Tanker ballast water is threating the entire world!

Tanker ballast water is the sea water that tankers get it in from the bow or sides when they are empty or loaded. By the help of this water taken from the sea, the balance of cargos and the ship can be maintained. Every day thousands of tanker take millions of cubic meter and carries it from one place to the other. And the problem starts from here. Undesired marine organisms, pollutants and bacterial waters poured from one continent or sea to the others. It is guessed that in this way, every day 3000 sea creature is transformed from one region to the other.

This ballast waters from petrol tanks are especially is a big issue and discussion topic in marine and science world as they pour their ballast waters in proportion with their size and volume. After the long term studies, it is accepted that these ballast water cause serious threats for ecology. International Maritime Organization focused on this issue and published a decision on the issue of tanker ballast water in November 1997. This decision was included the obligations of ballast water plans and analysis of these water from any kind of ship as well as explanations of controls and risks of this water to the harbor countries. According to this decision, harbor officers and stuffs can inspect any ship that entered their harbor on the origin of ballast water and its analysis.

This new progress is vital for announcing the environmental risks that 50.000 ships possess during their pass from Turkish Strait and our proofs increases each day. All of the Black Sea Countries (including Turkey), has being negatively affected from sea walnut (Mnemiopsis leidyi) which is carried by tanker ballast water from North America to Black Sea. This sea walnut has no natural enemy thus it rapidly reproduces and reaches to the million ton of live mass. Sea walnut causes decline on the commercial fish stocks as in anchovy, bluefin, acorn, bonito and ext. Turkey losses at least 400 million dollar due to this reason. Another example is the mussel which is known as Dreissena polymorpha. They cling to the sea vessels and causes million dollars of damages. Moreover, Northern Sea Star which is known as Asterias amurensis severely damaged the fish beds of Australia and resulted with obligations on the control of tanker ballast waters.

Other than all of those, it is possible that single celled organisms which are venomous in the seas can get carried by the tanker ballast water from one place to the others. This venomous single celled organisms especially crustaceans, causes mass mortality.

Since 1997, countries like America, Australia and England started to inspect the patrol tanks and big cargo ships in their harbor to determine and control the undesirable marine creatures which may distribute in their water. As a result of those inspections, special quarantines are implemented to the ships that can be dangerous or come from the polluted areas.

Turkey is under the threat of undesirable negative impacts of tanker ballast water. Large numbers of ship comes from Atlantic and Indian Ocean, take patrol from Black Sea and leave it to the Turkish Harbors. For this reason, other than the risks like crushes and burn up, Turkish water are under the threat of patrol shipping which is also dangerous due to the animals which cause ecological sabotage in Turkish water. . Ballast waters of tankers which come to the Turkish harbors should be inspected as soon as possible and national standards on ballast water should be developed. Furthermore, publications should be developed for the aim of awareness rising and technique experts on the subject should be employed.

We should bear in mind that protection of Turkish Seas and our approach to the environmental protection of our straits can only be successful with serious and genuine studies. Without conducting a scientific study and collecting data on international level, we cannot contribute to protect neither our strait nor our seas and we cannot convince anyone on our political and legal demands.