Implementation delays frustrate many manufacturers, but most remain optimistic
This year’s edition of Ballast Water Treatment Technology is published at an important time for ballast water management system (BWMS) manufacturers. When last year’s BWTT was published, IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) was set to come into force, cocking the trigger for the long-expected sales that would result in a return on their large investments over many years. But by its entry-into-force date of 8 September, its explosion had been muzzled by the Marine Environment Protection Committee’s decision in July at MEPC 71 to delay compliance dates by two years.
Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard (USCG) has been type-approving BWMSs and changing the rules on extensions for non-type-approved options. This has created demand from shipowners for USCG type-approved systems (as discussed elsewhere in the issue) and a drive for manufacturers to obtain that status for themselves. At the same time, manufacturers have been seeking type-approvals under IMO’s revised G8 guidelines. At the time of writing in April, two systems had received those certificates.
For this edition of BWTT, 10 manufacturers completed a detailed survey of their views and responses to these and other factors affecting their current and future plans. Some of their feedback is included in this report. A fuller summary of their exclusive comments will be available on the BWTT website, linked from the online version of this article.
For some, the delayed implementation of the BWMC’s D-2 discharge standard – which is what has deferred equipment installation – has had an impact, but most also reported that, with the schedule now settled, business was picking up again.
“many shipowners used the time to delay retrofitting their vessels”
“One month after Ecochlor received USCG type-approval, the MEPC delay went into effect and many shipowners who were prepared to purchase the Ecochlor System put their buying decisions on hold,” he said. This was compounded because the USCG continued to grant extensions.
Nonetheless, Ecochlor “has continued to receive orders and our requests for quotes in the past year have more than tripled. We expect business to ramp up significantly in the coming year as the market continues to develop.”
Trojan Marinex market manager Mark Kustermans also saw positive results. Shipowners have been able to set “clear timetables for ballast water compliance of their fleet.” Although this has slowed retrofits, “it has kick-started the newbuild segment,” he said. Desmi Oceanguard chief executive Rasmus Folsø echoed that experience, saying that the delay had “postponed most of the retrofit projects we were working on.” But since then business has picked up, “and we currently receive more requests and work on more projects than we have ever done before.”
Alfa Laval vice president and head of PureBallast work Anders Lindmark welcomed the clarity that the new dates had brought, saying that activity had increased after the BWMC was ratified, and has “continued to be high following MEPC 71.”
Wärtsilä sales director for BWMS, Craig Patrick, also spoke of a positive outcome. Although there had been a delay of sales volumes, the company was able to “take a slightly longer view on product development to ensure better reliability.” He reported that some operators have used the time to work with Wärtsilä to develop bespoke operation-support partnership agreements.
USCG and G8 type-approval applications increase
Six ballast water management systems (BWMSs) have US Coast Guard (USCG) type-approval at the time of writing in late April, with seven more applications pending. In addition, four manufacturers that already have USCG type-approval have applied for further approvals for modified versions.
For this report, BWTT explored the plans and experiences of BWMS manufacturers that have already achieved USCG and revised-G8 type approvals and of those that aspire to those goals.
China’s SunRui holds certificates for both testing standards for its BalClor system. Senior purchasing manager Helen Li said that the revised G8 guidelines “are more in line with the stringent USCG requirements” than the original guidelines. It already held USCG type-approval and “no major changes were needed to meet the revised G8 guidelines,” she said. It just needed one hydrogen sensor to be added and “a slight modification to the control logic,” she said.
Alfa Laval is the only other manufacturer to have gained G8 approval since the guidelines were revised. It, too, has USCG type-approval for its Pure Ballast 3 BWMS and its vice president and head of its PureBallast work, Anders Lindmark, said that its activity has been high since it secured USCG type-approval in December 2016 . It conducted the additional testing needed for a revised G8 certificate during 2017, which it received in February 2018 – the first company to reach that milestone.
Other manufacturers that are working towards those goals have target dates that match the revised installation timetable agreed by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in July 2017 (MEPC 71). For example, Bawat chief executive Kim Diederichsen said that he expects to receive revised G8 type-approval in Q1 2019, on the back of its USCG type-approval application, for which shipboard testing was about to start at the time of writing following successful land-based tests.
Coldharbour, too, expects to complete its USCG testing this year, with G8 tests being run at the same time. This approach is the same as that taken by Wärtsilä. It submitted a USCG type-approval application for its Aquarius EC BWMS in early April, and plans to match that for its UV version in Q3 this year. “Revised G8 requirements are being undertaken as part of our USCG testing schedules, and we will seek recertification as soon as possible,” BWMS sales director Craig Patrick said.
Hyde Marine senior market manager Mark Riggio indicated early 2019 as its target date for both USCG and revised G8 type-approvals, as too did De Nora general manager Stelios Kyriacou, who is responsible for its Balpure business. It, too, is conducting USCG and revised G8 tests at the same time. He said: “We possibly extended specific steps to accommodate the new G8 requirements.”
