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HANSA 03-2017

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Schiffstechnik | Ship

Schiffstechnik | Ship Technology Ballast water still in great debate As we roll closer to the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) coming into force, still more questions seem to be unanswered, writes Samantha Fisk September last year saw the BWMC finally ratified. Since then, however, flurries of activity have broken out around the practical side of how the convention will be applied once it enters in to force later this year, which for many still leaves a lot of work to be done and questions that need to be answered. Don Stephen, Balpure Systems, De Nora, says about the reaction to the ratification of the convention that: »Expectations were raised at SMM. The mood was buoyant with the expected build up of capacity of work. Since September we have had the IMO MEPC 70, which rather than clarified questions has allowed further discussion, which still leaves a lot of confusion with decisions being pushed to MEPC 71.« One of the issues that have been raised since the ratification is the implementation dates of installation of ballast water treatment systems (BWTS). Concerns that shipowners would not be able to meet with the current deadlines in place was put forward to the IMO MEPC 70 meeting that was held earlier this year. Further to this, there are also questions about what a delay in the implementation dates would mean for the industry. Stephen highlights that it could mean that it could be a further two to five years before installations begin. »The second area of change of attitude is the IOPP (International Oil Pollution Prevention) and the de-harmonising of these to dry-docking. The convention has a loophole in that if the IOPP is de-harmonised then they can delay installing a ballast system, with a renewed IOPP and have another five years. This will benefit only shipowners with (survey) dates near 2017,« he adds. Although Maria Brunn Skipper, director at the Danish Shipowners Association, does not believe that it is just a simple matter of changing the dates. »The implementation dates can’t be changed at MEPC 71 as it was an assembly decision. For that decision to be changed would need to come from the IMO secretariat,« she comments. Photo: De Nora De Nora – BalPure system However, the IMO has said that it will see that proactive shipowners will not be penalised. Markus Helavuori, technical offcer, marine environment division, IMO comments that: »The proposed amendments relate only to the implementation schedule so there is nothing to stop shipowners implementing the requirements earlier by installing approved BWM systems. IMO’s MEPC has agreed that »early movers«, in other words, shipowners that have already installed type-approved ballast water management systems prior to the application of the revised guidelines (G8), should not be penalised.« But, what are the issues now appearing from shipowners that have been proactive in their approach? Sahan Abeysekara, lead specialist, engineering systems, Lloyd’s Register recently highlighted that an installed system, doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been commissioned. If a shipowner has installed a system and has not used it to its full operational potential or not kept up with the checks required, then crew could be in for a few surprises when they switch a system on. The clear message from Abeysekara is: »If you have a system installed then it is time to use it.« Stephen also warns of the potential problems surrounding non-commissioned systems. »A large proportion of installed Phytoplankton plays an essential part in oceans, seas and freshwater ecosystems Photo: NOAA MESA Project 68 HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 3

Schiffstechnik | Ship Technology Don Stephen, BalPure Systems Photo: De Nora systems have not been used or used as designed. Some of these systems have been installed years ago, now we are seeing that these systems do not work because of not being maintained or that the crews initially trained are no longer onboard due to crew rotation,« he says. However, he also adds that the systems that his company has come across like this have been easily rectified and put back into service. He explains the circumstances of these systems: »Crews were unaware how to use the system, the system was not maintained along with the operation manuals.« Abeysekara also highlights that in the convention the ballast water needs to only meet with D1 & D2 standards for port state sampling. »There is a separate understanding with the IMO that if a system fails in the first couple of years then they [port state] won’t act,« he says. Placing faith into new technology requires the people investing in the technology to have a certain degree of belief in the product that they are buying into, but more so in this case where both financial and regulatory needs are to be met. The Danish Shipowners Association has said that it is working with shipowners to help them meet with the convention. »We are involved in deep discussions with the shipowners. It is the company’s decision, but there are many factors that need to be looked at, as these systems are very costly – 2–5 mill. $,« Skipper comments. Skipper further adds that »there are a number of IMO type approved systems, three US type approved. There are a lot of considerations to take place and strategic decisions. You want a system ideally approved by both, we need more systems that have type approval by both.« With regards to the testing of the systems, Helavuori explains the recent changes of the G8 guidelines: »The type approval process was expanded, with detailed requirements for land-based, shipboard, and other tests set out in an annex. A ballast water management system, which in every respect fulfils the requirements of the Guidelines, may be approved by the Administration for fitting on board ships. The approval should take the form of a Type Approval Certificate for BWMS, specifying the main particulars of the BWMS and any limiting operating conditions. The MEPC recommended application of the revised Guidelines (G8) as soon as possible and agreed that BWMS installed on ships on or after 28 October 2020 should be approved taking into account the revised guidelines. Systems installed prior to that date could be approved using the existing guidelines or the revised guidelines.« Sahan Abeysekara, lead specialist, engineering systems Photo: Lloyd’s Register Looking forward Stephen says: »In the longer term we are looking at having increased orders coming up. The industry in 2017 will have a quiet time, although it initially looked to be a significant year.« »2019 is a realistic date of when we expect to see installations starting to reach a significant volume. Expectations have been built up, but now the demand has been flattened, as we expect to see more ships also being scrapped in this time,« he adds. Abeysekara concludes that with time and experience we will get to know what the problems are. »We can’t deny that there will be changes to the revised G8. Once we have more experience then there will probably be more changes. There will be a road for change.« However, with the convention’s entry into force now descending on the industry at a rapid rate, can those critical decisions be made in time to give reassurance to the shipowners? M Diatoms seen through the microscope Photo: Gordon Taylor, Stony Brook University HANSA International Maritime Journal – 154. Jahrgang – 2017 – Nr. 3 69

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