Now that Japan has begun discharging treated radioactive water into the ocean, South Korea has taken action to ensure that this wastewater does not enter Korean waterways. This is because not all radioactive materials can be filtered out of the water. This has consequences for vessels using these shipping lanes!
Because of South Korea’s new measures, vessels that have taken on ballast water in the ports of Japan’s six east coast prefectures (Aomori, Iwate, Fukushima, Miyagi, Ibaragi and Chiba) must comply with additional rules.
Reporting Japanese ballast water
For example, all vessels that have taken on ballast water in any of these areas must submit the ballast water reporting form 24 hours before calling at a Korean port. Falsifying this data can lead to detentions and fines for failing to comply with the Ballast Water Management Act.
Different rules also apply to vessels that want to discharge ballast water in Korean ports and vessels that do not want to do so.
Discharging ballast water
Vessels wishing to discharge ballast water in Korean waters after taking it on in one of Japan’s six eastern prefectures must first exchange it outside Korean waters. Officers from the regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries office will come on board to check that the ballast water has indeed been exchanged. To do this, they will take 1 liter of ballast water and test it for radioactivity. This test takes about 1 hour. Only if the results show no radioactivity may the exchanged ballast water be discharged in the usual manner.
Refraining from discharging
Vessels that wish to refrain from discharging ballast water in Korean ports must prove that no ballast water has been discharged by mailing the relevant documents to the regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries office at least 1 hour in advance. The following documents are required for this purpose:
- The Ballast Water Record Book
- BWMS operational data
- Ballast water tank capacity (photos)
The office will review these documents and verify ‘non-discharge’ before the vessel departs. An on-board inspection may also take place. You may only depart if it has been verified that no ballast water has been discharged.
For further assistance, please contact NNPC, we will be happy to advise and assist you.