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Ballast Water Issues for Croatia: Possible Usefulness of Norwegian Experience and Expertise

Croatia currently faces ballast water issues in two respects. First, related to all of its export ports, where an examination of this matter is needed and both technical and regulatory solutions required. And second, in relation to a particular location, the port of Omisalj, which may experience an intensive and progressive tanker export traffic if the Druzhba-Adria project to integrate and partly modernise existing pipelines is realized, thus enabling an export of prevailingly Russian oil from Siberia to the port of Omisalj, where oil can be loaded on tankers and transported further on, bypassing Bosporus. Due to its natural features, the deep-sea port of Omisalj can receive Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), and would become an important export (i.e., loading) port for oil tankers, and not exclusively an import (unloading) port as so far. This may constitute a potential for environmental and economic consequences due to ballast water release from large oil tankers.

On this background, the main purpose of the Project is to assist Croatian authorities as an independent pool of expertise in considering and evaluating risks from introduction of invasive species with ballast water as well as technical risk control options, and possibly also regulatory options for the ballast water issues Croatia may face. To be able to assist with recommended measures, the aim of the project is to encompass a risk assessment for the entire coastline of Croatia, with a special attention given to the port of Omisalj as a prospective oil export port.

This project is supported by the Norwegian Government, within the framework of assistance and cooperation projects with Croatia. The idea and the initiative for the project originate in the visit of the Foreign Minister of Norway Jan Petersen to Croatia, in May 2003, on which occasion the Croatian side expressed its interest in Norwegian experience and expertise on ballast water issues as possibly helpful to Croatia in addressing the challenges and perspectives in this area. In this FNI-coordinated project, the Institute collaborates with Det norske Veritas (DNV). Project group cooperates with the Croatian authorities, including the Ministry of the Sea of the Republic of Croatia, and maintains collaborative contacts with the relevant Croatian scientific institutions and experts.

Project leader: Davor Vidas

Project period: 2004-2005
 Related focal points of research:

   Law of the Sea and marine affairs
   Biodiversity and genetic resources

Project funding:

   Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 External cooperation partners:

   Det Norske Veritas

Recent relevant FNI News:

   FNI Receives Award for Marine Environment Protection in Croatia (06.12.05)

Key media coverage:

'Ministar mora Božidar Kalmeta na središnjoj proslavi blagdana Svetog Nikole - Dana pomoraca' ('Minister for the Sea, Božidar Kalmeta, at the Central Celebration of the St. Nichola’s Day - The Seafarers’ Day'), Glas Istre, 7 December 2005. In Croatian.

'U Opatiji završen seminar o problemu balastnih voda', ('Seminar on Ballast Water Issues in Opatija Concluded'), Slobodna Dalmacija, 12 January 2005. In Croatian.

Fridtjof Nansen Institute
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