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INTERTANKO Official Confirms Problems with Operation of Water Ballast Treatment Plants.

Posted 12/1/2018

The Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) was introduced by the IMO and aims at minimising the transfer of pathogens microorganisms to the sensitive ecological marine areas, through the ballast of the oceangoing ships. Although it is already enforced worldwide, there are some concerns about the technical requirements of the BWMC and in particular, the application of the Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) onboard ships. Up to date, there is not sufficient data regarding the performance of existing BWTS making an obstacle to their approval requirement by some states.


In our research, a methodology was proposed to assist ship operators in the selection of the BWTS. The finding of that research published in   2017 revealed seven primary criteria for selection of a BWTS such as costs, maintenance, power consumption and installation challenges due to the plants' size.


In a recession period, costs generated by the BWMC enforcement may be a significant burden for the ship operators, especially those with older ships, where the maintenance costs are relatively high. However, a major aspect expected to cause challenges is the potential human error from the inappropriate use of a BWTS. Complicated devices may need significant efforts and time from the crew members until some degree of competency is achieved.

In some cases, the use of chemicals may cause additional challenges, such as the training of the crew, the maintenance costs and the safety risks.

Our research findings have been proven from a recent statement from an INTERTANKO official who states the following:


“Between 60 to 80% of BWTSs installed on members’ ships had suffered a range of problems in operation. The 60-80% figures came about after members began using the systems more frequently and began to realise that although they may be operating and ballasting is occurring, the system wasn’t necessarily treating as desired,”