Ireland must show its commitment to controlling the taking on board and discharge of ships balance waters by ratifying the ‘International Convention For The Control And Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments 2004’ Cork County Council has said.
The move comes following the tabling of a motion by Cllr Marcia Dalton an environmental engineer at the October sitting of the authority.
The ballast convention entered into force last month recognises invasive species as one of the greatest to ecological and economic wellbeing of the planet however Ireland has yet to ratify.
It’s predicted that invasive species cost the Island of Ireland €261million annually due to biodiversity loss and impact on economic activity and human health.
Under the convention terms, ships are required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.
Cllr Dalton told the executive “as Ballast tanks are filled and drained in different sequences the ballast water in one tank can comprise water and sediment from several ports and that water can include organisms, suspended solids, chemicals and industrial and human waste.”
In 14 recent European ballast studies 990 different species were recorded from ballast tanks ranging from bacteria to 15 cm long fish.
It’s estimated that more than 7,000 species many disease causing and others potentially invasive in environments other than their own, can be carried across the globe in these ballast tanks.
According to the National Biodiversity Centre estimate that 18% of the 377 recorded non-native species found in Ireland have a high risk impact and the rate of introduction is increasing.
Ireland drafted legislation in 2006 that still hasn’t been implemented and hasn’t yet ratified t6he convention.
Last year Shane Ross said the 2006 legislation was being amended to take account of the recent changes to the convention and Ireland would ratify it before it entered into force.
Fine Gael Cllr Kevin Murphy who backed Cllr Daltons motion said “it should be impressed upon us as a nation to take on clean processed water before leaving port to ensure that if they discharge when their load is full that they would discharge clean water back into the sea where it should be.”

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