Bilge water treatment system completes trials
The Great Lakes cargo vessel MV James R. Barker recently completed successful sea trials with the first maritime bio-mechanical oil water separator for the treatment of oily bilge water.

The 1,000-ft. ore carrier, owned by Interlake Steamship Company, Cleveland, Ohio, is the first to be equipped with the PetroLiminator 630 oil water separator system, developed by EnSolve Biosystems, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina. The PetroLiminator 630 was installed on the ship in March, and has been in continuous operation since.

The patented PetroLiminator 630 uses bioremediation to treat bilge water to meet international clean-water standards for discharge into environmentally sensitive waterways. Safe,non-pathogenic hydrocarbon-ingesting bacteria convert oils (including synthetics), grease, detergents and other hydrocarbons into harmless end products. An oil content monitor continuously tests the clean effluent prior to discharge.

The PetroLiminator 630 was type-approved by the U.S. Coast Guard earlier this year as meeting the IMO-specified regulatory limit of 15 parts per million. The automated system works 24 hours a day, processing up to 20,000 gallons of bilge water per week.

Michael Johansen, Relief Chief Engineer of the MV James R. Barker said, "The effluent has been consistently far below the regulatory limits. I no longer have to worry about the condition of the overboard effluent from the oily water separator."

Interlake Fleet Superintendent Charles Minton stated, "We had trouble with oily water separators in that they're very labor intensive, requiring the changing of filters or membranes, but the PetroLiminator is relatively maintenance free."

"We've gotten oil in our bilge water effluent down to two and even one part per million," he added.

Based on the successful installation on the James R. Barker, Interlake expects to purchase at least two more PetroLiminator systems later this year, according to Minton.

EnSolve Biosystems is an early-stage biotechnology company based in the Research Triangle region of North Carolina. It has received numerous awards and financial support from the North Carolina
Biotechnology Center for research and development. EnSolve's other products for the marine market include bioenzymatic degreasers and oil-spill clean-up products.

AESA is merged into Bazan
Spaish shipbuilders Bazan and Astilleros Españoles SA have now become a single company, all the shares in which are owned by the state agency SEPI.

The rationale behind the move is that naval shipbuilder Bazan has an orderbook that's bursting at the seams--particularly after winning an order from Norway for a series of frigates. AESA, meantime, has been in desperate straits.

SEPI chief Pedro Ferreras says he doesn't want to see Bazan lose out on opportunities for lack of production capacity

The newly merged company starts life with more than 11,000 employees and 12 production centers. These do not include the Juliana and Cadiz yards nor the Manises diesel works. SEPI bought these units from AESA for around $60 million in a move being investigated by the European Commission as suspected cheating on shipbuilding subsidy rules.

European Commission approves conditional funding for Trasmediterránea
The European Commission today authorized "State aid" funding for Spanish ferry operator Compañía Trasmediterránea, to continue essential ferry services between the Spanish mainland, the Balearics, the Canary Islands, and Melilla. But, since Spain did not give all EU operators an adequate chance to bid for the provision of the services, the Commission has decided that the tender procedure used was illegal.

While allowing the aid, the Commission is setting a number of conditions, notably allowing it continue only until July 26, 200. It was initially envisaged as running for six years from the end of 1997 with two extensions of two years each. Thereafter, as from summer 2001, in the event of a new call for tenders, operators must be given a fair opportunity to compete for the service.