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The Risks of Buying Ballast Water Management Systems, According to the Shipowners

The regulations are in force, and wherever ships go, operators need to ensure that their vessel aids the port cities’ sustainability by managing ballast water either through exchange or treatment.

As we find out from Tom Perlich, President and Founder of Ecochlor, more and more vessels are installing ballast water management systems.

“We’ve done a lot of tanker installations in the last 18 months I think we’re up by 22-23 since June of last year (2016). The shipowners are very interested to find practical experience on these installations on the more difficult vessels. We participate in workshops and presentations to give the practical aspects of these installations.”

The IMO extensions gave shipowners more time to find the right system for their ships. Deborah Decianna, Senior Compliance Engineer at Choice Ballast Solutions, saw them as a challenge for ballast water treatment providers, but it also gives an opportunity for the industry to work together to find the best solutions for each company.

Finding the right system is more difficult than one might think, having to consider multiple factors, such as water quality, vessel compatibility, and long-term usage. Eric Holmes, Product Marketing at Wilhelmsen Ship Service, shares his concerns:

But one of the biggest risks associated with purchasing ballast water management systems is to do with its operational ease.

Gregoire Napoly, BWM Treatment Systems Manager at Maersk, said: “When purchasing ballast water treatments, you buy an equipment. To me the biggest risk is that the people who are on board would not be able to operate the equipment. As a shipowner, I am very concerned about the lack of focus of the industry on the training part. The last piece of equipment that was imported on board was ECDIS. By the time ECDIS became mandatory on board, we had generic training, specific training, and everything was very accurately described. I don’t see such thing happening with regards to ballast water treatment systems. To me, that’s a great concern that needs to be addressed.”

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