September 22 - Norwegian ballast water treatment (BWT) specialist Optimarin has become the first supplier to submit an application for type approval to the United States Coast Guard (USCG).
Certification body DNV GL submitted Optimarin's application this week after the firm's Optimarin Ballast System (OBS) satisfied the USCG's stringent testing criteria for fresh, brackish and marine water.
John Mauger, commanding officer of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Center (MSC), described the move as "a milestone" in the fight to protect marine biodiversity in US waters.
A major concern for shipping lines with regard to BWT systems has been compliance with US standards. While the IMO has approved more than 50 different treatment systems, the US Coast Guard has yet to approve a single one. Some lines have been hesitant to retrofit expensive BWT systems that could fail to meet the stringent US standards.
This concern was thrown into stark perspective on September 14, when HLPFI reported that the IMO's Ballast Water Convention will come into force during September 2017 following Finland's decision to ratify the convention.
Optimarin ceo Tore Andersen said: "We have invested a huge amount of time and money in developing a reliable, simple, effective, environmentally friendly and powerful BWT system. This final step towards approval is reward for that, positioning us at the forefront of the market for any shipowner that wants the ultimate in compliance, fleet flexibility and proven BWT success."
Optimarin has received approximately 500 orders for its OBS system, which utilise a combination of filtration and 35kW UV lamps to treat ballast water without the need for chemicals.
To date, 280 units have been installed worldwide, with almost 100 of these being retrofits. The OBS system has been fitted with the assistance of engineering partners Goltens and Zeppelin.
Optimarin claims that as well as satisfying all IMO and USCG requirements, the OBS system is certified by a range of classification organisations including DNV GL, Lloyd's, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and American Bureau of Shipping.