Most of the parts of Victoria, there are a number of water channels, which include bay, rivers, inlets, lakes and the coast. Victoria has roughly 2500 km of coastline, and there are more than 120 bays, inlets and estuaries along its dimensions. Victoria's three largest bays are Western Port, Corner Inlet and Port Phillip. The state also has more than 85,000 km of rivers and 13,000 natural wetlands. Victoria's channels support a broad range of industries and activities such as commercial operations like commercial fishing, aquaculture, boat repair, marine, commercial shipping, and related industries, cruise ships, tourism and transport (ferries) operators (Goss 1990, pp. 221-223). And also recreational prospects are provided including boating, fishing, swimming, diving and water sports. Other services provided from Victoria water channels are the emergency and regulatory services, agriculture production through irrigation, domestic water usage by urban and rural, as cultural pride and heritage sites, as home to many flora and fauna, including scarce and endangered species, wetlands of national and international environmental importance.
Ballast water is used to ensure that the structural integrity of vessels and their stability was maintained. It's typically pumped out when the cargo is loaded onto the ship and pumped in when the ship is offloaded. Ballast water is essential to ship for efficient transportation but also endangers aquatic species through relocating them to the environment that they have not adopted thus threatening their life; this poses a serious ecological, economic and health threat to the local communities. This water may also contain harmful substances and disease causing organism. Victorians decided to impose a policy that would deal with ballast water on ships and vessels. In 1991, a ship released 100000m2 water ballast at the coast of Peru in which contained viruses and bacteria which was responsible for the outbreak of cholera in Peru; this killed over 10000 people in the area (Karjalainen 2017). This research shows how severe the effects of water of ballast can be to human life.
Ballast Water Policy Of Victoria
The marine pests introduced in the waterways through the expulsion of ballast water which threatened the biodiversity and the economic benefits derived from the marine environment, it was necessary to introduce a policy that facilitated ballast water management. The main aim of the plan was to protect the beneficial uses of the state waters through the minimizing of risks of introducing marine pests in the waters, fulfil commonwealth requirements concerning international ballast water through the establishment of risk based management in Victoria for the domestic ballast water. Also, the aim of the policy was to protect and maintain economic significance for fishing, port activities as well as tourism. It was also meant to reduce the costs and difficulty associated with the eradication of marine pests.
The waterways derive economic value through the industries that are supported from their use for instance the boating and fishing industry, associated manufacturing, retail tourism, tour boats, commercial shipping, fisheries, aquaculture and ferrying. The recreational boating contributes nearly $ 5 Billion to the economy each year and it accounts for the available full time jobs as well as the fisheries income which contributes nearly $7 Billion per year and accounts for 33000 full time jobs. The waterways also act as natural attractions which draw tourists and visitors. For example, Lake Eildon has been able to employ a large number of people in the north east as well as providing support for local communities and industries. The Victoria local ports provide a hub for economic activity as well as the other four commercial trading ports which act as key drivers of the state economy as major trade gateways to the world.
Ballast water management is largely focused on the preservation of the marine environment as it affects the economic nature of the state of Victoria. There are three main issues that need to be considered for the domestic ballast water arrangements which include mandatory exchange where the ships are required to exchange their ballast water regardless of the risk they are prone to or the length of the cruise which is the standard for all the international ships which would like to enter the Australian ports. The exchange which has high risk exposure may limit the number of ships that are required to participate in the exchange of ballast water. In the case of the domestic management arrangements for Victorian ports, there are no additional prerequisites. However, in the future it is expected that the ships will be able to perform the treatment on board since the method increases the cost of transportation in order to compensate for the additional expenses for the treatment of ballast water.
Additional charges which will be taxed on the ships during the exchange of high risk ballast water on the trips will be a function the distance that the ship is required to deviate and such costs will include, fuel as well as delay costs. The direct costs involved are quite reasonable for the distant offshore ballast water exchange however, they will not be equally distributed across states. Supplementary charges include ballast water, logbook reviews, maintenance of the risk management tool as well as the ballast water management database. The ports can also be examined according to the volume of the pests present. Government expenses amount to $1 Million per year due to maintenance and management costs. On the other hand, increase in the cost of domestic shipping may have flow on effects on the rest of the Australian economy which may be tracked by considering the equilibrium effects of the ecomony..
Other costs will also be experienced through the continuous training and motivation of port and harbour users, the production of waste administration plans and providing of adequate reception facilities, the groundwork and implementation of oil and chemical emergency plans so as to conform with the observation by ships of EPA guidelines and policies to avoid presenting non-native species and contaminants in ships' ballast waters. However, the implementation of the policy does not only mean an increase in the cost of managing ballast water as the government of Victoria can also gain from fines allotted on non-compliant ships annual agreement fees between the ship owners and an overall benefit of maintaining the economic stability of the Victoria local ports.
