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Owners must target 'kill' standard for ballast water says Optimarin

Owners must target 'kill' standard for ballast water says Optimarin
The US Coastguard (USCG) “kill” standard for microorganisms in ballast water must be the focus for shipowners, Optimarin has argued.

While the USCG standards have yet to be finalised, expected this year following Q2 testing of remaining water salinities, they will comprise a treatment target said to be 100 times more stringent than that of the IMO. “For USCG approval systems have to kill the organisms, while for IMO they don’t, but must ensure they don’t reproduce,” said an anonymous classification specialist quoted by Optimarin.

The IMO’s Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention is on a knife-edge of entry into force pending “a complete verification of tonnage data”, whereupon it will enter force on 24 November 2016. “The IMO BWM convention is close to ratification, but yet to be rubber-stamped, and meanwhile the USCG has taken the bold move to act unilaterally to protect the environment with its own regulations,” Andersen continued.

Optimarin claims its technology is the first UV system to successfully satisfy the FDA/CFMDA criteria. Further tests of remaining water salinities are scheduled for spring 2016, after which point approval is expected later in the year.

“USCG tests this using the FDA/CMFDA method, which uses a dye to identify living organisms, while the IMO does not list one specific methodology,” the specialist continued. “The MPN (Most Probable Number) test is the norm here, having been used for almost 40 years, but procedures vary from laboratory to laboratory. This is an issue for USCG – it wants a simple, reliable and reproducible testing method.”

The class representative advised “caution” on UV systems, which are “struggling” to garner USCG approval thanks to their high power requirements. “UV systems are easy to operate, don’t require chemical storage and are a good option for the industry.”

Optimarin Ballast System (OBS) is the only UV system to have satisfied the USCG’s marine water FDA/CMFDA tests so far, and is now on course for full USCG approval in 2016. “Passing the initial tests puts us in pole position in the market for final approval and is a great endorsement of our system’s effectiveness,” said Andersen. “Each of our system lamps has a 35kw capacity. This power instantly kills any potentially harmful invasive organisms and that’s exactly what USCG wants to see.”