Sunday, September 7, 2014

Newbuild Flagship to Help Maintain Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Research Vessel Must Have Efficient Ballast Water Management System
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY – WORLDWIDE – The effects that untreated ballast water can have on environmental systems around the world can be devastating and often irreversible, and if a vessel were to be commissioned to undertake specific assignments in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to assist in the sustainable management of natural resources, as has the Institute of Marine Research’s (IMR) new research vessel, Dr Fridtjof Nansen, the lack of a ballast water management system could be counter-productive to say the least.

To curb the effects of any invasive species the Dr Fridtjof Nansen could have on her surrounding environment, the IMR has selected a ballast water treatment (BWT) system developed by Optimarin for use on its new flagship. The system, currently installed on 180 vessels worldwide, will help to ensure the NOK 450 million (USD 73 million) newbuild inactivates marine organisms transported in its ballast tanks, safeguarding the ecosystems examined on its high-profile scientific assignments.

Owned by the Norwegian Foreign Aid Directorate (Norad) and operated by the Bergen-headquartered IMR, the research vessel is a ST-369 design currently under construction at the Astilleros Gondan shipyard in Spain. The vessel is expected to be completed in 2016. Optimarin’s technology was recommended to IMR by the yard, as explained by Mr. Ceferino Ron, Factory Director, Astilleros Gondan:

“The Dr Fridtjof Nansen will be an important vessel with a crucial mission. It was essential that we selected a proven BWT solution with a track record of reliability, efficiency and the successful elimination of all potentially invasive marine organisms. We want all our newbuilds to conform with requirements and operate in accordance to the highest standards, and we’re happy to have found a BWT supplier that shares those same values.”

Optimarin’s system, which utilises filtration and high doses of UV irradiation to inactivate organisms, is an environmentally friendly solution with full IMO approval, US Coast Guard’s Alternate Management System (USCG AMS) acceptance, and certification through DNV GL, BV, RMRS, and CCS. IMR’s contract adds to the over 120 units currently in the Optimarin’s orderbook. Optimarin CEO Tore Andersen.

“IMR fully understands the threat that the estimated ten billion tons of untreated ballast water transported annually poses to marine biodiversity, with some 7,000 species carried every day in ballast water tanks. Sustainability, environmental stewardship and responsible operations are essential to their mission, and our BWT solution will go some way to helping them achieve their goals.”

The newbuild Dr Fridtjof Nansen will replace a current vessel, built in 1993, with the same name. She will boast a total of seven laboratories and 32 cabins (sleeping up to 45 people), with a length of 74.5m and breadth of 17.4m. Key operational tasks will include assignments relating to the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and the Nansen programme for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Dr Fridtjof Nansen was an oceanographer globally renowned for his crossing of Greenland and the ‘Fram’ expedition. Nansen, who died in 1930, was also a founder of ICES (the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) and a celebrated recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Photo: The newbuild’s predecessor moored in Gabon.