Ballast Water Management Regulations as major threat to ships in ports

Berthed container ships capsize accidents have become regular. Ships lose stability and capsize during cargo operations, especially during intensive operation when containers are handled by 3-4 gantry cranes simultaneously. One might believe that the main cause, the root cause, is crew and dock workers negligence and incompetence, but it’s a wrong conclusion, according to seamen. Yes, incompetence and negligence, fatigue and stress might be extra factors contributing to capsize, but overall, such factors are secondary. The root cause is the infamous (among seamen) Ballast Water Management Regulations. Technically, among other things, it implies hordes of inspectors roaming piers in ports, in search of bubbles alongside berthed ships. Bubbles mean the ship is disposing of ballast water, thus violating regulations and killing our dear mother nature. So here’s prey to catch, in form of ship’s senior officers and ship’s management, subjects to fines, detentions, etc.
For crew and ship, ballast management regulations are a dire threat, endangering ship’s stability. In conditions when stability is prone to quick changes, the only thing capable of remaining stable is ballast water, but it requires sufficient number of available ballast tanks and skilled crew. Crew responsible for ballasting is in constant stress, but in growing number of accidents it doesn’t help.



My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.