The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments will come into force on 8 September 2017, and so competition among ballast water management (BWM) suppliers is intensifying.
Norway’s Optimarin was the first system supplier to gain full United States Coast Guard (USCG) type approval for its Optimarin Ballast System (OBS).
The development adds to IMO approval, and certification of OBS from several classification societies, including DNV GL, Lloyd’s, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and American Bureau of Shipping, according to the company.
Tore Andersen, Optimarin’s chief executive, said: “There are numerous units with USCG Alternate Management System (AMS) certification, but this is a temporary measure to allow trading in US waters. It really pays for shipowners to invest in fully compliant systems today for their entire fleets.” The OBS utilises a combination of filtration and 35kW UV lamps to treat ballast water without the need for chemicals.
DNV GL tested the system to USCG standards for fresh, brackish and marine water at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) test facility.
Optimarin has over 300 systems installed worldwide and has received almost 500 unit orders. Of the OBS units installed, over 60 have been retrofitted. In 2016 Optimarin won contracts for more than 120 BWM units. Mr Andersen commented: “We expect 2017 to be even better. The order pipeline is strong, our technology and compliance credentials are second to none, and the industry has a genuine need.”
Optimarin worked in conjunction with shipmanager Anglo-Eastern Ship Management to develop a BWM training facility in the Philippines to train crews. The facility opened in March 2017 and includes a fully functional OBS, with a special pump house, pipework, and practical and classroom-based learning environments.
Mr Andersen said: “Now that the BWM convention is finally coming into force, every applicable vessel in the world fleet requires a compliant system. It is therefore vital that crews everywhere get the training they need to ensure trouble-free, simple and reliable operation. The OBS is now established as the industry’s preferred choice with unbeatable compliance, including USCG approval, alongside simple installation and proven, environmentally friendly technology. It therefore made perfect sense to utilise it as the platform for teaching these skills.”
An OBS was previously installed at another Anglo-Eastern training facility in 2015 in Mumbai, India. Both facilities have been developed in collaboration with shipowner Saga Shipholding which has installed OBSs on its vessels.