Australia has submitted an information paper (MEPC 76/INF.56) for consideration at MEPC 76 on the results of an SGS-led investigation into testing ballast water management systems (BWMS) to the D-2 standard, which all vessels must meet by 8 September 2024
The paper (MEPC 76/INF.56) details the results of an Australian survey into the efficiency of BWMS to meet the D-2 standard allowable discharge limits based on three different organism size classes: ≥50 μm, ≥10 μm to <50 μm and <10 μm. The paper is submitted as part of the experience building phase (ESP).
BWMS are type-approved to meet the standard, but key factors unique to each vessel are the nature of the retrofit installation, commission testing, the quality of crew training and the regular use and maintenance of the BWMS.
The Australian Government approached SGS Australia and the SGS Global Marine Services Team to conduct indicative and detailed tests of BWMS on volunteer vessels arriving at various Australian ports.
SGS designed and built a ballast water sampler specifically to meet the D-2 discharge standards. The unit enabled trained surveyors to take an isokinetic, representative sample of the ballast water discharge across a wide range of operational flow velocities while maintaining the integrity of living organisms. The unit was designed to be run as a closed loop system, eliminating the need for disposal of discharge water to the bilge but could be run as open loop.
SGS noted that sourcing vessels using BWMS willing to participate in a voluntary study and explaining the purpose and requirements took considerable time.
This Australian Government and SGS study has produced what is expected to be the most comprehensive datasets available to date to support the success of the EBP.
Forty-six samples of ballast water were taken from 35 vessels and tested against the D-2 performance standard using indicative (15 samples) and detailed (31 samples) analysis methods as indicated in BWM.2/Circ.42/Rev.1 and BWM.2/Circ.61.
Summary of results:
The study was unable to find clear reasons for the failure to meet D-2 standards, concluding that there are too many factors involved, from failure of TRO sensors, poor BWMS retrofit installation and so on. Australia is to continue with the study for the remainder of the EBP.
The study can be found on IMODOCS.