Implementation Of The Policy
In order to control the waste ballast water from being discharged, there are some steps which should be implemented in order to formulate the waste management policy. The recommended method is the ballast water exchange in which exchange is done at sea using some methods that are dependent on the structural design and stability of the ship. Some of the methods include the use of sequential exchange, flow thorough or the dilution method in order to achieve the appropriate ballast water exchange requirements.
The exchange method is important in ensuring that the volumetric exchange is achieved by 90%. The exchange process should be taken at least 12 miles of the Victorian State Coast. It is important that the ballast water exchange is conducted using safe methods and procedures. For example, the use of the empty or refill method which requires that the tanks of high risk ballast water are emptied outside the Victorian Coast before refilling them with water from the sea. All the high risk domestic ballast water needs to be discharged until the suction is lost with the use of stripping pumps. Alternatively, the flow through method can be used where the ballast water tank are filled and the full tank capacity is pumped through the reservoir.
EPA will confirm that the ballast water exchanges have been executed using a 95% volumetric exchange. This procedure comprises an inspection of records relating to ballast water exchange operations which are maintained in the ship which lead to a financial cost to the state. The pump rate is important to determine an acceptable volumetric exchange. The ship masters should make sure that the precision of pump rates used in calculations. Non-complaint ships post a threat to the marine waters and the economic life of the local ports. There is also a dilution method in which the exchange involves 300 per cent of a tank's full capacity. This amount must be propelled through the tank to achieve the acceptable 90% volumetric exchange (David et al. 2013, pp.205-217). (The flow chart below shows steps on how the government has been trying to manage ballast water)
Flow chart on domestic ballast water management in victoria (EPA Victoria 2015, figure 1)
Impact Of The Policy On The Economy
The government set-up the policy to curb spread diseases to human population are the ports, ensure the thriving of marine life thus supporting the fisheries industries. Maintain the tourism sector around the coastal regions of Victoria, allow development of the area through the establishment of port related industries and growth of harbour towns, to reduce pollution due to the waste ballast water. And also maintain the economic significance of the Victoria coastal region.
The policy has had a positive impact on the economic state of Victoria. Recreational fishing is a major economic factor which has promoted and tourism in Victoria, the policy has tried rectifying the problem and adverse effects which would cripple the tourism market in the world and severely affect the Victorian economy. Implementation of the policy has made a positive effect on the ship manufacturing industry in which revenue has been through the manufacture of ships complying with the policy and installation of water management systems. It has also improved the shipping industry in areas such as Williamstown Dockyard Victoria which are used in maintaining the ships and modifying them to comply with the policy.
There should be an increment in funding by the government to finance research to come up with safer and methods ballast water treatment methods that do not pose a threat to marine and human life, both crew and population around them. The policy should enforce regular inspections, and repairs of the ships ballast water treatment mechanisms. Ships should use permanent fresh water ballast to reduce incurred costs of treatment (Bailey 2015, pp. 261-268).
In conclusion, ballast water has the adverse effect on ecological, economy and human health to the local people around Victoria coast. To tackle the problem, the policy has assisted in rectifying the effects especially economic challenges and has added benefits to the Victoria state government. Hope the government will take into considerations coming up with more cheap and economical methods that will improve the policy.
Goss, R.O., 1990. Economic policies and seaports: The diversity of port policies. Maritime Policy & Management, 17(3), pp.221-23
Karjalainen, T., 2017. Ballast Water Monitoring.
Wescott, G., 1998. Reforming coastal management to improve community participation and integration in Victoria, Australia. Coastal Management, 26(1), pp.3-15.
Bandara, Y.M. and Nguyen, H.O., 2015. Port infrastructure pricing policy and practice: a case study of Australia and New Zealand seaports. Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs, 7(2), pp.110-131.
David, M., Gollasch, S. and Leppäkoski, E., 2013. Risk assessment for exemptions from ballast water management–the Baltic Sea case study. Marine pollution bulletin, 75(1), pp.205-217.
EPA Victoria 2015, Domestic Ballast Water Management in Victorian state waters march 2017, https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/~/media/Publications/949%207.pdf
Bailey, S.A., 2015. An overview of thirty years of research on ballast water as a vector for aquatic invasive species to freshwater and marine environments. Aquatic ecosystem health & management, 18(3), pp.261-268.