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Ballast water: A threat to the Amazon Basin

Pereira, Newton Narciso, Botter, Rui Carlos, Folena, Rafael Dompieri, Pereira, José Pinheiro Fragoso Neto, da Cunha, Alan Cavalcanti
Marine pollution bulletin 2014 v.84 no.1-2 pp. 330-338
Escherichia coli, ballast water, basins, coliform bacteria, control methods, introduced species, risk, salinity, ships, water pollution, Amazon River, Amazonia
Ballast water exchange (BWE) is the most efficient measure to control the invasion of exotic species from ships. This procedure is being used for merchant ships in national and international voyages. The ballast water (BW) salinity is the main parameter to evaluate the efficacy of the mid-ocean ballast water exchange. The vessels must report to the Port State Control (PSC), via ballast water report (BWR), where and how the mid-ocean BWE was performed. This measure allows the PSC to analyze this information before the ship arrives at the port, and to decide whether or not it should berth.Ship BW reporting forms were collected from the Captaincy of Santana and some ships were visited near the Port of Santana, located in Macapá (Amazon River), to evaluate the BW quality onboard. We evaluated data submitted in these BWR forms and concluded that the BWE efficacy might be compromised, because data contained in these BWR indicate that some ships did not change their BW. We found mistakes in filling the BWR forms and lack of information. Moreover, these ships had discharged BW with high level of salinity, Escherichia coli and total coliforms into the Amazon River. We concluded that the authorities of the Amazon Region need to develop more efficient proceedings to evaluate the ballast water reporting forms and BW quality, as there is potential risk of future invasion of exotic species in Brazilian ports.