Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Once Again it is Time to Focus on the Environmental Pollution from Ballast Water

With Change in Regulations Approaching There is No Time to Lose for Shipping
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – We have written many times over the years on the dangers inherent in ballast water transfers and, with major changes regarding the reinforcement of regulations appertaining to these due in 2024*, one of the major players in the industry has offered a timely reminder of the responsibilities of all ship owners in the form of a short, informative film.

The online video, viewable HERE, is from ballast water treatment (BWT) specialist Optimarin and is set to be broadcast on international news channel CBS News (CBSN), as well as being shared across social media platforms and promoted through Optimarin’s own online channels.

The Norwegian headquartered firm was the first to install a commercial treatment system in 2000, the first to obtain full USCG approval in 2016, and recently introduced the industry’s first leasing agreement to ensure flexible financing for ship owners worldwide. Tore Andersen, EVP Sales & Marketing, says the film marks another innovative way to support the development of a segment that deserves greater attention, adding:

“Untreated ballast water is a major driver in the spread of invasive species from one marine ecosystem to another. Water is pumped on board a vessel in one location and, unless properly treated, discharged in another full of organisms from the first. These ‘invasive species’ can thrive in their new environments, devastating ecosystems, damaging infrastructure and ruining livelihoods. Around 7,000 marine species are carried every single day in ballast water tanks, with about 10 billion tons of ballast water transported globally.

“Invasive species are the number one cause of species extinction, so this issue could not be more critical, especially at this point in human history. But ballast water and the threat it poses to the environment simply does not get the headlines it deserves. This is a major, major issue, for shipping, but also for the world at large. And thankfully, unlike many of the challenges we currently face, we have a solution!

“It is our mission to make ballast water treatment and compliance as simple as possible, working with the industry to help tackle challenges and satisfy individual demand. Every owner has a responsibility, both to comply with regulations and to serve society and protect the environment. This film will help demystify the issue and create awareness of its gravity and how to address it.”

The company focuses exclusively on BWT and has sold over 1000 systems with around 650 installed, of which approximately 40% are retrofitted. As it rightly points out to wait until the regulations change may prove the height of folly if the scramble to comply may outstrip the industry’s ability to fit enough systems in time. And anyway, why wait to protect the environment given the current mood of the shipping industry to clean itself up?

*Under the auspices of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM) new ships were required to install and comply with the D2 standard from 8 September 2017, once the Convention entered into force. Existing ships, which are subject to the phased implementation schedule, have potentially (depending on the renewal of their ship certificates) until the 8 September 2024 at the latest, by which time all ships must comply with the D2 standard.