The deadline is approaching for ballast water treatment systems to comply with IMO’s revised G8 guidelines
As of 28 October 2020, any system without revised G8 certification will be ineligible for installation. “Shipowners considering a ballast water treatment system today must think carefully about when their system will be installed,” says head of Alfa Laval PureBallast Peter Sahlén.
The IMO G8 guidelines, which establish type-approval procedures for ballast water treatment systems, were revised in 2016 to secure greater testing consistency. Whereas the original guidelines were less specific and led to varying interpretations among land-based test facilities, the revised G8 guidelines provide clear definitions of organism viability and the various means of assessing it.
“Although the guidelines were revised in 2016, there are still only a few suppliers with revised G8 certificates in hand,” says Mr Sahlén. “With the implementation date just a short time away, customers need to be alert when selecting a ballast water treatment system.”
A revision to ensure a sound investment
The revised G8 guidelines are significantly more robust in their type-approval requirements. This is an important change, which was driven in part by customer organisations such as the International Chamber of Shipping.
“Some of the systems that were type-approved according to the original G8 guidelines have failed to meet the D-2 performance standard when subjected to additional tests or evaluation,” Mr Sahlén explains. “The 2016 revision protects customers. It ensures that the large investments they make in ballast water treatment will bring the intended results – instead of simply adding to vessel hardware and operations.”
Global consequences for missing the deadline
The revised G8 guidelines bring IMO type-approval testing more in line with US Coast Guard requirements. However, their impact goes much further. Since the vast majority of the world’s ports fall under IMO jurisdiction, there are wide-reaching consequences to overlooking the revised G8 deadline.
“In terms of geographical impact, not meeting the revised G8 guidelines is far more limiting for a ballast water treatment system than not having USCG type-approval,” Mr Sahlén says. “If the installation date for a new system falls on or after 28 October 2020, the system has to be certified according to the revised G8 requirements. Otherwise, the vast majority of ports are off-limits.”
First with revised G8 approval – Alfa Laval PureBallast 3
Given these facts, it is surprising that only a handful of ballast water treatment systems have been certified according to the revised G8 guidelines. The first of them was Alfa PureBallast 3, the third generation of Alfa Laval’s UV-based ballast water treatment technology, which received its revised G8 type-approval in February 2018.
“PureBallast 3 met the revised G8 requirements with no changes to its power consumption or flow capabilities, which demonstrates the robustness of our solution,” says Mr Sahlén. “For PureBallast 3 customers, the system and market-leading performance they are used to will remain the optimal choice, even after October 2020.”