Wärtsilä’s AQUARIUS® EC ballast water management system (BWMS) has been granted BASIC Approval by the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) during its 64th session in London, which commenced on 1st October 2012.
The initial application for BASIC Approval of the AQUARIUS® EC system was submitted to the IMO through the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) in September 2011 and was reviewed by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environment Protection (GESAMP) ballast water working group in April 2012.
“We are absolutely delighted to reach this milestone. Credit is extended to the whole Wärtsilä ballast team and our strategic partners, all of whom have approached this in a very diligent and professional manner,” says Dr Joe Thomas, Director, Ballast Water Systems, Wärtsilä Environmental Solutions.
Gaining IMO BASIC Approval is the first step towards full IMO Type Approval, and focuses on the fundamentals of the technology including toxicity and environmental impact. The next stage, IMO FINAL Approval, examines full scale prototype test data and requires supporting documentation on aspects such as risk and safety to the ship, crew, general public and the environment.
Application for IMO FINAL Approval was submitted to the IMO immediately following the endorsement of BASIC Approval by MEPC-64. A key element of the FINAL submission was an investigation on the impact of the treated ballast water on uncoated and coated materials typically used in marine and offshore construction. , this comprehensive package of information was reviewed by ILT and eminent Dutch experts before submission. FINAL Approval is expected to be endorsed at MEPC-65 in 2013, having successfully completed the mandatory review by GESAMP. IMO Type Approval is expected shortly thereafter.
AQUARIUS® EC is a modular ballast water management system, providing a safe, flexible and economical process for the treatment of ballast water, achieved through a simple and efficient two stage process. Upon uptake the sea water is first passed through a back washing filter (1st Stage) and then the filtered sea water passes through a static mixer, where the disinfectant generated from the side stream electrolysis unit (2nd stage) is injected to ensure a maximum level of 10ppm in the treated ballast water.
During discharge the filter is bypassed and residual concentration of TRO in treated ballast water is monitored before being discharged overboard. If required, treated ballast water is neutralised by injecting sodium bisulfite into the main ballast line during discharge. Neutralisation effectiveness is continuously monitored to ensure compliance with MARPOL discharge limits.
Wärtsilä offers the AQUARIUS® EC and AQUARIUS® UV, which both became part of the portfolio following the acquisition of Hamworthy plc in January 2012, in addition to the MARINEX UV ballast water management system, which has been jointly developed and marketed with Trojan Technologies since 2010.
"Our broad technology choice, coupled with a full spectrum of services from the supply of equipment to bespoke turnkey retrofit solutions, all with through life technical and service support on a global basis, underscores Wärtsilä’s commitment to this crucial sector of the maritime market,” Dr Thomas says.