International Legal Efforts to Address Environmental Challenges of Ballast Water
Environmental challenges of ships’ ballast water discharge have attracted the international community’s attention. Discharge of ballast water is one of the most important sources of the degradation of marine environment threatening biodiversity and human health. Two sets of challenges are posed by ballast water: oil pollution that is caused by the discharge of oil-mixed ballast water that is a type of vessel-source pollution mainly dealt with by MARPOL Convention and the introduction of alien species carried by ballast water is addressed by the IMO 2004 Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments. There are also some non-binding guidelines that IMO and its marine environmental protection committee have adopted to encourage the countries to oblige the ships under their jurisdiction to conform to these standards. This article tries, first, to highlight the ballast water environmental challenges and, secondly, to assess the above mentioned efforts.