What’s in your ballast water?

With the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention 2004 getting closer to ratification, ship owners will be starting to think about how they meet the new requirements for ballast water treatment.

With three to five billion tonnes of ballast water transferred internationally each year, ships picking up ballast water also pick up local animals, plants and bacteria that live in the water. When a non-native organism is released from a ship’s ballast water into coastal waters, it can become an ecological pest, destabilizing the whole local marine eco system.

While future ship designs may reduce the dependence on ballast water, 90 per cent of the world’s commodities are moved by ship and those vessels have a need to meet the future requirements of the new Convention when it comes into force.

Review and evaluate requirements

The first step is to review and evaluate the ballast water treatment system required, taking into consideration ship operation profiles and existing ballast arrangements. With various technical solutions available from different manufacturers choosing the right system is critical.

SeaTec Engineering, part of V.Group’s marine technical division, has been following developments for some years. With good practical experience of the legislation and the retrofit installation challenges, along with wider technical expertise across the Group they offer clients access to a full range of services from procurement through to the vitally important crew training.

In a recent case, SeaTec was approached by a UK ship owner to provide a review and evaluation of the potential treatment systems for their fleet. A comprehensive 3D laser scan of the machinery spaces was conducted to determine the unique factors on each vessel.

The results were used to prepare arrangement drawings of the proposed system installation to assess the feasibility and identify the most suitable system for each vessel. The final engineering design package was prepared for Classification Society approval and the complete system successfully installed two weeks ahead of schedule.