management or for the protection of the environment that may be affected by the
introduction of alien organisms via ballast water.
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (“DEAT”)
DEAT is responsible for the protection of the marine environment from pollution and
the management and protection of marine living resources. It is responsible for
administering the following legislation: NEMA; the Environment Conservation Act
(73 of 1989); and the Marine Living Resources Act (18 of 1998). It will also take
primary responsibility for implementing the following bills once enacted: the
National Coastal Zone Bill and the National Biodiversity Bill.
Department of Transport (“DoT”)
The DoT is responsible for making legislation and policy dealing with all aspects of
maritime transport. The implementation of most of these laws has been assigned to
the South African Maritime Safety Authority.
South African Maritime Safety Authority (“SAMSA”)
SAMSA is established under the South African Maritime Safety Authority Act (5 of
1998). It administers a number of marine pollution control statutes including the
Marine Pollution (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act (2 of 1986); the Marine
Pollution (Control on Civil Liability) Act (6 of 1981); the Merchant Shipping Act (57
of 1951) and the Marine Traffic Act (2 of 1981).
National Ports Authority (“NPA”)
The NPA is a division of Transnet Limited that has primary responsibility for South
Africa’s commercial ports. Transnet Limited is a public company of which the South
African government is the sole shareholder and owns the real estate within South
Africa’s commercial ports. The NPA is responsible for performing Transnet’s
functions as landowner within the national commercial port system, including
performing regulatory functions such as land use planning. After the National Ports
Authority Bill becomes law, the National Ports Authority will be established as a
separate public company wholly owned by the State that is empowered to own,
manage, control and administer ports.
The NPA is responsible for administering the Harbour Regulations (initially
promulgated under section 73 of the South African Transport Services Act (65 of
1981) but now deemed to be promulgated under section 21 of the Legal Succession to
the South African Transport Services Act (9 of 1989)). Regulation 39 of the Harbour
Regulations prohibits the ballasting and deballasting within a harbour except by
permission of the port manager and under conditions imposed by the port manager in
the interests of safe, orderly and efficient harbour working.
National Port Operations (“NPO”)
The NPO is also a division of Transnet Limited that is responsible for terminal and
cargo operations at the commercial ports. It currently does not have responsibility for
ballast water management but this situation is still under review and it may assume
some responsibilities in this regard in future.
Department of Health (“DoH”)
The DoH administers the Health Act (63 of 1977) and the regulations made under it,
which, among other matters, give effect to the International Health Regulations. The
DoH has a Port Health Authority in each commercial port that is responsible for
inspecting vessels to ensure that they do not present a health risk. The DoH has an
important role to play in ballast water management because of its expertise in relation
to pathogens such as cholera, that may be carried in ballast water. Furthermore the
system of vessel inspections implemented by the Port Health Authorities could form
an important part of a new inspectorate with a wider mandate (see 8.2 below).
8.2. NEW INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS TO IMPLEMENT THIS
The presence of alien organisms in the marine environment of South Africa is
normally detected first by those studying the marine environment, and most of the
negative effects are usually (but not always) environmental impacts. DEAT has
overall responsibility for the protection of the marine environment and accordingly it
is appropriate that DEAT should take the lead in formulating standards and
procedures appropriate to the management of ballast water. However, given the
range of other organs of State with an interest in this matter, this clearly needs to be
done in accordance with the principles of co-operative governance that are established
in the constitution and elaborated upon in other relevant legislation such as NEMA.
As the Department with primary responsibility for ensuring that this policy is
implemented, DEAT will play a major role in:
gathering information and co-ordinating research (theme A);
overseeing and co-ordinating the establishment of ballast water management
programmes by each port and in developing ballast water management
programmes in fishing harbours (theme B);
integrating this policy into a national biosecurity policy and developing legislation
in this regard (theme C);
participating in international matters relating to ballast water management (theme
monitoring and reviewing how effectively this policy is being implemented and in
changing and developing it where necessary.
SAMSA should be the main implementing agency in relation to ship board
management of ballast water issues (theme D).
