WORLDWIDE – As the clock ticks down toward the imposition of proper legislation to eliminate ballast water pollution many of the larger shipping lines are at last ensuring that all their vessels are kitted out with technology suitable for the proper sterilisation of discharged water, sometimes taken aboard thousands of miles distant. Latest to release their progress in this matter is container line and multimodal transport group Mitsui OSK (MOL) which has recently unveiled details of a complete yet accessible treatment system packaged within a standard forty foot container.
That it has taken around thirty years to finally have this problem taken properly seriously is something which will raise the temperature of any environmentalist considering the huge damage the practice of discharging ballast water polluted with alien organisms has already had around the globe. With the International Maritime Association’s (IMO) International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments 2004 hopefully soon to be ratified the pace of progress amongst the stakeholders has at last picked up.
MOL have long recognised that its customers are keener than ever before to clean up their own ‘global footprint’ putting pressure on their logistics partners to assist them and it is essential for shipping interests, as the biggest marine polluters, to demonstrate their own management of all types of contamination whether air or water borne. To this end MOL embarked on a joint technological development with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) which has now become the first such system to be approved in concept by the Japanese classification and ratification agency Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK). MOL have a history of such collaborations aimed at improving their environmental credentials.
MOL and MHI started detailed engineering work and will install an experimental system with a capacity of 750m3/h (the first ever to fit in a 40-foot container) on the MOL-owned 8,100 TEU containership MOL Competence this spring. The ballast water treatment system (BWTS) is packaged in a 40-foot box together with all necessary electric equipment which provides both ease of maintenance and accessibility. The new technology offers much faster installation time on an existing vessel, compared to systems installed in the vessel’s engine room.
The partners in the venture say that the new system will require less work both to install in a vessel and to manage, taking a week less to fit than a conventional system and using considerably reduced complex pipe fitting. Additionally it will be ideal for vessels which have limited engine room space.
Photo: Artists impression of the MOL MHI system