Last week the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention was finally ratified putting it into force from 8 September 2017. This heightened concerns from shipowners that the US Coast Guard (USCG), which has more stringent rules, was yet to give permanent approval to any systems currently on the market.
While a number, including those from Wärtsilä have Alternate Management System (AMS) certification from the USCG this is only valid from five years that the system was fitted to the vessel and there is no guarantee it will be valid beyond that. This would force an owner trading to the US to fit an entirely new system which has raised concerns from Bimco, ICS and Intertanko.
Wärtsilä has two systems - the Aquarius –UV, which provides disinfection using ultra-violet light (UV) and the Aquarius -EC provides disinfection using sodium hypochlorite generated through side stream electro-chlorination both of which have AMS certification.
Responding to queries from Seatrade Maritime News about a claim on Wednesday that its systems would get full USCG type approval next year Joe Thomas, direct ballast water management systems and environmental solutions managing director for Wärtsilä Water Systems it had a programme in place with the USCG and DNVGL to conclude type approvals for both its BWTS systems in 2017.
“We have already successfully completed USCG land based tests with Aquarius-EC BWTS and anticipate successful conclusion of all remaining testing within 2017. Aquarius-UV BWTS testing will commence shortly and will be concluded after Aquarius-EC, but within 2017 also,” he said.
“We are confident that our designs are robust and that USCG testing will confirm the suitability of our systems as already set out under the IMO Type Approvals received in 2012/2013.
“I recognise that there are no USCG TA’s (type approval) at present, but Wärtsilä remain focused on bringing testing with our products to a successful conclusion as soon as possible and so provide customers with robust equipment and service solutions that support all of their through life ballast water compliance needs,” Thomas added.