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Controversial new ballast water arrangements are being introduced in Victoria to manage the risks of pests from other Australian ports. The Environment Protection (Ships’ Ballast Water) Regulations 2006, which came into force on 1st July 2006, are the first of their kind to be unilaterally implemented by a state in Australia. The objectives of the new regulations are to support the implementation of the existing Waste Management Policy (Ships’ Ballast Water). It sets out the administrative requirements and services necessary to protect Victorian waters and applies fees for ships visiting a port in Victoria to recover the costs associated with delivering these services. Under the new regulations, the majority of ships will pay AUD 220 every time they visit a Victorian port as part of a “user pays” approach to the issue. However, there are significant fee discounts to ships that have an accreditation agreement in place. These agreements are assessed by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and recognise ships that have good performance and good systems to manage the risks of ballast water. New offences for ships that do not meet their ballast water requirements have also been introduced.

EPA’s ballast water system requires every ship visiting Victoria to assess their ballast water for marine pests before entering a Victorian port and provide accurate information to EPA. Only low risk ballast water can be discharged into Victorian waters.

We thank Gard’s Melbourne correspondents, Messrs Bayside Shipping Services Pty Ltd, for the above information.

Gard News 183, August/October 2006

Any comments to this article can be e-mailed to the Gard News Editor.

Gard News is published quarterly by Gard AS, Arendal, Norway.