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Restrict the introduction of new alien species by ships
Start date: Dec 31, 2009, End date: Dec 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In 2007, aware of the importance of the entering into force of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWMC, 2004), for the restriction of the introduction of new alien species via shipping activities, HELCOM Contracting Parties agreed upon a Road Map in order to structure the joint efforts towards ratification of the Convention no later than by 2013. Currently Denmark, Germany, Russia and Sweden have ratified the Convention.In line with this Road Map, in 2010, the HELCOM Guidance on how to distinguish between high and low risk (a risk of secondary spreading of alien species through ballast water and sediments) by ships engaged in intra-Baltic voyages was adopted in the HELCOM Moscow Ministerial Meeting. The aim of this Guidance was to support transparent and consistent risk assessment for regional ship voyages and to allow a unified Baltic Sea system on exemptions for applying ballast water management (BWM) requirements in accordance with the Regulation A-4. Subsequently, the Guidance was tested through the Pilot risk assessments of alien species transfer on intra-Baltic ship voyages project (HELCOM ALIENS) in 2010-2011. The results of the project proved the need of data on alien species and environmental conditions in ports, as a pre-requisite for carrying out a reliable risk assessment. In order to fill in those gaps, a second project on alien species (HELCOM ALIENS 2) was launched. It concluded in December 2012 providing a proposal for a regionally harmonized method for granting exemptions from BW treatment for marine traffic in the Baltic Sea.Currently, a significant work on the restriction of new alien species by ships in the Baltic Sea area is developed within the HELCOM ALIENS 3 project (Test, further development and operationalization of the HELCOM biological survey protocols and A-4 risk assessments in the Baltic Sea) which overall aim is to provide the HELCOM Contracting Parties with the possibility to test the regionally harmonised A4 process before the entry into force of the Convention. For that purpose the project will test, further develop and operationalize the harmonized system for granting exemptions (according to Regulation A-4) to any requirements to apply regulation B-3 (Ballast Water Management for Ships) or C-1 (Additional Measures to those on Section B of the Convention) of the BWMC in intra-Baltic traffic, developed within the HELCOM ALIENS 2 project. Achievements: Accomplished workCommon decision has been reached that ballast water exchange should not be a management option in the Baltic Sea.HELCOM has developed the list of alien species in the Baltic.Joint HELCOM/OSPAR Guidance on voluntary ballast water exchange have been agreed for both incoming (BWM.2/Circ. 14) and outgoing traffic (BWM.2/Circ.22).Guidance to distinguish between unacceptable high risk scenarios and acceptable low risk scenarios – a risk of spreading of alien species by ships on Intra-Baltic voyages has been adopted by HELCOM.
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