South Korea - Ballast Water Management guidance for vessels arriving from Japan

26 November 2013

Members calling at South Korean ports after a call at Japanese ports should be aware of guidance that has recently been issued by the South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The Correspondent in South Korea, Spark International, reports that guidance has been issued by the Port Management Division in order to protect the South Korean coast and waters from the spread of polluted water from sources close to the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.

Members should note that:-

  1. Vessels visiting South Korean ports from Japan are in principle prohibited from loading ballast water within 50 miles of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, as well as at the ports of Hachinohe, Ishinomaki, Sendai, Soma, Onahama and Hitachi.

  2. If a vessel cannot avoid loading ballast water in these areas (e.g. ballasting is necessary to ensure the vessel’s safety and seaworthiness) and discharging at South Korean ports, the ballast water should be exchanged in open sea prior to entering a South Korean port. The ballast water should be replaced by flushing through the ballast tanks with three times the volume of the ballast tanks capacity. 

  3. Local Port Authorities will be inspecting vessels that have loaded ballast water in the listed ports and/or areas. Any vessels found in breach of the above shall be prohibited from discharging ballast within the port limits and/or may be required to leave the port in order to exchange the ballast water at open sea.

Members whose vessels are scheduled to call at South Korean ports via Japanese ports should be aware of the guidance and take steps to ballast accordingly. The Club recommends that Members should be particularly careful to ensure that details of ballasting operations are accurately recorded, so that they can be provided to the South Korean Port Authorities when preparing for port entry (particularly those whose vessels have loaded ballast water at the listed ports and/or areas close to the Fukushima nuclear plant). Although the guidance does not specify the sanctions for non-compliance, there is an increased likelihood of delays and associated costs being incurred, if the guidance is not followed. In addition, any vessels failing to comply with the guidelines/official requests may also be at risk of having fines imposed and being detained.

For further assistance and/or clarification in relation to the above, Members should approach their usual Club contact.