Impending Ballast Water Convention gets manufacturers excited

Lion Fish
Invasive species given stay of execution

It’s official. After a protracted wait and constant wrangling, the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention will come into effect in September 2017.

It was Finland’s ratification of the Convention last week, which pulled the trigger when more than 35% of the world’s fleet by gross tonnage became signed up.

“This is a truly significant milestone for the health of our planet,” said IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim.

“The spread of invasive species has been recognized as one of the greatest threats to the ecological and the economic well-being of the planet. These species are causing enormous damage to biodiversity and the valuable natural riches of the earth upon which we depend. Invasive species also cause direct and indirect health effects and the damage to the environment is often irreversible,” he added.

This particular milestone has taken 26 years to reach. After more than 14 years of complex negotiations between IMO Member States, the “International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments”, to give it its rather grandiose title, was adopted by consensus on 13 February 2004. And still there are concerns, with no one form of system approval in place. US Coast Guard approval is more stringent than that set by IMO. But none of this is likely to upset BMWS manufacturers for the moment. A long awaited sales bonanza is finally in sight.

“Ratification of the Ballast Water Convention is a step in the right direction,” says Stelios  Kyriacou of Wartsila.

“For a number of years now our approach has been to plan and prepare for this day. Wartsila has invested in making available flexible production capacity in two geographic regions.  We have been delivering equipment from both locations for some time now,” he adds.

Competition is likely to be fierce, according to Dr Kyriacou. “The marine equipment market is always competitive.  With some 70 competitors in the mix there is enough choice for the ship owners to select from.”

There is a large market for all makers to compete and there will be sectors where the competition will be significant.

“We can foresee that competition in the UV supplier domain to be significant as there are many makers positioned with such technology. Wartsila offers a technology choice and a proven capability to deliver retrofit solutions and projects globally,” says Dr Kyriacou.

Wärtsilä is offering two ballast water management system solutions to meet the requirements of individual owners and their vessels; “We have developed two complementary ballast water management systems.  The Wartsila portfolio comprises two complementary BWMS solutions based on Filter – UV (Aquarius UV) and Filter – side stream electro-chlorination (Aquarius EC).  Both technologies are IMO type approved, USCG AMS accepted and market ready.

“We are excited that after many years of preparation, we can finally start tackling the problem of invasive species,” says Steve Schott, Calgon Carbon’s Executive Vice President, Advanced Materials, Manufacturing, and Equipment Division, the parent company of Hyde Marine.

“In anticipation of this day, our Hyde Marine team has been assembling a strong network of partners and suppliers to meet customer demand for our Hyde GUARDIAN Gold ballast water treatment system,” he adds.

“We’re proud to be a part of this moment,” says Randy Dearth, Calgon Carbon’s chairman, president and chief executive. “It has been a long road, but in the end it is the environment that benefits most from implementing this needed Convention. By having sold over 450 systems, we are well positioned to service this very exciting market.”

The Hyde GUARDIAN Gold BWTS has received IMO Type Approval and uses space-efficient filtration and ultraviolet disinfection to treat ships’ ballast water to prevent the spread of invasive species from port to port.

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