Alternative options

Regulation B-3.7 of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention allows for the development and approval of alternative BWM methods, provided they are deemed as giving equivalent protection to the environment as other approved methods.

There is currently much interest within the shipping industry in finding new ways of meeting the aims of the BWM Convention. GloBallast and GESAMP produced a joint technical review “Establishing equivalency in the performance testing and compliance of emerging alternative ballast water management systems” which describes new concepts in ship design.

You can also consult the Publication Emerging ballast water management systems  for other articles on the subject.

Contingency measures

In November 2012, under the IMO-Global Industry Alliance (GIA) framework, 23 experts from the Shipping Industry, Port Operators and Administrators, BWT Research, Technology Developers and IMO gathered for a one-day workshop in Singapore to present experiences and discuss the development of port/shore side solutions for ballast water treatment.

Based on the needs identified in this first workshop for new information and updates on developments in the field, it was decided to organize a second expert workshop on port‑based BWM contingency measures during the R&D Forum on BWM in Busan, Republic of Korea in October 2013.

At the GIA Workshop, Damen Shipyards Gorinchem reported on progress of the Ballast Water Reception and Treatment vessel. This vessel is in the design phase with plans to progress to the prototype phase. The vessel will receive ballast water at a rate of up to 500 cubic metres per hour and process with a commercially available ballast water management system prior to discharge into the harbour.

The United States National Park Service and the United States Geological Survey reported on progress of the Ballast Responder system. This is a mobile system that is transferred to the marine vessel for in-tank treatment. The system consists of a mixing system which is inserted into full or partially full ballast water tanks, a chemical dosing system to apply an active chemical and, after a holding time, a neutralizing agent. The system has completed prototype shipboard trials.

The Indian Register is developing the BWTBoat concept, a mobile facility that will be placed alongside the ship in the port. The BWTBoat will be fitted with type approved  BWTS along with control panels, pumps, power generators, and necessary piping/hose connections.

From the presentations, it was clear that the main drivers of port/shore-based treatment systems will be the entry into force of the IMO BWM Convention, the cost; the flexibility and the viable economic plan of implementation in ports.

Ship owners and ports gradually feel that the concept of port/shore-based BWTS is important. The industry would need to be better informed about the advantages of such systems in order for them to become “a driver”.

To bring the discussion at the international level, there is a need to move from the prototype to the demonstration concept through testing.