With the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention already mandatory for newbuildings and the US Coast Guard enforcing the US stricter rules on invasive species in ballast water owners are finding that as they start to operate BWTS installed on their vessels in many cases do work as they hope – with Intertanko’s members reporting problems with 60 – 80% of the systems installed.
To get the manufacturer’s side of the story Seatrade Maritime News asked Stelios Kyriacou, general manager of BALPURE BWMS, De Nora, about why owners are experiencing difficulties and also what they should look out for when making the decision on which BWTS to invest in.
Kyriacou says that as with any new systems it is not surprising there teething problems and there are a number of reasons operational issues can occur on those installed on newbuildings.
One of the issues is that owners installed systems but did not test them until their use was required, which in some cases has been years later. “With crews sometimes waiting for several years before beginning system operations, the knowledge imparted during training sessions will have undoubtedly depleted. Poor operational readiness, in combination with deficient operation and maintenance can easily become problematic,” Kyriacou explains.
“Along-side this, installation errors and system integration issues can result in a sub-par performance. As an industry, it’s important to acknowledge that there are still some instrumentation reliability factors – factors that we are working hard at overcoming.”
Operators also continue to use the same practices as in the past such as Gravity Ballasting which he says will hamper filter integrated BWTS clogging filters.
To try and avoid problems Kyriacou says that De Nora strongly advocates unit inspections prior to start-up, especially if they have been left stagnant for some time.
“It may even be necessary to consider BWTS re-commissioning and inspection by the OEM to ensure operational readiness, along-side training refreshers for crew. The key here is collaboration – in order to achieve the desired outcome, ship owners, operators and BWTS manufacturers need to work in tandem,” he says.