Despite Covid-19-related logistical challenges, many ballast water treatment system manufacturers have gained US Coast Guard and IMO type-approvals in recent months
In the period from March 2020 to May 2021 a number of ballast water management systems (BWMS) were type-approved to US Coast Guard (USCG) standards or to the latest IMO standards, revised G8 and/or BWM Convention Code, despite MEPC and GESAMP experts having to meet virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, the USCG issued two type-approval certificates to NK, the South Korean manufacturer of the BlueBallast models. The certificates cover NK-03 BlueBallast II and NK-03 BlueBallast II Plus. The independent laboratory used in both cases was LR. The USCG certification notes that the NK-03 BlueBallast II and NK-03 BlueBallast II Plus versions were not approved for use on US-flag vessels but in both cases, this does not interfere with foreign-flag approvals. There is a strong possibility that both NK BWMS will be type-approved to Ballast Water Management Code (BMW Code), also known as MEPC.300(72) at MEPC 76, which is due to take place virtually in June 2021.
Also in March 2020, Bawat’s ballast water treatment system (BWTS), which uses waste heat from the ship’s boilers and engines, was awarded USCG type-approval. The awarding of the USCG type-approval is a significant step for the company. At the time, Bawat’s chief executive Marcus Hummer said: “We are extremely pleased to have been awarded type-approval by the USCG, which has one of the toughest approval processes.” The USCG type-approval followed BWM Code approval at MEPC 75 in 2020. The Bawat BWMS, which is also available in a containerised version, was also awarded an amended USCG type-approval in February 2021.
In April 2020, long-standing US manufacturer Hyde Marine received USCG type-approval for its Guardian-US BWMS. This followed BWM Code approval in January 2020. This was followed in May 2020 by Techcross of South Korea, which was awarded USCG and BWM Code type-approval for its ECS-HyChlor BWMS. The treatment principle of the Techcross ECS-HYCHLOR BWMS consists of filtration and electrolysis during uptake and neutralisation at discharge. This approval covers models with maximum treatment-rated capacities between 300 m3/hour and 8,000 m3/hour.
In May 2020, Singapore’s Semb-Eco LUV U1 BWMS was granted USCG type-approval and was to be approved to BWM Code later in the year. The treatment principle of the Semb-Eco LUV U1 BWMS consists of filtration and UV during uptake and discharge. This approval covers one model with a maximum treatment-rated capacity of 500 m3 per hour.
Miura of Japan’s HK-(E) R BWMS received USCG type-approval in May 2020, and an amended type-approval in December of that year. The BWMS also achieved recognition with the BWM Code. The treatment principle for the Miura HK-(E)R consists of filtration and UV treatment during uptake and UV treatment during discharge. This approval covers models with maximum intake treatment-rated capacities between 200 m3/hour and 900 m3/hour. A second Miura BWMS, the HK-S C model, was also USCG type-approved in 2020 and a third Japanese BWMS, the APTS-BLUEsys model from Panasonic Environmental Systems & Engineering was also to be approved in 2020 by the USCG and to BWM Code.
Another Japanese BWMS provider, Kuraray/Kashira, passed through the USCG type-approval system in June 2020. Its Microfade II BWMS consists of filtration with chemical injection treatment at uptake and neutralisation during discharge. The USCG approval covers six models with maximum treatment-rated capacities between 250 m3/hour and 2,000 m3/hour.
One of the more unusual BWMS to receive USCG type-approval in 2020 was the Glostens marine engineering spin-off company oneTank. This is a mobile system, which can be used for hard-to-reach tanks or as a port-based mitigation unit should the vessel’s own BWMS fail. The treatment principle of the oneTank consists of in-tank chemical injection, with in-tank neutralisation prior to discharge. This approval covers models with maximum treatment volumes up to 4,000 m3. The oneTank system is also BWM Code compliant.
Another BWMS that takes a different approach is the KBAL BWMS from Knutsen Technology. The treatment principle of the KBAL BWMS is based on using a pressure vacuum reactor in combination with UV radiation at intake and discharge. This approval covers two models with maximum treatment-rated capacities of 400 m3 per hour and 3,000 m3 per hour. The accreditation in December 2020 made the KBAL BWMS the 38th USCG type-approved system.
Another BWMS to achieve both USCG and BWM Code accreditation was the Seascape model from Elite Marine BWTS Corp. The treatment principle of the Seascape BWMS consists of filtration and UV treatment at intake and UV treatment at discharge. This approval covers models with maximum intake treatment-rated capacities between 80 m3 per hour and 5,000 m3 per hour.
The last BWMS to be USCG type-approved in 2020 was also one of the oldest. The Alfa Laval PureBallast 2 had been given IMO final active substance approval in March 2011, and the USCG had already given type-approval to Alfa Laval’s latest third-generation PureBallast 3 in 2019. Alfa Laval said that the granting of type-approval for PureBallast 2 will allow vessels with the earlier generation system to trade in US waters without hindrance.
“Hydrocyclone filtration was a technique used by several early BWMS systems, but only one has been certified”
The first BWMS to be granted type-approval in 2021 was the Kurita Water Industries KURITA model. The treatment principle of the KURITA BWMS is based on chemical injection at intake and neutralisation at discharge. This approval covers seven models with maximum treatment-rated capacities between 375 m3 per hour and 3,750 m3 per hour. The BWMS is also in compliance with the BWM Code.
Hydrocyclone filtration was a technique used by several early BWMS systems, but only one has been certified. The Chinese Wuxi Bright Sky BSKY model has been awarded USCG type-approval. This was in April 2021, when it became the 42nd BWMS to achieve USCG type-approval. The treatment principle of the Wuxi BSKY BWMS is based on hydrocyclone separation and UV treatment at intake, and UV treatment at discharge. The USCG type-approval covers 36 models with maximum treatment-rated capacities between 80 m3 and 6,000 m3 per hour.
SKF’s BlueSonic ballast water treatment system became commercially available in October 2020 and was granted USCG type-approval on 14 April 2021. The treatment principle of the SKF BlueSonic BWMS is based on filtration, ultrasonic waves, and UV treatment at intake, and ultrasonic waves and UV treatment at discharge. This approval covers models with maximum treatment-rated capacities between 100 m3 and 1,500 m3 per hour and complies with the BWM Code.
This brings the total number of USCG type-approvals to 42 BWMS. BWM Code compliance has been awarded to 36 BWMS and 29 BWMS hold both certifications (see Directory). A further six BWMS are on the USCG pending list and three BWMS are expected to achieve BWM Code compliance soon.