BWMS updates

May 10 2019

ABS has published its 2019 Ballast Water Management Advisory.

This provides critical advice to shipowners in advance of the five-year window beginning September, 2019, requiring retrofits of BWM systems on existing ships, the class society said.

“We anticipate roughly 6,000 vessels per year over the next five years will need to be retrofitted with ballast water management systems to meet the revised IMO compliance dates,” said William Burroughs, ABS’ BWM lead. “We recognise this is a large portion of the fleet and will only be achievable through proper planning and effective project management and execution.

“This Advisory provides in-depth guidance to help owners understand the complexity of retrofitting ballast water management systems, supporting successful and on-time retrofits,” he added.

Through a recent global questionnaire of owners and operators, ABS found that 65% of BWMS were reported as inoperable or problematic. This Advisory provides a practical and phased approach to guide owners and operators with retrofitting and operating BWMS, helping avoid costly mistakes and operational disruptions.

To be compliant with the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention for existing vessels, shipowners need to install a BWMS at the vessel’s next renewal survey associated with the IOPP certificate (MARPOL Annex I) after 8th September, 2019, essentially creating a five-year window for retrofits between this September and September, 2024, depending on when the renewal survey is due.

ABS’ BWM advisory covers:

•             Latest IMO & USCG BWM regulatory updates.

•             Updates on ballast water treatment technologies, practical considerations and system limitations for each.

•             Practical advice to help owners identify the ‘most suitable’ BWMS for each of their vessels.

•             A detailed discussion of the challenges for conducting BWM system retrofits.

The updated Advisory follows the ‘ABS Best Practices for Operation of Ballast Water Management Systems Report’ published earlier this year that gives insight for best practices to overcome key challenges with selecting, installing and operating a BWMS.

To form an accurate picture of the challenges with achieving BWM compliance, ABS has held global workshops in New Orleans, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Athens, reaching more than 60 shipowners and operators and about 500 vessels.

Lessons learned from the workshops were distilled into a concise and practical step-by-step explanation of the retrofit challenges. The Advisory provides reminders for owners when reviewing retrofit projects for their fleet and will allow designers and planners to better manage commonly overlooked details that could delay BWMS  retrofits, ABS claimed. 


Wärtsilä’s Aquarius UV Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) was recently granted US Coastguard (USCG) Type Approval.

With the company’s other BWMS technology, the Wärtsilä Aquarius EC, already type approved, Wärtsilä becomes the first manufacturer able to offer two USCG type approved BWMS technologies.

“Wärtsilä’s dual technology offering provides the broadest range of BWMS solutions for fleet wide regulatory compliance. This means that owners can be sure of having the most appropriate system for their particular needs from the same premium support supplier,” said Craig Patrick, General Manager, Sales, Water and Waste, Wärtsilä Marine.

The Wärtsilä Aquarius UV (Ultra-Violet) technology utilises proven filtration and UV irradiation, while maintaining a high degree of safety and operability, the company claimed. It retains its effectiveness regardless of the water quality.

The Wärtsilä Aquarius EC (Electro-Chlorination) system features a simple two-stage process involving filtration and electro-chlorination across the full scope of a ship’s operating and environmental conditions.

In addition to the USCG approvals, both technologies have also gained IMO type approval.

The Wärtsilä Aquarius UV BWMS approval covers models with maximum treatment rated capacities between 50 cu m per hour and 1,000 cu m per hour.


The Federal Public Service (FPS) Mobility and Transport, the arm of the Belgium government responsible for shipping, has selected Chelsea Technologies to provide benchmark portable testing for compliance with ballast water standards.

This follows the Belgium government’s decision to begin testing vessels calling at its ports and terminals to ensure they can demonstrate compliance with the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC), representing one of the first European nations to enforce this mandate.

Chelsea Technologies’ FastBallast portable ballast water analyser has been chosen by the FPS following a thorough evaluation of portable ballast water tools available on the market.

FastBallast will be deployed as a benchmark testing device to conduct spot checks on indicative sampling of vessels arriving into any Belgium port. Following a detailed technical review, this system was identified as the most accurate solution for portable sampling of ballast water that allows Port State Control (PSC) to target vessels for laboratory compliance testing, as well as providing shipowners with the assurance that their BWTS is operating effectively, mitigating the risk of potentially significant fines and costly delays.

Dr Brian Phillips, Chelsea Technologies Chairman, commented: ”It is testament to the confidence of the FPS in the unrivalled accuracy and reliability of FastBallast that it has been selected as the gold standard for ballast water sampling in ensuring compliance with the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention. Accurate testing eliminates the risk of any ambiguity over results, potential fines, delays and reputational damage as well as protecting the environment by preventing the spread of invasive aquatic species.

“Allied to this, confidence in the accuracy of ballast water treatment systems is essential to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, as inaccurate testing and false readings could lead to delays with port state control and potentially significant fines, risking reputational damage, as well as the impact of non-compliant discharges on the environment,” he said.

Chelsea Technologies is also working closely with regulators, including the IMO and port authorities, as a trusted and workable international standard is developed for portable ballast water sampling and analysis, one that is based on a proven methodology for representative sampling and analysis.

The company has already initiated discussions with accreditation authorities and is undergoing a process of third-party protocol testing.


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May 2019

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