As ballast water management regulations shift towards enforcement, shipowners are finding that the majority of ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) installed do not function properly.

Mr. Wilkins, Asia-Pacific manager Intertanko

The scale of operational challenges with ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) fitted by tanker owners was revealed by Intertanko at the Singapore Registry of Ships Forum 2018, themed “Riding the Next Wave” and discussing how companies can prepare for the upcoming environmental challenges, considering environmental and social responsibility alongside business growth.

Tim Wilkins, Asia-Pacific manager for Intertanko, an association of independent tanker owners and operators, said the feedback from its members was that in their assessment 60% - 80% of systems did not work correctly. This does not mean the systems do not work at all, but do not function in the way they should, however, Wilkins added, “Failures are unfortunately becoming a daily problem.”

To address the problems contingency measures are being put in place. “We have guidance, we have the industry going through contingency measures, built on very clear transparent measures to ensure regulators and port states and the flag administrations are very much in the picture….and so that information can be sent to the IMO in the future and they can understand exactly what is happening with the systems and the regulation,” Wilkins said.

It is understood that owners fitted systems on vessels, such as newbuilding, but never tested them, and are only finding out now when they start to use the BWTS that the systems do not in fact work properly. It has been recognized these systems aren’t installed correctly and as a consequence the IMO wants now to make sure these systems are validated and operating properly before that vessel goes on trading.

Source: Seatrade (UBM (UK) Ltd)