The US Coast Guard Marine Safety Centre (MSC) turned down appeals yesterday (12 July) from four ballast water management system (BWMS) manufacturers against the USCG’s ruling in December that the ‘most probable number’ (MPN) analysis technique was not acceptable. “This denial is final agency action,” a USCG commentary on the decision reported. The MPN technique is commonly used by manufacturers of UV-based BWMSs.
“The appeals were denied on the grounds that MSC lacked the discretion to approve a testing alternative that would change the discharge standard,” the summary says. “In addition, the manufacturers were not able to show that their systems met the regulatory requirements for approval of an alternative test.”
Over 20,000 pages of material was submitted by the four companies, which were reviewed by the Directorate of Commercial Regulations and Standards, along with a report by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). But the deputy commandant for operations, policy and capabilities, Rear Adm Linda Fagan, upheld MSC’s refusal to approve the use of an MPN-based method as a measurement approach. “With regards to evaluating ballast water that has thousands of different kinds of species, MPN-based methods have not been validated to date for this purpose,” the summary says.
Desmi Ocean Guard, Hyde Marine, Trojan Marinex and Alfa Laval are the companies affected by the decision. Rasmus Folsø, chief executive of DESMI Ocean Guard, said in a statement today: “We will continue to work on having the MPN method accepted in the US as it is everywhere else in the world, but in the meantime we must, for the sake of our customers, ensure USCG-type approval of the RayClean system.”
Speaking to BWTT, Mr Folsø said that although the ruling was a disappointment, “we were more or less expecting this”. The company has already started what he called “our Plan B” which is to retest its BWMS using the FDA method that the USCG accepts. Preparations for the tests were made during the spring of this year and are taking place at Denmark’s DHI test facility. He declined to say how much this testing will cost or how much progress has been made so far, but he expects the tests to be finished in October and to obtain USCG type-approval by the end of the year.