Reballasting at sea, as recommended by the IMO
guidelines, currently provides the best-available measure to reduce
the risk of transfer of harmful aquatic organisms, but is subject
to serious ship-safety limits. Even when it can be fully implemented,
this technique is less than 100% effective in removing organisms
from ballast water. Some parties even suggest that reballasting
at sea may itself contribute to the wider dispersal of harmful species,
and that island states located ‘down-stream’ of mid-ocean reballastring
areas may be at particular risk from this practice.
It is therefore extremely important that alternative, effective
ballast water management and/or treatment methods are developed
as soon as possible, to replace reballasting at sea. Significant
research and development (R&D) efforts are underway by a number
of scientific and engineering research establishments around the
world, aimed at developing a more complete solution to this problem.
Options being considered include:
- Mechanical treatment methods such as filtration and separation.
- Physical treatment methods such as sterilisation by ozone,
ultra-violet light, electric currents and heat treatment.
- Chemical treatment methods such adding biocides to ballast
water to kill organisms.
- Various combinations of the above.
All of these possibilities currently require significant further research
effort. Major barriers still exist in scaling these various technologies
up to deal effectively with the huge quantities of ballast water carried
by large ships (e.g. about 60,000 tonnes of ballast water on a 200,000
DWT bulk carrier). Treatment options must not interfere unduly with
the safe and economical operation of the ship and must consider ship
design limitations. Any control measure that is developed must meet
a number of criteria, including:
- It must be safe.
- It must be environmentally acceptable.
- It must be cost-effective.
- It must work.
For a list of available technologies, please consult the IMO website.
Additional information can also be found in LLoyd's Register publication.
One of the problems currently faced by the global R&D community
is that apart from the general criteria above, there are currently
no internationally agreed and approved performance standards or
evaluation system for the formal acceptance of any new techniques
that are developed. In addition, many groups are working in isolation
from each other, and there are no formal mechanisms in place to
ensure effective lines of communication between the R&D community,
governments and ship designers, builders and owners. These are vital
if the R&D effort is to succeed.
The GloBallast Programme hopes to reduce these barriers through
two initiatives, the Ballast Water Treatment R&D Directory (see
below), and convening bi-annual Ballast Water Treatment R&D
Symposium. The 1st Symposium was held in March 2001 (see below).
The PCU also convened a Ballast Water Treatment Standards Workshop
in March 2001, in an effort to assist the MEPC to finalize the newly
adopted Ballast Water Convention (see below).
Search the Ballast Water
Treatment R&D Directory (Database)
here for the Ballast Water Treatment R&D Directory (Adobe PDF)
Click here for the Abstracts from the
1st International Ballast Water Treatment R&D Symposium
Click here for
the Abstracts from the 2nd International Ballast Water Treatment
R&D Symposium (Adobe PDF)
for the Proceedings from the 1st International Ballast Water Treatment
here for the Report of the 1st International Ballast Water Treatment
here for the Summary of the Convention Requirements
R&D Forum 2010, Malmo, Sweden:
The Global R&D Forum on Emerging BWM Systems was held from 27 to 29 January 2010, and was intended to provide a possibility to showcase the new and emerging systems, which could complement the systems reviewed, tested and approved under the G8/G9 Guidelines of the BWM Convention. The Forum brought together the international community engaged in developing innovative ballast water management systems, including alternative management systems, providing an open debate and review of the existing and emerging systems and the way forward to push the technology envelope to meet the challenges of ballast water management. In addition, it allowed for a stock-taking on what we have learned so far, and a discussion on the possibilities and challenges ahead.
Approximately 240 participants attended the Forum. GloBallast PCU would like to thank the co-organizers and sponsors, namely the World Maritime University (WMU) the Global Industry Alliance (GIA), APL, BP Shipping, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Vela Marine International, Malmaty, the Interreg Ballast Water Opportunity project, Wilhelmsen Ships Equipment AS and Respartner AB.
Please read the Proceedings of the Global R+D Forum, Malmo, January 2010 for more information.
R&D Forum 2011, Istanbul, Turkey:
The fourth GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast Partnerships Project Research and Development Forum on Ballast Water Management (BWM) took place in Istanbul from 26 to 28 October 2011. The Forum was hosted by the Republic of Turkey at the Point Hotel Barbaros, Istanbul, and brought together academia, the shipping industry and the regulators for three days of cutting edge presentations and dialogue.
As the Convention is widely expected to enter into force within the next few years, the theme was "Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement: The next R&D challenge and opportunity".
The events were coordinated in cooperation with the Turkish Prime Ministry Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs (UMA) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). This Forum was preceded by the second IMO/GloBallast/IMarEST Shipbuilders Forum on 25 October (the first Shipbuilders Forum was held in Singapore November 2010).
Around 150 participants attended the Shipbuilders and the R&D Forum.
The Test Facilities for ballast water treatment technologies also met on 24 and 25 October.
Most of the world’s test facilities (Europe, Asia and North America) were represented, and significant progress was made. The group agreed to start formalizing their commitments to harmonize their approaches to testing under the G8/G9 Guidelines through an MoU between the facilities.
Proceedings are available here.
The presentations from the R&D Forum on BWM held in Istanbul are available online. Please visit the conference website where you will also find photos and other information.