BWTS guide from class society

08 Nov 2011

ABS has announced the release of a new ‘Guide for Ballast Water Treatment’ which will aid vessel owners and operators in preparing for compliance with the IMO’s new ballast water convention.

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 is designed to provide a unified instrument to prevent, minimise and ultimately eliminate the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms via ships’ ballast water and sediments. As of 1 November 2011, 30 member States representing 26.44% of world merchant shipping tonnage had ratified the Convention against a required 30 States representing 35% of world gross tonnage.

The newly released Guide has been developed to assist owners in understanding the classification requirements pertaining to the Convention. In addition to the installation parameters required for any ABS-classed vessel utilising an IMO member State type approved ballast water treatment system, the Guide offers owners two optional notations to demonstrate further due diligence in their ballast water management practices.

The tiered notations BWTand BWT+ will bring the ballast water treatment system under survey wherein the class society will review the system for compliance with the Guide, confirm the installation design, conduct a survey during installation, periodically evaluate the onboard ballast water management system and perform shipboard function tests. The BWT+ notation signifies that the installed treatment system has been surveyed by an ABS surveyor at the manufacturing facility.

Owners mindful that the Convention may enter into force during the first half of 2013 are examining options for newbuilds and retrofits that will give them flexibility in terms of costs and operation, says Kirsi Tikka, ABS chief engineer and head of the society’s environmental solutions efforts.

“The ballast water management regulations can be confusing for shipowners because they contain many unresolved and complex issues,” Tikka adds. “As a result, some owners with newbuilds have elected to incorporate the installation of a ballast water treatment system, while others have chosen to have their vessel outfitted with the piping, electrical arrangements and space necessary to accommodate a ballast water treatment system in the future.”

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