(HELSINKI) — Three new containerships being built for a major European shipping company at the Jinhai Shipyard in China will be fitted with the Wärtsilä Aquarius UV ballast water management system (BWMS). The order was placed with Wärtsilä in the first quarter of 2015.
Wärtsilä will deliver the BWMS equipment to the first vessel at the end of 2015, and for the other two ships during 2016. This latest contract follows the order placed last year from the same company, where Wärtsilä BWMS equipment was installed into three 2,100-TEU containerships built in Asia, and which were delivered in December 2014.
Each of the three vessels will be fitted with a 500-cubic-meter capacity Wärtsilä Aquarius UV BWMS. This system utilizes a two-stage approach involving filtration and medium pressure UV disinfection technology. Wärtsilä has already obtained IMO type approval and alternate management system (AMS) acceptance from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) for this system, and work to achieve full USCG type approval for all products in the Aquarius BWMS range commenced early in 2014.
“Ballast water management is an important feature of the overall emphasis on environmentally sustainable shipping. Wärtsilä has always paid great attention to working in close cooperation with the customer to ensure that the selected system is appropriate for the ship and its operating profile, and this has been the case here as well. We have enjoyed working closely with the owners and with the Jinhai Shipyard, and have received excellent support in planning this project,” says Lars Bo Kirkegaard, general manager, BWMS sales, Wärtsilä Ship Power.
Ballast water was a hotly debated topic at the recent MEPC 68 meeting in London as the industry eagerly awaits ratification of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Ballast Water Convention. Several states, including Argentina, India, Belgium and Indonesia, have declared that they are in the process of ratifying this legislation. The IMO secretary-general has reiterated that as the barriers to ratification are being discussed and answers developed, the Ballast Water Convention should be ratified before the end of this year. Credible suppliers with robust ballast water management systems have already began the application process for USCG type approval, and Wärtsilä is already fully engaged in this process.
Shipping is an international business with vessels traveling to and from different parts of the world. The ballast water that ships need is, therefore, taken on and discharged as required to ensure that the ship remains a safe operating platform. Thus, the ballast water can be taken from a body of water in one part of the world and discharged in another. Carried with the water is inevitably a host of microscopic marine organisms and plants, which unfortunately do not all adapt easily to their new environment. Those that do survive, however, can thrive, attack, and harm the local species and environment. When scientists brought their concerns to the world stage, the focus resulted in the IMO introducing the 2004 Ballast Water Management Convention. In 2013, the USCG introduced VGP 2013 legislation relating to ships sailing in U.S. waters.