The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Black Sea Commission (BSC) have jointly organized a workshop to help Black Sea States prepare to ratify IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention. Bringing together civil servants, legal experts and scientists from six Black Sea littoral States, the workshop was the first joint activity within the framework of a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations.
Being almost completely isolated from the world’s oceans, the Black Sea’s unique ecosystem is extremely vulnerable to threats generated by human activities. Possibly one of the greatest of these is the transfer of invasive species in ships’ ballast water.
It is estimated that about 3 to 10 billion tonnes of ballast water is transferred globally each year, potentially transferring from one location to another thousands of marine species that may prove ecologically harmful when released into a non-native environment. The effects of the invasive species have been devastating in many areas of the world, and the Black Sea has suffered badly.
Invasive species can have significant negative impacts on the economy and ecology of the areas they invade. In the Black Sea, they have reproduced rapidly and they can infest an area in a very short time, displacing the native species and often resulting in dramatic depletions of fish stocks.
The workshop took place from 19 to 21 July, 2010 and was hosted in Odessa by the State Administration of Maritime and Inland Water Transport, Ministry of Transport and Communications of Ukraine.
The Memorandum of Understanding between IMO and the Black Sea Commission was signed on 8 July 2010 in order to increase mutual support for several environmental aspects of shipping, including oil pollution preparedness, ballast water management and dumping of waste.
In 1992, realizing the importance of the Black Sea, its fragile and unique ecosystem as well as the unique role it plays in the lives of the people of the region, the six coastal countries (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine), meeting in Bucharest, signed the Convention on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution – known as the “Bucharest Convention”. The Black Sea Commission is the intergovernmental body established to implement the Bucharest Convention, which provides the legal framework for regional co-operation and the actions needed to reduce pollution and increase protection in the marine environment. The Permanent Secretariat of the Black Sea Commission is hosted by Turkey and located in Istanbul.
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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