Brazil – Ballast Water Management Requirements for Amazon Basin Ports

November 2011

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The Ballast Water Management (BWM) requirements for vessels calling at Brazilian ports have been in force since 15 October 2005 and apply to all vessels intending to discharge ballast water in Brazilian waters.

In outline, Ballast Water Exchange (BWE) must take place at least 200 nautical miles from the coast and in water at least 200m deep. Where this is not possible, BWE should take place at least 50 nautical miles from the coast in water at least 200m deep. Where a vessel has been unable to fulfil either of these requirements discharge may only take place with permission of the Harbour Master or his agent. BWE can be by sequential, flow-through and dilution methods. If using either flow-through or dilution methods, at least three times the tank volume must be pumped with an efficiency of at least 95% volumetric exchange.

Special provisions apply to ports of the Amazon Basin where an additional exchange is required to reduce ballast water salinity. This should take place between the isobathic of 20m and Macapá. In this case the tank volume need only be pumped once. (Similar provisions apply to the River Pará.)

Compliance is monitored through inspection of the vessel’s BWM Plan and the Ballast Water Report form. Ballast water samples may also be taken.

In a recent circular BRAZMAR Marine Services Ltda have reported an increase in the number of cases where vessels have failed to perform the second BWE required for Amazon Basin ports, usually due to crew oversight. Although the Port Captaincy may take a more relaxed approach if the vessel is destined to a port closer to the Amazon’s estuary (where the salinity is naturally higher), a more stringent view is generally taken if the vessel is destined to a port further inside the Amazon Basin.

Various penalties can be imposed for breach of the legislation including the prohibition to discharge ballast water as well as a fine which can range from R$ 5,000 to R$ 50,000,000 (US$ 2,750 to USD 2,750,000).

Members with vessels due to call at Brazilian ports should ensure that all BWM requirements are complied with and, in particular, remind crew that a second BWE is required for vessels calling at Amazon Basin and River Pará ports.

The detailed requirements of the Brazilian BWM Regulations can be found in the Annex to IMO circular BWM.2/Circ.1 and the Iretoria De Portos E Costas document NORMAM 20, within which the Reporting Form (in English) can be found at page 32: https://www.dpc.mar.mil.br/normam/N_20/normam20.pdf