September 22 - Ballast Water Containers (BWC), a company set up by Glasgow based Malin Group, has recently begun trials with its Seaforth containerised ballast water treatment system (BWTS).

Designed specifically for the heavy lift and logistics industries, and barge owners in particular, the Seaforth BWTS is a portable treatment solution housed in a 20 ft shipping container.

The Seaforth system is designed to complement existing barge ballasting operations. It does this through the treatment of the sea-going ballast intake or discharge using a mobile deck mounted solution.

This ensures that existing barge equipment, such as portable deck mounted ballast pumps and load out/in operations, remain largely unchanged.

Each system can treat up to 500 cu m of ballast water per hour which provides more than enough capacity for typical heavy lift sea-going ballasting operations, which usually have a pumping requirement of approximately 200-300 cu m per hour.

The system also has the in-built capability of treating multiple ballast tanks at once via auto flow balancing technology.

To minimise the risk of non-compliance, the Seaforth system incorporates continuous monitoring technology to automatically re-circulate ballast water that does not meet the necessary discharge criteria.

For larger projects, where higher flow rates are required, multiple Seaforth units can be controlled remotely.

The portability of the Seaforth system enables one unit to be shared between a number of vessels, or a number of operations, which provides a more flexible and cost efficient method of compliance than with a permanently retrofitted system.

The Seaforth system utilises off-the-shelf treatment technology. This ensures that BWC is not reliant on just one technology or one manufacturer to build the ballast water treatment system, giving the company the flexibility to use all the available U.S Coast Guard-approved technologies.

BWC plans to provide more than just a BWTS by providing trained operators, compliance documentation and engineering support. Coupled with Malin Group's expertise in the heavy lift sector, the group can offer a complete turnkey ballasting solution.

The company is also working on other modules, including a Seaforth 100 type, which has a treatment capacity of up to 100 cu m per hour for smaller units, and Bute - a simplified version of the system.

Being part of a large group, finance and expertise has not proved to be a problem in designing and building units and BWC also has the backing of Scottish Enterprise.

Malin Group's managing director, John MacSween noted: "The IMO Ballast Water Management Convention will enter into force in September 2017 leaving many barge owners with a real headache around compliance. In the current depressed freight market, the cost for outfitting every barge with a complaint, on board system is, in many cases, prohibitive, and in some, impossible. Our system offers an alternative means of compliance and allows owners to buy time and either defer or remove significant portions of capex altogether."