Will 2019 finally be the year where we see some action with regards to implementation of ballast water treatment solutions? 15 years after the adoption of IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention in 2004 one would think it is about time that actions speak louder than words. USCG has already overtaken IMO with its own regulations. Many BW treatment makers and developers have been ready for years, as has UniBallast with its UBPC, engineering capacity available for retrofits, mobile (containerized) treatment solutions, a complete concept for In Port Treatment facilities, etc. Now the ball is in the court of the ship owners (associations) and member states.
Luckily it seems responsibility is being taken and we see some promising initiatives, like the “Atlantic Blue Ports” project. This project, selected in May 2017 by the Atlantic area Interreg program, has as main objective to improve port based services for the discharge and treatment of ships effluents.
The project gathers 28 partners and associated partners, representing ports, PRF operators, public authorities, companies and universities from the whole Atlantic area. Their common goal is to motivate maritime communities to stop discharge at sea by designing attractive port services. (Information from: https://atlantic-blue-ports.webnode.fr/)
UniBallast welcomes this project, since it has already developed several concepts for Port Based Ballast Water Reception and Treatment Facilities which are easy to integrate, operate and providing ports with competitive advantages towards ship owners. One of the concepts, the mobile version, works with barges that collect ballast water from ships -even outside the port on open sea- which transport it to a larger storage and/or treatment facility.
Advantages are that ships do not have to wait for treatment when de-ballasting, the concept ensures that de-ballasting flow for treatment is always similar to the ballast water pump’s pumping capacity. Thus ship’s operations are not limited by the in-port treatment operations. Ship owner’s responsibility ends immediately after discharge, vessels are not required to wait for actual treatment and IMO/USCG required holding times for discharge. For a complete regenerative system treated ballast water can be reused for ballast water intake by other ships.
UniBallast has developed an IACS type approved Universal Ballast Water Port Connector (UBPC) for discharge from the ship to the collection barge . The UBPC is available in various sizes from 4″ – 12″ or 20” or more upon request, depending on the flow capacity needed, and can be installed in the ship’s hull or on deck. Outside a flexible rubber hose connects the ship to a treatment facility, e.g. a collection barge, portable treatment container or other port reception facility. Inside the UBPC has a tie-in to the existing piping of the ship’s ballast water system. The ship’s own ballast water pump is used, so there is no loss of flow capacity compared to the normal ship’s ballast water discharge operation.