Classification society ABS has published a report providing insights into how industry is progressing with ballast water management (BWM) systems.
Based on input provided by owners and operators with BWM systems onboard their vessels, the report covers a range of topics, including installation, commissioning and operations of BWM systems.
“It is important to share with all stakeholders the outcome of the ABS organised workshop on the issues and best practices with ballast water management systems,” said ABS Executive Vice President for Global Marine Dr. Kirsi Tikka.
“When we hear directly from owners and operators, we are better able to understand the challenges in the operation of the systems, and for those systems which are operational, what practices are being followed.”
To form an accurate picture of the current progress with BWM compliance, owners and operators with installed ballast water management systems were surveyed and invited to participate in the workshop. Survey results from approximately 30 owners and operators were aggregated to help identify trends and understand common practices while maintaining anonymity.
In analysing the responses, ABS learned that 57% of the systems installed on the vessels were being operated. The remaining systems were either deemed ‘inoperable’ or considered ‘problematic.’
The report reveals that some of the major challenges that ship owners and operators face with BWM systems are related to software, hardware and the crew’s ability to operate the systems correctly. System operators have had to develop plans to keep up with hardware maintenance and maintain an inventory of spare parts on a vessel. A recurring concern expressed by many owners relates to the chemical consumables used for determining residual oxidants in the ballast water.
Proper storage and handling is critical to the operation of systems employing total residual oxidant (TRO). Another major takeaway from the workshop was the importance and necessity of maintaining an effective training strategy to ensure crew members can operate these systems properly and safely. Improved training methods and system manuals will decrease the number of issues that stem from operational errors.
“This comprehensive report, based on feedback from our workshop, is an important assessment of the readiness of industry when it comes to ballast water compliance,” said ABS Director for Environmental Performance Thomas Kirk.
“It is important that the practices which are being used successfully by some vessel owners are shared with others in the industry.”