Modular, containerised ballast water treatment systems are being used to support customers outside the vessel-owning sector
Companies offering containerised ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) fall into two categories: those that offer their own design; and those that provide a containerised platform around a core of third-party systems. Ballast Water Container (BWC) is one of the best-known names in the latter category; it is part of a large marine engineering group based in Glasgow, Scotland, that can trace its saltwater roots back over 200 years. The company offers three variations of the containerised ballast water treatment theme:
The first is a deck-mounted solution for vessels with limited room in the machinery space. Through various partnerships, BWC can offer low- and high-water flow rate systems with IMO and US Coast Guard (USCG) type-approval.
The second variation is a containerised system for barges. Dumb barges, without engine power, would be expensive to retrofit with BWTS, even though very large barges are used throughout the oil and gas rig construction industry to move blocks and rig modules. The fitment of a containerised temporary system solves this problem.
The third option is to provide the treatment of ballast water in port. The aim of the port-based containerised BWTS is to offer the service to vessels that have arrived in port and found the onboard ballast water system inoperative. In such circumstances, if flag and port state control allow, the vessel can return to sea and undertake a deep-sea ballast water exchange, at least 200 nautical miles offshore. This would almost certainly result in the vessel missing its berth and port slot and would have financial implications.
In 2020, BWC provided a containerised BWTS to a port in Belgium. The BWC system is based on the Danish Bawat system. BWC managing director Richard Lawson said: “The beauty of the Bawat is that it is a single pass system, ideal for use in ports.”
Bawat uses a ship’s engine’s waste heat to pasteurise ballast water; this is an unusual approach to ballast water management and the system was tested and issued with approval under the new, toughened mandatory requirements of IMO’s BWMS Code, officially known as the Code for Approval of Ballast Water Management Systems.
“To be one of the first systems to be awarded type-approval under these new conditions is a confirmation of the hard work we have put into what is the most sustainable treatment system on the market,” said Bawat chief executive Marcus Hummer. “It gives our customers the confidence that we have a product for their future needs.” The Bawat system has since been awarded USCG type-approval in a significant step for the company.
Mr Hummer said: “We are extremely pleased to have been awarded type-approval by the USCG, which has one of the toughest approval processes.”
“Hamburg stands out from the other European ports by offering a mobile, state-of-the-art BWTS”
For Bawat, the containerised version opens up a new customer base, and in that respect it is joining the likes of the global shipbuilding group Damen, whose Damen Green Solutions division has been targeting the ballast water treatment requirements of the port sector. For example Jongen GmbH – which offers waste oil, wastewater and waste removal services for maritime traffic in the Port of Hamburg – is adding Damen’s InvaSave to its portfolio.
The InvaSave 300 IMO-certified system is an external ballast water treatment unit that, in a single pass, uses mechanical filtration and ultraviolet radiation to remove and eradicate invasive organisms from ballast water as it is discharged from inbound vessels, to IMO-D2 standards. InvaSave can also provide ballast water of the same quality to outbound vessels. The system comes in a single, 40-ft container and is fully mobile.
Speaking after taking delivery of the InvaSave system, Jongen’s director Julia Dettmer said: “We believe that Hamburg stands out from the other European ports by offering a mobile, state-of-the-art BWTS. The Invasave 300 is Hamburg’s answer to the IMO Convention, to prevent the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms.”
Damen’s InvaSave 300 can treat ballast water without any holding time. Suitable for outbound and inbound vessels, it treats ballast water to IMO-D2 standards and utilises no chemicals to eliminate invasive organisms via a single pass.
Operating as an external unit, the InvaSave 300 is housed in a standard container, which gives owners of the system increased mobility, according to Damen Green Solutions representative Matthijs Schuiten. “Because InvaSave fits on a trailer, workboat or barge, and no storage for holding time is required, operators can easily move it to where it is needed,” he said. “The mobility of InvaSave means that shipowners calling on Jongen’s new BWTS in the Port of Hamburg can keep their downtime to a minimum. This includes downtime during port calls, as well as the downtime needed for retrofitting an onboard BWTS.”
In Spain, Damen Green Solutions has teamed up with Tradebe Santander to receive ballast water from a tanker in Gijon. What appears to be a relatively simple exercise has significant ramifications for all operational vessels – particularly older ships which might not financially justify retrofitting a compliant BWTS.
As IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention is extended to cover existing vessels in addition to newbuilds, vessel owners must address their processes for taking on or discharging ballast water. By the time of their first IOPP certificate renewal following the 8 September 2019 deadline, all vessels will be required to meet IMO-D2 standards regarding ballast water treatment.
“InvaSave provides a mobile and flexible solution to this requirement,” said Mr Schuiten, “meeting market demand without causing operational delays. If a vessel is unable to discharge its ballast water, the loss of income through downtime, compounded by additional port costs, has a huge impact on the vessel owner’s bottom line.”