Wärtsilä Ballast Water Management Systems: A Solution of Choice
Wärtsilä article August 2012
Producer: Mirja-Maija Santala, Media Manager, Wärtsilä Corporation
Ratification of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, which will require the owners of up to 40,000 vessels worldwide to install a ballast water management system (BWMS) by 2016, is widely anticipated within the next 12 months. As a consequence, ship owners have to evaluate, as a matter of some urgency, the ballast water treatment technology best suited to both their existing and new ships.
The issue is urgent; an increasing number of aquatic ecosystems, primarily near shorelines, are being compromised by non-native species. Although the technology is ready and has been developed under the toughest guidelines, there remain outstanding challenges before unilateral implementation ensues.
US Concerns Allayed
One of the main concerns expressed by ship owners is the fear of investing in a technology that may not comply with all regulations. Part of this resistance has been based on concerns that the US would implement stricter ballast water treatment standards than those laid down by the IMO’s 2004 Ballast Water Convention. However this fear has was recently allayed with a US Coast Guard (USCG) announcement in March 2012 confirming that performance discharge standards numerically identical to the IMO’s D2 discharge standard would be instilled with an effective date of 21 June 2012. The USCG has also said that any system that has an IMO Type Approval certificate issued by or on behalf of a non-US flag administration could be accepted under its Alternative Management Systems (AMS) provisions, having been previously subject to a USCG assessment, allaying fears of stricter US discharge standards. Such systems would have a period of five years to gain full US Type Approval. The challenge of differing approval procedures and possible variations in policing mechanisms between the US and IMO remains, however.
Clarification from the US represents a milestone for BWMS. And while a level of regulatory confusion appears to have been removed and with it an obstacle to shipowners going ahead and installing BWMS, a second concern from shipowners – the capability of the technology -should also be abated. Such is the high standard of technology created as a result of intense land based testing that each BWMS undergoes in Europe and the US, followed by shipboard trials designed to ensure that the technologies work in practice as well as in theory, that BWMS has effectively undergone more scrutiny than any other system fitted on international vessels. The tightest standards for approval and adherence to those standards are integral to the development of ballast water treatment solutions - demonstrated over the last three years as two Type Approved systems were withdrawn from the market by their developers.
Choice of Solution
Wärtsilä recognises that no one solution will be suitable across all ship types, sizes and environmental conditions. Wärtsilä’s approach does not favour or prejudice one technology over another, offering a suite of solutions that can supply ship owners with whatever is right for them and their vessels. BWMS supply can be on an equipment only basis or as part of a full turnkey supply and installation solution, providing through life support - something Wärtsilä knows that most ship owners place great importance on. There are choices to be made and Wärtsilä is ideally placed to partner with ship owners to assess which technology is best for them.
Expertise and Scale
Wärtsilä’s expertise, scale and financial strength make it the best partner for future proofing ballast water solutions in terms of innovation through investment in research and development, continuous improvement, class certification and achieving ongoing compliance. Moreover, its turnkey solution offering means that customers benefit from the full lifecycle value of working with Wärtsilä; from survey, design, equipment procurement, delivery and installation, to commissioning, approval, training and maintenance of the system. This ensures these technologies offer the best value in terms of total cost of ownership, factoring in purchase cost, operational and maintenance costs.
The following range has been developed to provide Wärtsilä’s customers with a choice of ballast water solutions:
Wärtsilä AQUARIUS® UV
A modular BWMS utilising a two stage approach involving filtration and medium pressure UV disinfection technology. The AQUARIUS®UV BWMS has completed land based trials conducted over spring/summer 2011 at the NIOZ test facility in the Netherlands. Ship-based trials have also been completed on a Dutch flag 2,000 dwt chemical tanker, carried out by independent expert consultants, GoConsult, and witnessed by Lloyds Register, involving testing in salt and fresh water environments to demonstrate compliance over a wider range of operating conditions. Feedback to date is very positive since testing began in February 2011 with results consistently meeting the IMO D2 discharge standard. Type Approval is anticipated in Autumn 2012.
Wärtsilä AQUARIUS® EC
A modular BWMS that uses a two stage process, involving filtration and electro-chlorination (EC). The AQUARIUS® EC treats ballast water on uptake only and on discharge treated ballast water is neutralized if required. This system has also completed land based trials in spring/summer 2011, conducted at the NIOZ test facility in the Netherlands and is undergoing trials on a 14,000 dwt Ro-Ro vessel conducted by GoConsult and witnessed by Lloyds Register. An extensive investigation is in progress assessing the effects of treated ballast water on the integrity of ballast tank coatings. Feedback to date has, been very positive since testing began in February 2011 with results consistently meeting IMO D2 requirements. GESAMP BWWG has reviewed the AQUARIUS® EC BWMS and Basic Approval is expected at MEPC 64 in October 2012, followed by Final Approval at MEPC 65. Type Approval is anticipated in Summer 2013.
For further information, please contact:
Ms Mirja-Maija Santala
Tel. +358 400 793 827
Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in complete lifecycle power solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising technological innovation and total efficiency, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2011, Wärtsilä’s net sales totalled EUR 4.2 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in nearly 170 locations in 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki, Finland.