Optimarin passes U.S. BWTS testing milestone

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Optimarin Ballast System (OBS)

NOVEMBER 11, 2015 — Norwegian ballast water treatment system (BWTS) specialist Optimarin says it has become the first UV system supplier to meet the most stringent USCG marine water requirements, positioning it for full USCG approval in 2016.

In a series of land-based tests, both the standard MPN (regrowth) method and the more exacting FDA/CMFDA, or “instant kill’, benchmark were successfully assessed.

Optimarin’s BWTS utilizes UV irradiation and back-flushing filters to treat ballast water. Systems employing UV lamps have so far proven their ability to meet the MPN standard, rendering organisms unable to reproduce, but, until now, none has achieved the instant kill capability demanded by USCG.

“This is a great endorsement of our system’s effectiveness and the expertise of our team,” says Optimarin CEO Tore Andersen. “We’ve been developing our system since founding the company in 1994 and we believe, and testing shows, we have a market leading solution for vessels in our segment.”

“USCG approval is crucial, so we’re happy to be so far down the line in achieving it,” says Mr. Andersen. “Without a USCG approved system ships won’t be able to discharge ballast water in U.S. waters. For shipowners with global fleets and route networks, not having such a system would impact massively on their operational footprint and overall fleet flexibility. It really is a must.”

Testing of Optimarin’s system was carried out by DNV GL at the NIVA test facility in Norway. Further tests of remaining water salinities are now scheduled for spring 2016, after which point approval is expected later in the year.

The company is investing some $3 million in the type approval program.

Mr. Andersen says UV lamp technology is the key to the effectiveness of the Optimarin system.

“Each of our lamps has a 35 kW capacity,” he says. “This, quite literally, kills any potentially harmful invasive organisms straight away. Other systems may neutralize them in a way where they die eventually, but ours does it before they are deposited back into the water. USCG is pushing for these stringent demands, challenging the industry to meet requirements and safeguard the environment.”

Optimarin has sold over 350 of its systems, with over 270 installed including more than 60 retrofits. Shipowners using the system include Saga Shipholding, MOL, Grieg Shipping Group, Gulf Offshore, Farstad Shipping, NYK, Nor Lines and Evergreen Marine Corp, among others.

The Optimarin Ballast System (OBS) is type approved by classification organizations that include DNV GL, Lloyd’s Register, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and ABS.

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