ABS organises BWMS workshops

Feb 11 2019

ABS recently issued questionnaires and hosted ballast water management (BWM) workshops, receiving feedback worldwide from shipowners and operators with BWMS installed on board their vessels.

“As ships come into compliance with ballast water management requirements, it is important to consider some of the common system challenges and best practices for operating these systems,” said ABS Senior Vice President for Engineering and Technology, Derek Novak. “The responses we received from the owners and operators who attended our workshops helped us gain a broad industry perspective from around the globe, which we will use to develop and enhance our guidance to industry.”

Global workshops were held in New Orleans, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Athens. Workshop attendees spent a large portion of the day reviewing the best practices that support successful BWMS integration, exploring both common and unique challenges resulting from different applied technologies, various ship types and sizes, operational and environmental conditions, operating frequency, crew competencies, BWMS maintenance requirements and feasible contingency measures.

To help focus discussion and drive the agenda, workshop participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire covering the critical aspects to consider in selecting, installing and operating a BWMS.

Aggregated results allowed common issues – as well as any others – to be identified. In analysing the results from the gathered responses, it was clear that many in the marine industry are making efforts to get systems fully functional and in operation to meet US Coast Guard (USCG) or IMO compliance timelines.

Responses indicated that the number of completely inoperable systems has dropped from 14%, down to 6%, since ABS last conducted a questionnaire in the Autumn of 2017.

Key insights gained during the workshop included:

    Incorporating ship-specific contingency measures within the BWM plan helps avoid potential downtime and financial penalties;
    System-specific training, both for shoreside support and ship crew, is critical for effectively operating and maintaining a BWMS:
    Monitoring key data and operational trends and understanding system design limitations helps crew determine the suitability of the treatment technology for a vessel’s planned operational routes;
    Vendor after-sales global support and expertise is critically important for uninterrupted system operation.

ABS is currently updating the ‘Best Practices for Operation of Ballast Water Management Systems’ report, last published in August, 2017. The updated 2019 report aims to capture all the key discussions items, lessons learned and valuable insight shared by the workshop attendees with respect to the installation and operation of BWMS.

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