Ballast Water System in Singapore for Ship Managers

Invasive marine species populations have grown at alarming rates due to the increasing volume of sea traffic globally. Although not affecting seafaring and shipping, the effect of  population growth of these invasive marine species is devastating to local ecosystems and human populations living in the coastal regions. Thus, to prevent permanent environmental damage to the coastal waters, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) in 2004. 

The BWM Convention entered into force in September 2017, with over 60 countries signing onto this global treaty, representing about 70% of the global merchant shipping tonnage. Singapore is a contractual party to this treaty so ship managers must be aware of – and adhere to – these regulations in local waters.

Keep Up To Date with the Latest Circulars from IMO

Rules and regulations in Singaporean waters require vessels to have a D2 standard of ballast water when entering from overseas. In addition, all ships must have an updated ballast water management plan, record book and International Ballast Water Management Certificate. 

Ensure that your training procedures are updated to the latest circulars. A non-compliant Ballast Water Treatment System (BTWS) will most likely be unable to discharge ballast water at the port. Captains of ports will request vessels to leave the terminal to conduct a full ballast water exchange in the open sea rather than at the port. Such a move causes delays at the expense of the shipowner. 

There are many options for treating ballast waters. However, note that not all the treatment options follow the standard disinfection and filtration. Companies should be proactive in choosing reliable technologies to eliminate risks. 

The Essential Role of Filters 

Filters are deemed essential to BWTS as filters prevent larger organisms from entering the ballast water, and reduce the volume of Total Residual Oxidants (TROs) used to eliminate viable organisms. Without filters, a higher concentration of TROs is needed due to the presence of more solid debris. This debris not only consumes the TROs, which decreases the TROs’ effectiveness, but the debris also clogs photometric sensors more frequently. 

Additionally, filters protect the internal components of a BWTS. Filters prevent larger solids in high-speed water from mechanically damaging the more sensitive components within the BWTS. 

While filters play an essential role in a BWTS, there is now an approved method that does not require the use of filters thanks to new innovations in technology.

A New Innovation in BWTS: Pasteurisation

Pasteurisation is a new innovation in BWTS that applies the technique used in treating milk to treating ballast water. Pasteurisation heats the ballast water to unlivable conditions for most organisms (typically around 64-67 degrees celsius). The heat will be retained for 40-80 seconds to eliminate the organisms through heat and time. 

A unique characteristic of pasteurisation is that it will work independently of water quality and does not require a filter. Moreover, while a standard BWTS requires a two-pass treatment, pasteurisation only requires one-pass whilst still fulfilling D2 standards.

In Summary…

Although reducing costs is on the mind of every ship manager and owner, a vessel’s performance and endurance requirements must not be forsaken. The initial investment in high-quality equipment may seem costly – but this investment will cover the many fees from failed compliance testing and delay charges caused by faulty equipment. A BWTS with the right technologies, materials and process design will become a vessel’s greatest ally.

This article is brought to you by Giantech Engineering Pte Ltd. Find out how Giantech may help meet your vessel’s ballast water treatment needs: 

Is your ship compatible with a pasteurisation-based Ballast Water Management System? Contact Giantech at [email protected] to learn more. 

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