Ballast Water Management Bill passed in Lower House

Robert Montague
The House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon passed the Ballast Water Management Bill with one amendment.
It will address the issue of invasive marine species as well as bacteria and microbes in ships' ballast water. 
Transport Minister Robert Montague, in piloting the bill, said Jamaica is a signatory to international treaties on ballast water management and needed to ensure the protection of marine life.
Mr. Montague said the bill is timely with the increase in shipments to and from Jamaica. 
"The export of bulk cargo such as bauxite and alumina on aggregate ships calling at Jamaica's ports, discharge their ballast water prior to the loading operation. Jamaica is therefore at risk of having invasive aquatic species being introduced into our maritime environment as well as pathogens such as cholera being introduced into the country," the minister pointed out. 
Additionally, he said Jamaica is at risk since large foreign flag vessels currently transit Jamaica's territorial waters due to the widening of the Panama Canal, the dredging of the Kingston Transshipment Terminal, and the recent opening of the bauxite plant in Nain. 
There was no objection from the Opposition to the bill. 
The legislation will be administered by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.  

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