Paul Gunton looks at how Norwegian firm MMC Green Technology is tackling an innovative BWMS retrofit project
MMC Green Technology is a Norwegian supplier of environmentally friendly solutions for the maritime industry. Its parent company, MMC, has more than 25 years of experience making process technology, such as using filters and UV to secure the best environment for salmon on live fish carriers. In 2010, MMC set up a separate company focusing on ballast water management systems (BWMSs) with filters and UV radiation as main components.
It was in 2011 - before MMC Green Technology received IMO type-approval for its MMC BWMS - that it secured its first two orders from Sanco Shipping, which was building two high-end seismic vessels at Kleven Myklebust.
Sanco Shipping looks for environmentally-friendly solutions for its fleet and in mid-2017 decided to retrofit three of its ships with BWMS, even though seismic vessels are not considered as ballast-dependent vessels: they generally only need ballast to compensate for fuel consumption.
It also has a long tradition of selecting local suppliers, as long as its quality standards are met and the price is competitive. Because the operator already had MMC BWMSs on its two newbuildings and feedback from the crews was positive, it decided to use MMC BWMS again.
First of the trio to be retrofitted was Sanco Spirit, which had been in lay-up for about a year when it got a long-term contract with PGS for worldwide operation.
It was conveniently located only 15 minutes’ drive from the MMC office, so Sanco Shipping asked for a turnkey solution, with MMC Green Technology taking care of everything, including mechanical and electric installation, ballast water management plan and class approval. The total installation was done in about two weeks.
The system installed was an MMC BWMS 100 m3/h unit, which has a small footprint, so only cabinets had to be dismounted to make room for it.
This has two ballast pumps, each with a separate suction line although, to comply with class requirements, there had to be two bypass valves, one for each pump. All valves on board were manually operated and some had to be changed to be fully automatic, while others needed position feedback sensors. Both inlet and overboard lines had to be fitted with non-return valves, as required by the class society.
The ship’s original power source was sufficient to serve the ballast water treatment unit, it just needed new 63 A and 32 A circuit breakers: as the vessel is mainly equipped with a 690 V electrical network, the MMC BWMS unit had to be prepared to match it. Sanco Spirit has a standard alarm system, so the only requirement was a general alarm given when there is an alarm on the BWMS.
As Sanco Spirit is Gibraltar-registered, a statement of acceptance for its MMC BWMS was needed. The government of Gibraltar published its Ballast Water Management Convention Guidance (http://bit.ly/GibBWMC) in September 2016, stating that it will accept type-approval certificates of other contracting administrations on its vessels, provided that the equipment has been developed in line with IMO’s G8 or G9 guidelines.
The next ship, Sanco Star, was planned for drydocking in Las Palmas. Since Sanco Spirit was also heading toward Las Palmas, Sanco used it to transport parts for this next installation. It was berthed next to MMC’s head office where all the components were loaded.
This installation was performed at Astican Shipyard but was carried out a little differently: there was less space available so the system was installed as separate components.
The last vessel was Sanco Sky, was fitted with an MMC BWMS 500 m3/h that was also installed as separate components. It was a former tanker and had quite complex ballast piping so, in 2016, some of the piping was rebuilt to prepare for this installation. The work was done at Kleven Myklebust yard, 30 minutes’ drive from MMC’s factory.
The Sanco Shipping fleet has many US jobs. However, until MMC has obtained USCG type-approval for its BWMS, the vessels are relying on the system’s USCG AMS status.
Meanwhile, MMC Green Technology is performing land-based tests to apply for USCG type-approval at Norway’s NIVA test centre, after appointing DNV GL as its independent laboratory last year. Shipboard testing is being done on a bulk carrier trading in northern Europe and the Baltic Sea.
As of early March, MMC Green Technology had sold about 120 systems worldwide, of which around 100 had been installed on a range of vessel types.