Implementation of the provisions that relate to obligations of vessel owners and
managers will require regular inspections of vessels and indeed this is required by the
draft Convention. The vessels are currently inspected by a number of different
agencies for different purposes including SAMSA and the DoH. The Government
will investigate the feasibility of establishing a combined inspectorate service capable
of conducting all the necessary inspections while in port with a view to maximising
efficiency and the effective utilisation of resources.
8.3. NEW LEGISLATION TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY
It is envisaged that most of the regulations to implement this policy and the proposed
International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water
and Sediments (once it has been finalised and ratified by South Africa), will be made
under the forthcoming National Coastal Management Act. However some of the
provisions relating to ship-board measures may be included in regulations made under
other legislation that regulates shipping. These regulations are likely to require the
owner and master of every South African ship:
(a) to maintain and implement an approved ballast water management
plan for the ship;
(b) to have on board and maintain a ballast water management record
book in a specified format;
(c) to maintain and have available for inspection on board a valid
international ballast water management certificate;
(d) to comply with prescribed standards for the management of ballast
(e) to designate an officer on board every ship as a ballast water manager
responsible for ensuring that the standards and procedures are
complied with and recorded.
On the other hand ballast water management regulations made under the forthcoming
National Coastal Management Act would deal with the management of ballast water
from the time that it leaves the vessel. These regulations are likely:
to designate of areas within which ballast water may not be discharged (e.g.
areas in which the marine environment is particularly sensitive or valuable);
to designate areas within which ballast water may not be taken aboard (e.g.
near the mouths of rivers or sewerage outfall pipes where pathogens are
likely to be present);
to establish a system for varying these areas or declaring new ones to take
account of seasonal variation in risk and also the presence of risks such as
to impose an obligation on ports to develop Ballast Water Management
to establish structures and mechanisms for dealing with response to marine
8.4. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS AND MECHANISMS
In order to deal with emergency situations caused by invasions of potentially harmful
alien marine organisms or pathogens, it will be necessary to have a source of funding
that can be used at very short notice. It is envisaged that the proposed marine and
coastal fund to be established under the proposed National Coastal Management Act
and the successor to the Marine Living Resources Fund, will serve this purpose.
In order to give effect to the “polluter pays” principle, it is appropriate that at least
some of the costs involved in administering the ballast water management programme
in each port be recovered from port users. It is also desirable to provide economic
incentives to encourage ship owners voluntarily to take measures that will reduce the
risk. Accordingly, the Government intends investigating the feasibility and
(a) introducing a fee for ballast water discharges; and
(b) reducing the port fees or other charges payable by those ships that have
appropriate ballast water management technology and follow appropriate ballast
water management procedures.
9. MONITORING AND REVIEW
If this policy is to be effective and is to be refined and improved over time, it is
essential that there be a way of evaluating the extent to which the control mechanisms
that it introduces are effective, and if possible, if these measures are indeed
contributing to the achievement of marine biosecurity.
It is likely to be extremely difficult to evaluate the positive effects of this policy on
the achievement of biosecurity on an on-going basis since if it is successful, the
biological make-up of our marine ecosystems will not change. The only feedback
that we may obtain will be if the policy fails or is inadequately implemented and alien
organisms are introduced via ballast water. The prime means of assessing this will be
by means of updates to environmental baseline surveys and the recording of
incidences of new alien organisms (e.g. algal blooms).
One of the purposes of this policy is to reduce the risk of accidental introduction of
alien organisms and pathogens. Although this is also difficult to measure, it will be
possible to make some general conclusions about trends once sufficient information
regarding current ballast management practices have been obtained. For example, all
other things being equal, a reduction in the volume of ballast water discharged in
South African coastal waters would suggest a reduction in risk.
For practical purposes, most monitoring activities will focus on determining the
degree of compliance with the law, the frequency and effectiveness of inspections,
and the effectiveness of subsequent enforcement action. Records will be kept of
inspections with a view to determining non-compliance and each port ballast water
management programme will be required to incorporate specific targets against which
performance can be assessed objectively.