Friday, May 18, 2012

Container and Bulk Freight Group Subsidiary Retrofits Ballast Water Systems

Forest Product Specialist Saga Opts for Optimarin
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY – JAPAN – WORLDWIDE – One of the subsidiaries of bulk freight and container shipping line Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has opted to retrofit fleet wide ballast water systems using the services of Norwegian headquartered Optimarin. Regular readers will be familiar with some of the horror stories which have resulted as a direct result of alien invasions enabled by the careless release of water from ballast tanks.

Saga Shipholding (Norway) AS has authorised the retrofit contract, exceeding £10.5 million, and which covers complete ballast water treatment (BWT) systems including engineering and service agreements for 24 sophisticated open-hatch bulk carriers. With an agreement already in place for seven Saga and one NYK newbuildings, Optimarin’s combined Saga work program now amounts to around £15 million. Optimarin’s aggregate order book now stands at £26 million, representing over 110 vessels which it claims positions the company as the world’s leading BWT systems supplier to the global shipping industry.

The Saga contracts call for large scale Optimarin Ballast Systems (OBS) capable of handling all seawater salinities and fresh water in accordance to the International Maritime Organisation’s ballast water management convention. The OBS system features a fully back-flushing filter with 40 micron screens. It is fully automatic and self-cleaning and capable of removing large sediment particles, zooplankton and phytoplankton under heavy sediment load conditions.

Saga is an international ocean shipping company specialising in the transportation of forest products and the company’s box-shaped open-hatch vessels represent one of the newest and most sophisticated and flexible fleets of forest product carriers in the world today. Each vessel is fitted with two specialised gantry cranes of 40-42 MT lifting capacity, which in turn provide high-capacity and speed for loading and discharging of unitised cargo. Each vessel is fully inter-changeable within the trades that Saga operates.

Saga is entering one of the most extensive newbuilding programs in the open hatch gantry industry by ordering seven plus on NYK owned sophisticated open hatch gantry vessels from Oshima Shipbuilding of Japan and DSME of Korea for delivery in 2012/13. Eivind Holte, Senior Technical Manager at Saga, said:

“We seek robust quality in all aspects of our business and found Optimarin’s BWT technology to meet our worldwide trading demands. Optimarin’s automatic backwash solution, monitored by a pressure switch, ensures and maintains filter efficiency. This was an important factor when making our final decision. Optimarin’s flexible modular construction means efficient use of space and power and easy integration with ship systems. This gave us the confidence we needed and we have chosen Optimarin for each and every ship. With ship crews rotating from vessel to vessel, we felt that one system, one supplier, grants the best economy of scale and safest operation.”

Optimarin’s fully back-flushing filter results in a pressure drop of less than 0.5 bar. Filtered ballast water is directed to a disinfection chamber where ultraviolet lamps deliver UV radiation for 100% disinfection. Optimarin integrates its UV disinfection and advanced filtration systems into one compact unit, thus achieving low power consumption, easy installation and small footprint. The system does not deteriorate ballast tank coatings. Lars Traaseth, Saga Managing Director, commented:

“There is going to be a serious bottleneck when some 50,000 ships scramble to meet global BWT regulations in a few years’ time. Now with the US Coast Guard pushing ballast water ratification, global ship owners must ramp up their BWT decision-making choices. We are one of them. Saga’s state of the art modern fleet carries a wide variety of traditional unitised and bulk cargoes. Our modern open-hatch gantry vessels ensure the highest quality cargo care and demand a high-tech, environmentally friendly BWT system.

“We have been researching BWT systems since 2005. We chose Optimarin due to its proven technology and quality at a competitive price. We are not taking a wait and see attitude, but are taking advantage of a buyers’ market and a BWT system with a good track record. Non-prudent ship owners could face price hikes in a few years’ time.”