Shipowners who are dragging their heels on ballast water treatment system installations in hopes of saving money could end up paying a much higher price in the long run.
That caution comes from Lianghui Xia, managing director of U.K.-based ship repair and retrofit group Newport Shipping.
Xia cites statistics from Clarksons’ World Fleet Register that indicate that thus far only 20,483 ships have so far installed or have on order BWT systems mandated by IMO regulations, leaving around 35,000 vessels still without such systems as the clock ticks towards a 2024 compliance deadline.
Xia believes shipowners may be waiting to carry out BWT retrofits to coincide with class renewal surveys and yard repairs for their vessels to minimize the costs and downtime of a shipyard stay.
Now, though, says Xia, there is an increasing urgency for shipowners to act.
BOTTLENECK IN YARD CAPACITY
“An expected boom in demand for BWT system retrofits over the next few years will create a serious bottleneck in yard capacity, pushing up prices for equipment and installation work,” says Xia. “There is therefore a serious risk that owners will be forced to carry out sub-standard retrofits using less competent suppliers with a lack of after-sales support.”
“The price of a BWT system is only one part of the cost equation when selecting a supplier as a shipowner must also take into consideration overall lifecycle costs of the equipment, as well as voyage cost, retrofit cost and the duration of the yard stay,” he says. “It is important that shipowners select a reputable yard and BWT equipment manufacturer with a proven track record for quality and delivery along with a reliable service network, which has high value in the longer term.”
To address the urgency for BWT retrofits, Newport Shipping has formed an alliance with Norwegian ballast water treatment specialist Optimarin. The yard-supplier partnership provides dry dock availability through Newport Shipping’s global network of 15 partner yards, as well as deferred payment terms, for turnkey BWT retrofits based on proven and reliable equipment supported by Optimarin’s global network. It is also possible for shipowners to book equipment and yard slots through the Newport Maritime Services portal.