Carlsbad, California, February 3, 2015 — The international shipping community has been anticipating the implementation of new mandates to manage and treat their ballast water transported from port to port. More than a decade in process, approximately 50,000 vessels worldwide will need to put into place specific plans which are intended to eliminate the spread of invasive species. These plans include significant investments in hardware that must be installed on new vessels and retrofitted on to existing vessels, and record keeping of the ship’s treatment of their ballast discharges. Ships and their crews must be trained and adhere to strict operational procedures, or face enforcement actions during inspections by Port State Authorities.
To guide to the mariner in ballast water management requirements and implementation of compliant practices, Assure Controls, Inc. has announced an online education and training capability at the URL www.TheBallastWaterChannel.com. A combination of information and communication technologies are used in a consistent delivery process of short titles targeted to address questions and issues from the perspective of the mariner, the crews and their specific actions to meet these new environmental requirements from both the United States Coast Guard and the International Maritime Organization.
Developed and supported by the company, this begins an ongoing process to improve the readiness of the industry to do a more efficient and lower cost resource for continual training of crewmembers on their new responsibilities. The initial information on the site explain the philosophy, the plan, and the process underlying the goal to provide approximately 30 to 50 online short course titles on the system. There is no charge to view and use “The Ballast Water Channel™”, which is utilizing a network of experts around the world to focus on a prioritized list of key questions, answered in a consistent manner: a 1-minute video, a 3-minute video, a text transcript, a source document, and other supporting materials. The material is copyrighted and plans are in place to also offer “Quizzes” or exams which the visitor can use to improve retention and also skills development. As the network of experts gets put into place, it is anticipated that 1- 2 training or informational titles would be released weekly.
Recognizing that individual behaviors, done consistently by vessels and their crews, are the foundation for meeting the environmental objectives of the international regulations. The developers understand that crews change frequently, often with English as a second language, and nominally a high school education equivalency; so titles are geared towards this audience. While The Ballast Water Channel™ is focused on the perspective and requirements of the mariner, it can be used by a wide variety of stakeholders. The site does not recommend any specific ballast water treatment system (BWTS) or technology. There will be a section specifically for BWTS companies to provide information for the market; those plans will be communicated in the near future on how those suppliers can provide consistent content for the site, as well as other industry resources and providers. There is no advertising on the site.
It is recommended that visitors review the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) when visiting The Ballast Water Channel™ and consider using the “Register for UPDATES”, an automatic notifications process where serval options are available.
The Ballast Water Channel™ will be discussed with participants at the 2nd Ballast Water Management Summit of February 03-05, 2015 in Long Beach,CA.
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