The BWMS market continues to evolve, and with so many IMO and US Coast Guard type-approved systems available, owners have moved on from type-approval worries to examining the crucial issue of selecting a ballast water management system (BWMS) for the ship’s trade
In The BWMS market: crystal clear or murky waters? webinar, part of Riviera’s Ballast Water Webinar Week, three panellists provided their expertise in choosing and fitting ballast water treatment systems. The BWMS manufacturers were represented by Alfa Laval head of sales EMEA PureBallast, Tobias Döscher, with engineering and compliance input from Choice Ballast Solutions senior compliance manager Debra DiCianna, and class expertise from ClassNK (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai) corporate officer Dr Abdul Rahim.
The webinar was sponsored by BWMS supplier Alfa Laval, and Netsco naval architecture and marine engineering/Choice Ballast Solutions.
In a survey asking: What is the biggest challenge for you in taking an educated decision for a ballast water treatment system? The majority (68%) replied that understanding to what extent the system is suitable for the ship and trade was the biggest challenge.
Mr Döscher was able to provide a solution to that challenge, asking, “How do we translate system design limitations into actual trade patterns?” For this reason, Alfa Laval launched the Compliance Navigator* in 2020. Alfa Laval is continuously collecting salinity, temperature, UVI/UVT, TRO and hold time data relevant to particular ports around the world. Loading a voyage into the Compliance Navigator simulates the challenges of each port. “In the end you will be given a summary of the systems and technologies required for that trade,” he said.
Despite the availability of tools such as Compliance Navigator, the capital cost (capex) still plays an important role in the BWMS decision-making process. In a survey, capex received 20% of the votes, compared to performance matching my trade (34%), long-term commitment of supplier (14%), ease of operation for the crew (14%), and global service network (17%).
Ms DiCianna noted that choosing the “right” BWMS is more important than ever, saying there are now 39 USCG type-approved systems of which 26 also have BWMS Code type-approval. This number is only expected to grow slightly. With the industry technology maturing and few new providers, basing a decision on the lowest system cost could have a significant impact in the future, observed Ms DiCianna.
To the question, Have you got a technology preference? 86% stated that the BWMS to be installed on the fleet had been identified.
With regards to technology preference, the results were UV (42%), EC (29%), other (16%), no preference (13%).
Time is another major factor in the BWMS process. Ms DiCianna noted that BWMS selection, purchase, installation design and engineering installation and commissioning takes about 15 months. It is not a decision to take shortly before the drydocking and Ms DiCianna warned, “All these systems need to be commissioned and operating by the (time) of the issuance and renewal of the IOPP certificate. It is really important for all to understand that issue,” she said.
The danger of failing to comply is a real issue, according to a survey. To the question: What percentage of your fleet has had a BWMS installed? 17% reported none of the vessels in their fleet had BWMS installed. A significant number (21%) had installed BWMS on a quarter of the fleet, but only 8% had installed BWMS on the entire fleet.
This led to the question: What percentage of your fleet is ready for BWMS to be installed by their compliance (IOPP renewal date)? 40% reported their entire fleet was ready and 20% reported that three-quarters of the fleet was ready. Only 10% had half completed fleet readiness and 30% had a readiness state of a quarter of the fleet or less.
Regarding operational issues for those vessels that have had BWMS installed, in the webinar survey: For BWMS installed, have any operational issues occurred that resulted in a notice or deficiency by port state control? 50% reported having operational issues that resulted in a notice or deficiency by port state control and 50% had not.
Dr Rahim provided insights into the scale of the tasks facing the BWMS industry and shipowners in completing installations based on data from ClassNK’s own fleet. The headline news is that within the ClassNK fleet, 1,862 vessels have to install BWMS by the end of 2022. He noted that given the 15-month lead time from selection of a BWMS to commissioning given by Ms DiCianna, the scale of the problem is evident. Assuming the ClassNK is representative of the global fleet, shipowners have only a short window of time in 2021 to commence the process if a BWMS is to be installed and commissioned in 2022.
Within the ClassNK fleet, as of 2020, 55% of the fleet had been fitted with BWMS but there is a significant range when looking at the different sectors. Dr Rahim noted that car carriers have a 70% completed installation status, while the general cargo fleet is only 42%.
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From left to right: Alfa Laval head of sales EMEA PureBallast Tobias Döscher, Choice Ballast Solutions senior compliance manager Debra DiCianna, and ClassNK (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai) corporate officer Dr Abdul Rahim