OceanSaver BWMS manufacturer files for bankruptcy

OceanSaver, one of the first ballast water management suppliers to win US Coast Guard type approval, has filed for bankruptcy OceanSaver, one of the first ballast water management suppliers to win US Coast Guard type approval, has filed for bankruptcy

OceanSaver, the Norwegian manufacturer of US type approved ballast water management systems, has filed for bankruptcy.

Three related companies – Oceansaver Holding, Oceansaver IP and Oceansacer Systems – were registered as opening bankruptcies yesterday by the register office of Brønnøysund in Norway, near the companies’ headquarters.

Established in 2003, OceanSaver was one of the first electro-chemical ballast water treatments available on the market. In December last year it was among the first three systems to be type approved by the US Coast Guard, and the first electro-chlorination system to receive the certification.

OceanSaver co-founder Aage Bjørn Andersen issued comments via social media network LinkedIn. “As one of its two founders, it makes me sad and extremely disappointed to have to see OceanSaver’s dissolution,” said Andersen.

Among other factors, Andersen blamed a “reckless” IMO process which he said had eliminated “huge markets for many years”.

Andersen is not the only commentator to note the severe financial impact on suppliers caused by multiple delays in the ratification process of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, which finally entered force last week after adoption in 2004. Many observers are predicting multiple bankruptcies and market withdrawals as companies struggle to remain afloat ahead of an anticipated boom in orders.

The latest blow to system suppliers was the decision by IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in July to extend the installation timeframe by another two years for most ships, in order to give time for systems approved under new type approval guidelines to reach the market.

OceanSaver issued a statement confirming that the July postponement was a significant factor in the delay. "The delay has had a major impact on the market for retrofitting ballast treatment systems on sailing vessels," the company said. "In addition, ship newbuilding activity continues to be low, and the combination has led to significant downward pressure on equipment prices."

Kjetil Bruun-Olsen, chairman and acting CEO of OceanSaver, said: “We have completed several cost-cutting measures and lay-offs, while investigating various scenarios for a continued operation of the company. Despite our best efforts, the company continues to require additional funding, but we are unable to attract the capital needed to maintain the operations of the company."

Approximately 70 employees in Norway, South Korea and China will be affected.

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