We have received an update from our correspondents in Ukraine about ballast water inspections that are taking place in Ukrainian ports. There has been a recent marked increase in the number of such inspections and correspondents are receiving daily requests for assistance from shipowners and P&I Clubs. Correspondents recommend that Members:

• Make sure that the ballast water is changed to Black Sea water before the ship arrives at a Ukrainian port
• Do not obstruct the ecological inspectors’ attendance on board
• Do not permit the ecological inspectors to take samples of segregated ballast
• Do permit the inspectors to study documentation on deballasting operations if they ask for this
• Make sure that inspectors are accompanied at all times whilst on board.
• Not give bribes in the hope of escaping a fine

Ecological inspectors trying to take ballast samples can often resort to alternative means to gain access to the ship. They take photos and video recordings around where the ship is berthed and then inform the master that traces of oil or dirty spots have been found on the water surface nearby. This then leads to requests for samples of the ship’s ballast to be taken in order to prove that the pollution was not caused by the ship. This is almost always a “show” aimed at getting access to the ship’s ballast tanks.

In these cases, the following is recommended:

• Contact the local correspondent immediately
• Let the ecological inspectors know that a joint survey/visual observation of the sea water area around the ship will be arranged with the Port State Control officer, chief officer and P&I surveyor
• Assure the inspectors that if such joint visual inspection reveal traces of sea pollution they will be allowed to take samples of the ballast from the ship’s tanks in the presence of a P&I surveyor.