Ecochlor president Tom Perlich said that its USCG type-approval testing took place while the G8 guidelines were being revised. It obtained USCG approval on 31 March, and said “we do not anticipate a need for separate testing” for G8.
As mentioned elsewhere in this guide, the USCG has reviewed its approach to non-USCG type-approved systems as more have become type-approved. BWTT asked manufacturers how many were needed to meet customer demand. Many did not express a view, but Coldharbour Marine chief executive Andrew Marshall based his answer on the expected 2019 installation timetable. Provided there are 15-20 systems with full USCG and revised G8 type-approvals available by H1 2019, “things should go smoothly,” he said. Optimarin chief executive Tore Andersen suggested the same range “to handle the boom, with IMO ships included.”
Mr Patrick suggested that the “2018 cohort of USCG type-approved suppliers fulfil nearly all shipowners needs from a technology point of view.” But this should be balanced, he said, against the commercial capabilities and longevity of the supplier selected. Owners should look for “a strong engineering, sales, training and aftermarket offering,” he advised.
Mr Riggio noted that no more USCG type-approved systems are needed to cover demand “because many vessels do not actually need USCG type-approval” because of their operating patterns. But the market currently demands USCG type-approval for all systems. If that continues, up to five more suppliers will be needed to meet the demand, he said.
Mr Perlich suggested that BWTT had asked the wrong question. With shipowners delaying decisions for commercial reasons and the regulations having been pending for so long, “the question could turn out to be ‘how many systems can survive further delays and costs of testing?,’” he said. “Unfortunately, we are starting to see the first wave of the consequences of these delays through manufacturers that are no longer servicing their BWMSs,” he added.
BWMS suppliers fill the training gap
Shipowers and their representatives were united when BWTT asked their views on training for ballast water management: there is not enough of it. Their comments can be read elsewhere in this guide, but manufacturers are helping to plug the gap through their own training schemes.
Wärtsilä, for example, offers “a full training solution, covering all levels of support required,” said its sales director for ballast water management systems (BWMSs), Craig Patrick. It can be delivered on the vessel, in a classroom in one of its global locations or online, he said. It is centred around its electrochlorination and UV systems and covers practical details, but also covers IMO and US Coast Guard (USCG) legislation.
Alfa Laval vice president and head of PureBallast work Anders Lindmark described training as “a key component” in ensuring that the “major investment” in a quality BWMS will perform over a vessel’s lifetime.
It has training centres in Asia, Europe and North America where it offers extensive training for crew, shipowner officers, service engineers and engineering companies, he said. Alfa Laval has a simulator that can be installed at a shipowner’s training centre and computer-based training to provide familiarisation with its system. Crew training also forms part of a system’s commissioning, he said.
Bawat offers what its chief executive Kim Diederichsen described as an extensive training package for onboard crew and office personnel. Its onboard training involves both deck and engine officers in a combination of classroom training, simulations and practical exercises before the system is operated under supervision. Its office training package is classroom-based, and is structured to suit a company’s specific needs, he said.
Optimarin trains crew during and after commissioning, its chief executive Tore Andersen said. It also has systems installed in training centres in Mumbai, Manilla and Stavanger.
In Q2 this year, Ecochlor will start work on a training centre with an on-site simulator, instructor and training programme. Company president Tom Perlich told BWTT that this will be available for ship crews, integrated engineering firms and vessel superintendents before a system is installed.
At the time of writing in April, Ecochlor is releasing a computer-based training scheme for use on a ship’s computer, featuring an interactive training program. It provides varying levels of detail depending on the user’s level of responsibility for the system.
At present, Ecochlor typically provides training when the shipyard has finished its work, performed in two phases. The first is in a classroom setting, and covers such topics as safety procedures and an overview of system operation. The second phase includes hands-on training in operating the system.
A containerised training system is on the cards with De Nora, the general manager responsible for its Balpure business Stelios Kyriacou told BWTT. This would use a second-hand unit and could be moved between its international locations, he said, but most probably would focus on the US. This might be available in 2020, he said.
Otherwise, it provides training during commissioning and in-house training, either at a shipowner’s premises or at one of its four training centres, he said.
Trojan Marinex provides comprehensive training to ensure that crew can support the safety, operation and maintenance of its system. “We can provide hands-on instruction during commissioning as well as training support afterwards,” market manager Mark Kustermans said. Additional training support can be customised for specific needs, he added.
It is a similar story at Desmi Oceanguard, which provides training during commissioning and offers one-day training courses, split between classroom teaching and practice with the system. For Hyde Marine, on-site training is supported by web-based training covering its system’s operation and maintenance.
Coldharbour Marine chief executive Andrew Marshall said that its system requires little training. “Since our target customer base is mostly tankers and LNG carriers and our technology is inert gas-based, the typical level of training required is low,” he explained. Bulk carrier crews, who are less familiar with inert gas equipment than those on tankers, would require more, he said, but since the rest of its equipment “is super simple and requires little or no maintenance, the time taken for the crew to achieve full competency on the system is very short,” he said.