Wednesday, November 7, 2018

From Container Ships to Floating Energy Platforms Ballast Water Treatment Systems are a Must

IMO Regulations Bite and Prompt Profits for Manufacturers and Retro Fitters
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – The necessity to ensure that ballast water discharged from all vessel types is clean and unlikely to pollute the waters that receive it has never been more important. Unfortunately over the years we have catalogued a succession of ecological disasters caused by alien organisms being introduced to a new environment by this method. The situation demanded action, hence the introduction last year of the ballast water management convention (BWM Convention) from the IMO covering everything from container ships to offshore energy platforms.

The evidence that the International Maritime Organization’s regulations are starting to bite comes with the slough of press releases from producers and fitters of ballast water treatment systems which arrive in our mailboxes every week. Having received three such in just 24 hours indicates the state of the market for the technology. Firstly French based BIO-UV Group reported a Q3 2018 revenue of €3.4 million, up 30% on last year, prompting President and CEO, Benoît Gillmann, to say:

“The expanding ballast water market is the main driver underpinning growth, and one that is expected to continue over coming months. We are currently experiencing a ramp-up in order intake following our USCG certification and anticipate BIO-UV Group total revenue growth in 2018 of at least 15%, driven in particular by a sharp acceleration of the ballast water treatment market, which should secure growth of at least 60% over the full year.”

Owners operating the UV-based BIO-SEA include Maersk Lines, MSC Cruises, CMA CGM and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs with over 100 vessels now utilising the system. Across all the available technologies, eleven ballast water treatment systems have received IMO and USCG approval. BIO-UV Group is one of only three manufacturers of UV-based ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) to have obtained approvals from both the International Maritime Organisation and the US Coast Guard.

One more system, the Evac Evolution BWMS, designed and manufactured by Cathelco, has now been added to the pending list for US Coast Guard Type Approval. When Finnish-based Evac acquired Cathelco earlier this year, the latter were already well on the way to USCG Type Approval having completed all the stages of the land and sea-based testing programmes. For this reason, the system appears on the pending list under Cathelco’s name.

Based on a combination of filtration and UV technology, the makers say the Evac Evolution system has been tested in ‘real world’ conditions and technically enhanced over a 10 year period, and the Evac Group has a turnover of €160 million with offices in 14 countries across four continents. The system can be retrofitted and Evac says a unique feature of the system is a feedback ‘loop’ which ensures thorough irradiation of organisms, whilst ensuring that power is used as economically possible.

The Cathelco UV transmission sensor system ensures precise UV dosage by adjusting the UV level to different water qualities. It is achieved by taking a sample of sea water before it reaches the UV chambers and measuring the amount of UV light actually passing through it. This works in conjunction with UV intensity meters which are mounted on the chamber and measure the intensity of light which is received.

As with BIO-UV, Evac systems have been fitted to a range of vessels including container ships, Ro/Ro vessels, bunkering tankers, offshore supply vessels and Arctic fishing craft. Meanwhile marine engineering group Goltens claims to be the global leader in BWT retrofits. As with so many maritime related companies, Goltens has a history of Norwegian origin and is named both after the founder, and the island of his birth, and includes general ocean engineering with the two growth areas of NOx ‘scrubber’ and BWT retrofitting in its portfolio of services.

Again with a global presence, unlike the BWT manufacturers, Goltens says it offers a variety of solutions by transferring experience between BWT systems allowing owners to deal with a single, trusted engineering and retrofit partner, while retaining the option of choosing the optimal system to meet their needs.

Photo: The innocuous looking Eurasian ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua), known as the ruffe or pope to anglers in Europe, passed into the waters of the Great Lakes where its prodigious spread, along with that of the Zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), prompted the US National Invasive Species Act (NISA) which is specifically aimed at ballast water discharges.