The OptiLink system provides real-time data transfer between ship and shore, enabling careful planning of ballast water operations to ensure regulatory compliance at all times, and avoid costly delays in port.
The setup, which can also be used with other types of ballast water systems, will be particularly useful in managing ballast water operations in ports and waters containing high levels of sediment. Ballasting in these circumstances can require several ballast water exchanges at sea during a voyage – inconvenient and time-consuming – or risk non-compliance at the next port.
Optimarin CEO, Leif Kallestad, explained that the digital system means that ballast water management now becomes an integral part of a ship’s operation. “The BWTS can be managed proactively in support of reduced downtime and reduced fuel consumption with less hassle, as control over the transfer of ballast water in and out of the vessel improves greatly,” he said.
On board ship, OptiLink ensures that the crew has immediate access to key parameters including water quality and system functionality, Optimarin said. Meanwhile, for ship operators ashore, the cloud-based system will provide specific details for individual ships or a fleet-wide view of ballast water treatment status.
The system will also enable interactive remote support, with online software updates, ensuring a reduction in the requirement for physical system maintenance. Condition monitoring will enable proactive maintenance, the company said, and more efficient operation by promptly alerting the crew to any equipment malfunctions.
Ship operators will be able to use the system to transmit system data directly to statutory authorities. In the case of contamination, corrective action can be taken and a certificate of compliance obtained in good time. This certification can then be sent to a ship’s next port of call to reduce port turnaround time by avoiding lab tests and shipboard inspections.
Optimarin installed the world’s first ballast water system on board the cruise vessel, Regal Princess, in 2000. The company has recently supplied about 1,200 systems, of which about two-thirds are retrofits.
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