Alfa Laval to apply to lower USCG holding time

Anders Lindmark, Head of Alfa Laval PureBallast
Anders Lindmark, Head of Alfa Laval PureBallast
Alfa Laval has spent 15 years developing its PureBallast UV ballast water management system
Alfa Laval has spent 15 years developing its PureBallast UV ballast water management system
Industry Database

Anders Lindmark, Head of Alfa Laval PureBallast, was upbeat about the market outlook when the Motorship interviewed him in January 2019. Orders in hand compared with the previous year make 2019 look promising for PureBallast.

One of the advantages of the 15 years that Alfa Laval has spent developing its PureBallast UV (ultraviolet) ballast water management system was that the company had developed a deep understanding of the specific requirements of ballast water filtration systems, and of the requirements of meeting regulatory standards.

This familiarity with the regulatory environment was particularly relevant, as the interview was held shortly after President Trump’s decision to approve VIDA, and in the context of an application to amend holding time restrictions on Alfa Laval's USCG Type Approval.

“We were an early entrant to the market, and sold our first units before there was any regulatory requirement to install ballast water management systems,” Anders Lindmark explained. “Our company’s goal remains to provide high quality ballast water management equipment to the market, to help our customers to fulfil the demands of regulation.”

In fact, Lindmark welcomes the rigour of the USCG Type Approval process and the IMO’s revised G8 process. The company received its initial IMO certification in 2007 and has subsequently received its US Coastguard and IMO revised G8 approvals for its PureBallast system.

Hold time application

Lindmark noted that Alfa Laval was currently addressing its USCG Type Approval holding time, which at 72 hours for marine, brackish and freshwater provides a limitation compared to the current IMO certificate

“We finalized our testing in October in order to submit an application to eliminate the holding time limitation”, Lindmark said. The testing and the analysis were supervised by DNV GL at the Independent Lab at NIVA in Norway. USCG and DNG GL are in the final review stage to issue an amended certificate without hold-time.

The removal of the 72 hour holding time of the USCG TA certificate will harmonise holding time with the IMO certificate for PureBallast 3 and provide a benefit for customers calling on US waters.

Turning to the market, Lindmark noted that demand for BWMS systems from shipowners was increasing. As a leading supplier of UV BWMS systems in the marketplace, one of Alfa Laval's advantages is that shipyards around the world are familiar with the requirements of retrofitting Alfa Laval’s PureBallast system. Just as importantly, Alfa Laval has the manufacturing capacity and the resources to fulfil its customers’ orders rapidly.

“We have been preparing for the increased demand driven by the retrofit period for several years. Our ambition is to be quick to provide systems to meet customer requirements”, Anders Lindmark said.

After-sales and training

Alfa Laval's involvement with its products does not end once a system in installed. Lindmark noted that securing long-term compliance with the BWM regulations for each individual vessel depends upon the vessel's crew operating and maintaining the system correctly, with maker support.

Alfa Laval can provide its customers with a broad range of services, ranging from after-sales through to crew training. Alfa Laval already offers crew training at its headquarters in Stockholm, but plans to open three further training programs in Houston, Manila and Mumbai to create a network close to its customers.

These programs are in addition to Alfa Laval’s existing virtual training and on board training services. Although the system itself is designed to be user-friendly, the crew members also need to understand how, why and when the system should be used.

“A lack of training is unlikely to be accepted as a mitigating factor for non-compliance by the marine authorities,” Anders Lindmark cautioned.

USCG VIDA

One area where regulatory reform may actually reduce the administrative burden on BWMS operators and manufacturers is the recent VIDA reform in the US. Although the process of overhauling the existing USCG Type Approval process could take anywhere between one and four years, the new regulatory reform is likely to accept the most probable number dilution-culture method, or MPN method, alongside the existing CMFDA/FDA vital stain method, which measures esterase (cellular enzyme) activity.

“We welcome VIDA”, Anders Lindmark said, noting that this would harmonize the testing requirements between IMO and USCG, being a benefit for the market and especially UV treatment systems operated in US waters.

“Harmonization between the USCG and IMO standards is positive both for vessel operators and system manufacturers”, Anders Lindmark said, although the larger challenge for the IMO and USCG remains how to enforce compliance with the discharge requirements.

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