Providing ballast water reception facilities at ports and terminals would present an alternative to shipping companies having to install ballast water management systems on ships
Experts from a class society and a manufacturer at Riviera Maritime Media’s When alternate ballast water management systems displace retrofit projects webinar explained the benefits of ports providing fixed or floating facilities to process ballast water. This event, sponsored by Bawat, was held on 22 June during Riviera’s Ballast Water Webinar Week.
ABS Global Sustainability Center senior principal engineer William Burroughs and Bawat chief commercial officer Jakob Olsson explained how port investments could be alternatives to owners deploying ballast water management systems (BWMS) on their vessels.
They spoke about alternate methods for treating and managing ballast water to reduce costs for owners and provide treated fluids to operators; reviewed the total cost of a BWMS versus alternate treatment methods; whether alternate treatment providers can guarantee discharges to meet local standards; and compared capital and operational expenditure with a traditional BWMS.
Mr Burroughs urged more ports and terminals to invest in ballast water reception facilities, whether fixed ashore or mobile on barges, for ships docking at their quaysides.
“Ballast water reception with full support at ports could work and should be embraced by our industry,” he said. “These would create viable alternatives for BWMS solutions for shipping.”
These facilities would enable ships to discharge their untreated ballast water and refill with treated fluids if required and would be available to ships if their onboard BWMS was not working correctly.
“Ports need to provide ballast water reception as an integrated part of ballast water management,” said Mr Burroughs. “Owners need to be prepared to work with ballast water reception facilities.”
Challenges to widespread introduction include the cost of reception facilities, ongoing running costs and technical challenges such as the methodology of connecting ships to these facilities.
“They do not know how to connect the large pipes yet – this is something we need to know for water pipe connections on ships,” said Mr Burroughs.
“Class societies will need to be involved for uniformity of hose connections on ships and reception facilities to minimise issues. There may need to be class notations in the next few years.”
These challenges are worth overcoming as onshore or barge-mounted facilities would be beneficial to shipping as it would help owners avoid port state control fines for BWMS issues or non-compliance.
It could also prevent issues for ships requested to return out to sea to deballast before they are allowed into terminals, which could disrupt schedules, unloading/reloading operations and charterer agreements.
When it comes to the type of water treatment these facilities could offer, Mr Burroughs said using ultra-violet (UV) light or pasteurisation would be the best methods. “I do not think electro-chlorination would work – it is not the technology for these facilities,” he said.
“UV technology will work here as there would be no hold times and water can be treated to IMO and US Coast Guard approval. Pasteurisation would also be attractive for ballast water reception.”
Mr Olsson agreed, as pasteurisation is a “one-pass technology with no filters” and is easy to install and operate. “It is clearly good for shipowners to go for as it is simple to operate” he said.
Bawat’s technology uses waste heat from main engines or shipboard generators to heat ballast water to at least 64ºC to 72ºC to destroy microbes before it can be discharged before entering ports.
“This is D2-compliant and there is no need for secondary treatment, which means ships can discharge from their ballast tanks,” said Mr Olsson.
“It is simple to maintain as the crew already know about heat exchangers and pumps. This is something owners should consider when installing BWMS.”
Bawat has a modular, containerised system for temporary requirements, such as installation on offshore drilling rigs and support vessels, such as platform supply vessels.
These could also be used on barges or onshore reception facilities. “We could deliver D2-compliant ballast water into ballast tanks in any operating areas,” said Mr Olsson.
There still needs to be more industry acceptance and interest in ballast water reception centres, as more than two-thirds of the attendees of this webinar had not spoken to companies offering these services.
In a poll, delegates were asked had they, or any of their managed vessels discussed ballast water reception with any company offering that service. Only 30% said yes, and the other 70% said no.
There is an underlying demand for ballast water reception services as 37% of attendees who responded to the question said their managed or owned vessels had experienced BWMS outages that forced them to delay their charter obligations. The other 63% said they had not.
In another poll question, 76% said they knew of the existence of both one-pass and two-pass ballast water management systems, while the other 24% said they had not.