From the July 2000 issue of MARINE LOG
Ballast water treatment breakthrough
Environmental protection groups around
the world are alarmed by the damage to local ecosystems that
can be done by invasive species imported in ships' ballast water-and
they are being listened to by regulators. Ballast water management
has become one of the most contentious issues to confront the
maritime industry. Indeed, there will be two presentations on
the subject at our upcoming Maritime
Legislation, Regulation and Policy Conference in Washington,
D.C. on September 19-20, 2000. One will deal with regulatory
requirements, while the other will focus on alternatives to ballast
Open ocean exchange of ballast water is
not a solution many mariners, or shipowners, view with much favor.
At best, it's time consuming. At worst, it could be a threat
to the safety of life and property. It's a particularly impractical
solution for cruise ships in regular coastwise service.
Hyde Marine, Inc., and OptiMarin Marketing
A/S have just announced what could be a significant breakthrough:
delivery of the first Optimar ballast water treatment system
to be installed aboard an operating vessel. The system, installed
aboard Princess Cruises' Regal Princess, is designed to remove
and destroy/inactivate biological organisms including zooplankton,
algae, and bacteria from ballast water without affecting the
normal operation of the ship.
The Regal Princess takes on and discharges ballast water at a rate of 200 t/hr (880 gal/min) as fuel and other consumables are used. Ballast water is pumped through the Optimar system, which separates solids and irradiates the water with UV light in two stages.
The patented MicroKill Cyclonic Separator
removes heavier particles larger than approximately 40 microns
and the MicroKill Ultraviolet light treatment system kills or
inactivates biological organisms with UV radiation. The UV system
can also be used during deballasting to ensure that all organisms
have been killed or inactivated when they are discharged from
the ship. All system components, says Hyde, are reliable, safe
and easy to maintain.
The system was installed aboard the Regal
Princess during a regular scheduled two-week cruise from Southern
California along the Mexican West Coast in late March 2000. There
were no interruptions to the ship's normal operations. The system
is compact enough to be located in the pump room and the existing
ballast piping system, ballast pump(s), and control valves are
used as much as possible to minimize the total installation cost.
Testing of a scaled version of the Optimar
system was conducted during 1998 and 1999 at the Norwegian Institute
of Marine Research, which confirmed its suitability for ballast
water treatment to remove and kill/inactivate marine organisms
and bacteria.Efficacy testing on the Regal Princess began when
the ship first visited Vancouver, B.C., on May 17th during a
four-day cruise to Alaska. It will continue throughout the summer
Alaska cruise season with U.S. Coast Guard involvement. Initial
sample results reportedly confirmed that the system's performance
is at least equivalent to mid ocean exchange.
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