Shipowners attending a recent ballast water management conference in Miami were told that once a ballast water treatment system (BWTS) has achieved Type Approval, there are no provision to verify the system's on-going operational efficiency.
According to Carine Magdo, aqua-tools' business development manager, who attended BWMTech North America, shipowners present indicated concern that there is no way to check system compliance.
One delegate commented that once a BWTS is installed and commissioned, there is little after-sales support, she said, reported London's Tanker Operator"It does appear that once certified by the USCG or IMO the ballast water treatment system is left to run and run without anyone really knowing if it's working or not. There is no requirement to prove efficiency," she said.
Ms Magdo, who recently joined the French water microbiology specialist after a number of years in the land-based water treatment sector, is "very concerned" that there is no protocol in place to verify system efficiency.
"This is unheard of in land-based water treatment applications, where there are mechanisms to assess the biological and chemical make-up of the treated water. This should be a mandatory requirement," she said.
Referring to conversations she had with a number of BWTS manufacturers attending the conference, she said few gave testing much thought: "When I asked them about what they were doing to verify efficiency, few were sure whose responsibility it was. 'We don't carry out testing during commissioning because we are type approved' or 'We don't test because it's not our responsibility' were typical responses.
"I'm really surprised that the makers don't support their customers in helping to verify the efficiency of their treatment system after commissioning and in real operational conditions, especially given the high capital expenditure shipowners are making," she said.