A national meeting with the stakeholders, in the form of a seminar titled “Ballast water and ship hulls - harmonized procedures for the Baltic Sea to reduce the risk of introduction of invasive species through shipping”, was held in September 2019 at the Institute of Oceanography of the University of Gdańsk. The purpose of the meeting was to exchange knowledge and expertise on the issues related to the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and Biofouling Guidelines.

The seminar was divided into two parts, each of which included presentations and discussions related to both of the above-mentioned matters. The topics included the current status of the ratification of the BWM Convention by Poland, mobile systems for the collection and treatment of ballast water and sludge water from ships, the HELCOM/ OSPAR Joint Harmonized Procedure on the granting of exemptions under A-4 Regulation of the BWMC, implementation of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines in the OSPAR and HELCOM regions, and  the use of anti-fouling systems that are compatible with the AFS Convention in Poland. Participants learned also about the COMPLETE project, the related assumptions and purpose, and the structure, tasks and expected outcomes, which are going to help in the development of a regionally harmonized Baltic Sea management strategy to reduce the risks of invasive species introduction by shipping. The meeting was attended by 26 stakeholders representing the Polish Ministry of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation, the Regional Department of Environmental Monitoring in Gdansk (Chief Inspectorate of Environmental Protection), the General Directorate for Environmental Protection, the Maritime Office in Szczecin, the Port Authorities of Gdańsk, Gdynia and Szczecin-Świnoujście, the Gdansk Harbour Master, the Polish Register of Shipping S.A., the Euroafrica Shipping Lines Sp. z o. o., the Gdańsk Shipyard „Remontowa” S.A., the private company Ancora Sp. z o. o. and the researchers involved in the ballast water system studies.

Meeting participants and organizers. Photo: Radosław Brzana.