Reducing sea pollutions (Oily waters, sewage waters, ballast waters)

Objective- This article just for educating the general Population and the Ratings working at Sea. This is not a technical article!

What are two main sources of oil that pollute the oceans?

Oil spills that happen in rivers, bays and the ocean most often are caused by accidents involving tankers, barges, pipelines, refineries, drilling rigs and storage facilities, but also occur from recreational boats and in marinas. 

The biggest contributor to oil pollution in the World's oceans (45%) is operational discharges from tankers, although natural seeps are considered to be considerable, and the single most important source of oil that enters ocean.

Common man-made pollutants that reach the ocean include pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, detergents, oil, industrial chemicals, and sewage. Many ocean pollutants are released into the environment far upstream from coastlines. 

What are the causes of oil contamination on board ships?

Contamination of Lubricating Oil by Water

  • Leakages from cylinder cooling water system.
  • Leakages from piston cooling water system (for water cooled pistons).
  • LO cooler water leakages (can be seawater or freshwater).
  • Leakages from sump tank heating coils.
  • Condensation of water vapour inside crankcase.

Vessel maintenance:

  1. Tighten bolts on your engine to prevent oil leaks. Bolts can shake loose with engine use.
  2. Replace cracked or worn hydraulic lines and fittings before they fail. ... 
  3. Outfit your engine with an oil tray or drip pan. ... 
  4. Create your own bilge sock out of oil absorbent pads to prevent oily water discharge.


How does sewage pollution affect the ocean?

According to GESAMP (2001), contamination of the coastal marine environment by sewage leads to significant numbers of infectious diseases linked to bathing and swimming in marine waters and to the consumption of seafood. Human exposures to toxins associated with algae blooms also impose significant risks 

Does sewage pollute the ocean?

Sewage pollution is an especially pernicious ocean threat, due to the many types of pollutants it contains; the direct and indirect ways it pollutes freshwater, nearshore, coastal, and marine systems throughout a watershed; its global reach; its myriad impacts; and its relative neglect by philanthropic and development.

How to prevent Sewage Overflows?

There are many ways you can help reduce sewage pollution from entering our water bodies.  Reducing water use and keeping everything but sanitary waste out of pipes reduces sewer backups and overflows and saves money in the long run.

Conserve Water!

Conserving water can help reduce pollution of our water bodies.  More water used in our homes means more water treated at wastewater treatment facilities.  Taking the following actions may help reduce the volume of water requiring treatment and decrease the potential for sewage overflows during storms:

  • Shut off faucets when not in use
  • Repair leaking faucets or pipes
  • Take shorter showers
  • Install low flow devices on faucets and showerheads and install low flow/dual flush toilets
  • Replace older dishwashers and washing machines with newer, more energy efficient and water conserving models
  • Use rainwater to water your gardens by installing rain barrels.

Don't Dump Fats, Oil and Grease Down drains

These build up in sewer pipes and can cause sewers to overflow or backup into homes and businesses. MA The build-up of fats, oils and grease causes many collection system overflows.  Grease, oils or fatty substances dumped down residential or restaurant kitchen sinks can build-up in sewer pipes. These build-ups can cause Overflows or back-ups of sewage into homes.  Instead of dumping them down the sink, allow fats, oils and grease to cool and dispose of them in the trash. Restaurants should install grease traps and collect used oil and grease for proper disposal. 

.Don't dump fats, oils and grease down drains. These build up in sewer pipes and can cause sewers to overflow or backup into homes and businesses.

What not to Flush?

Certain materials that are commonly flushed down the toilet or dumped into kitchen sinks can damage sewer systems and wastewater treatment equipment, even when they are labeled as flushable:

  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Personal Hygiene Products

Do not flush any of these items, no matter how small, down the toilet.  Throw them in the trash 

How can we protect our sewage?

Protective face mask or splash-proof face shield to protect nose and mouth from splashes of human waste or sewage. Liquid-repellent coveralls to keep human waste or sewage off clothing. Waterproof gloves to prevent exposure to human waste or sewage. Rubber boots to prevent exposure to human waste or sewage.

How can sewage water pollution be reduced?

Conserve Water

  1. Shut off faucets when not in use.
  2. Repair leaking faucets or pipes.
  3. Take shorter showers.
  4. Install low flow devices on faucets and showerheads and install low flow/dual flush toilets.
  5. Replace older dishwashers and washing machines with newer, more energy efficient and water conserving models.


What do you mean by ballast water?

Ballast water is fresh or saltwater held in the ballast tanks and cargo holds of ships. It is used to provide stability and maneuverability during a voyage when ships are not carrying cargo, not carrying heavy enough cargo, or when more stability is required due to rough seas.

What is ballast water pollution?
Ballast water discharges are believed to be the leading source of invasive species in U.S. marine waters, thus posing public health and environmental risks, as well as significant economic cost to industries such as water and power utilities, commercial and recreational fisheries, agriculture, and tourism.

How does ballast water affects our environment?

Large cargo ships use ballast water to balance their weight and keep them stable during a voyage. Although it is essential for the safety of the ship, ballast water can be harmful to the marine environment as its discharge can release potentially invasive species into a new marine environment.

Is ballast water dirty?

Dirty ballast is water which may contain residual fuel and other constituents as a result of sea water being stored in fuel tanks. Dirty ballast is discharged to the environment after being processed through OCMs and/or OWS systems that ensure the ballast water fuel/oil concentrations are below Federal standards.

Why is ballast water an issue?

While ballast water is important for the proper operation of ships, this water adversely affects the surrounding marine environment and can introduce invasive species and organisms to water that alter the local ecosystem.

What does ballast water contain?

Ballast water discharge typically contains a variety of biological materials, including plants, animals, viruses and bacteria. There are hundreds of organisms carried in ballast water that cause ecological effects outside their natural environment. 

Does ballast water have pollution or contaminants in it?

Ballast water has been focused as a source of both chemical and biological pollution in ocean. Each year 10 billion tons of ballast water around the globe is released into foreign waters.

How does ballast water affect invasive species?

If the organisms within a ship's ballast tanks survive the trip to the next destination, they may be released with the ballast water into waters in which they do not naturally occur. If these nonnative organisms survive and spread throughout their new environment, they may become invasive species. 

How can ballast water treatment help with the environment?

The purpose of the Ballast Water Management System is to minimize the transfer of Non-indigenous harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens from one area to another (arrival port) through the ship's ballast water system. Invasive marine species are one of the four greatest threats to the world's oceans.

What is the importance of ballasting?

The major purposes of ballasting a vessel for a voyage are to increase its manageability (and safety), particularly under heavy weather conditions; control its draft and trim for maximum efficiency; and control its stability to ensure safe passage. 

What are the hazards during ballast water exchange?

Subsequent discharge of ballast water or sediment into the waters of port states may result in the establishment of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens which may pose threats to indigenous human, animal and plant life, and the marine environment.

Why is ballast water management important?

Ballast water is important for safe and efficient operation of vessels; however it also leads to a variety of marine organisms being transported from one environment to another. Studies have revealed that invasion of such organisms causes harmful ecological, economic and health effects in the host environment.

Eliminate pollution from ship ballast water, oil, sewage and garbage

Ensure effective waste management, waste reduction and recycling onboard and in ports by ensuring proper stowage, segregation and handling. Ensure zero Ocean dumping policies. Strictly following International regulations.