Ballast water management system (BWMS) manufacturers and others have mounted a challenge to the US Coast Guard’s (USCG’s) ruling in December that the ‘most probable number’ analysis method for assessing treatment equipment is not acceptable.
The ruling affects UV-based technology in particular and the decision was addressed specifically to four manufacturers – Hyde Marine, Trojan Marinex, Desmi Ocean Guard and Alfa Laval – that had filed applications in 2014 for MPN to be an acceptable method. Apart from Hyde Marine, they have completed their shipboard and land-based testing and submitted type-approval applications based on MPN analysis.
Desmi Ocean Guard said yesterday that it will appeal USCG’s decision, which it said is “not right for many reasons” and its statement tackles the key difference between the USCG and IMO requirements, which hinges on whether an organism is rendered unviable or is dead. “The USCG rule does not define the word ‘living’, but in relevant governmental documents a living organism is defined as “an organism that has the ability to pass genetic material on to the next generation,” its statement said.
Desmi Ocean Guard’s chief executive Rasmus Folsø told BWTT: “it is universally agreed that ‘living’ means, ‘having life’ [which] includes being able to reproduce. … So if an organism cannot reproduce it is not living. The only ones we have ever come across that mean something different is USCG.”
The company’s statement includes links to a website, launched last week, that encourages visitors to lobby the USCG to reconsider its decision and provides template letters and a ready-made email that can be sent from the site to the USCG’s commandant, Adm Paul Zukunft, and various other senior USCG officials. It also provides detailed information about the test methods and USCG’s decision, with supporting material to argue that the USCG’s decision “will negatively impact shipowners, the environment, legislators, international policymakers, marine consultants and concerned citizens.”
The site describes its un-named backers as “a concerned group of organisations whose main goal is to educate the industry about the MPN method” and the site was registered through Perfect Privacy, which exists to hide website ownership details.
Asked to give a sense of the extent of the network behind the site, Mark Kustermans, marketing manager at Trojan Marinex, told BWTT that the website was developed “in co-operation and in partnership with various UV manufacturers, academics, test facilities and shipowner associations.” They include “those UV manufacturers [that have] submitted USCG type-approval applications, and are in the process of appealing the USCG’s preliminary decision,” he said
He also referred to the site’s ‘expert opinion’ section to indicate some of the other organisations involved, who have provided letters of support. As of today (26 January), that section contains links to 13 letters, all from universities and testing laboratories.
If USCG does not change its position, Desmi Ocean Guard predicted that the environment will be affected because its decision “will promote chemical-based ballast water treatment, which will lead to a significant increase in discharges of disinfection by-products into the world’s oceans, which is of increasing concern to scientists and regulators.” Its statement ended: "We urge those affected by this preliminary decision to speak up and take action."