USCG AMS acceptance gains ground

Nov 30 2013

The US Coast Guard is leading the way with ballast water treatment system (BWTS) regulations and has agreed to issue an ‘Alternate Management Systems (AMS)’ certification ahead of the ratification of the IMO’s convention.

By 15th November, some 24 companies had received the certification, meaning that the vessels, on which the systems are fitted, can trade in US waters (see Table on page 38).

Among the latest companies to receive AMS approval was DESMI Ocean Guard.

The company’s OxyClean system was granted approval on 11th October for models from 75 cu m capacity to 3,000 cu m per hour.

The AMS acceptance covers all salinities, ranging from freshwater to marine water. This was the first time the USCG had released an AMS acceptance that covers all salinities, as the previously released acceptances were valid in only marine and brackish water and not for freshwater, the company claimed.

DESMI Ocean Guard CEO, Rasmus Folsø, said: “We are extremely pleased to be the first in the world to receive the USCG AMS acceptance in all salinities. This proves that all the hard work and challenges associated with having our OxyClean system specifically designed and approved for use also in fresh water was worthwhile.

“Since the very beginning of the development of the OxyClean system, we have been focused on developing a system that will work in all salinities. The reason for this is that freshwater conditions are much more commonly encountered than people tend to think.

“Many of the world’s largest ports are located in river estuaries and often the water here is freshwater. Examples are Shanghai, Rotterdam, Bremerhaven and Hamburg just to mention a few. If a vessel takes on ballast water in such a freshwater harbour it will not be allowed to discharge the ballast water to the sea in US territory, unless it has a ballast water treatment system on board, which is approved by the USCG for use in fresh water.

“The USCG AMS acceptance is an interim acceptance that is valid five years after the date where a given vessel must be equipped with a USCG approved BWTS. These dates are defined in the USCG Final Rule regarding discharge of ballast water, which entered into force in June 2012.

“DESMI Ocean Guard is already working on obtaining a full USCG type approval for the OxyClean system. In addition, our new RayClean system has been tested in all three salinity ranges and all testing has been done according to both IMO guidelines and USCG requirements and under the supervision of DNV, which is a USCG recognised Independent Lab. This means we expect USCG type approval for the RayClean system once the USCG starts issuing type approvals for BWTS,” he explained.

On the same day, Greek manufacturer Erma First received its acceptance letter from USCG.


An Erma First medium capacity system.


Approval was given to the company’s models from 50 cu m capacity to 3,000 cu m per hour, plus the associated filter housings, as type approved by the Hellenic Republic, Ministry of Development, Competitiveness & Shipping, Merchant Ships Inspection General Directorate, design and Construction Directorate issued on 10th May, 2012.

Erma First’s BWTS was tested on land and on board ship in accordance with US Standards.

The most challenging water conditions’ test, such as natural richness and density of organisms, high particle and sediment load, were performed at NIOZ as per IMO G8 guidelines and the results were successful.

Managing director Konstantinos Stampedakis told Tanker Operator that the company was working on the design for installation in hazardous areas. The certification is expected by the spring of next year.

He explained that Erma First’s BWTS is suitable for ballast pump capacities up to 1,500 cu m per hour. Although by the summer of 2014, the company will launch a high capacity system with flow rates of up to 3,000 cu m per hour. “Currently, we are in the certification stage of this version,” he said.

He also said that the company had signed more than 40 contracts to supply the system. Seven systems have been delivered while the rest will be fitted in 2014.

“We have seen our order book increase rapidly the last three months. With the receipt of the AMS designation from USCG, we expect our order book to reach more than 100 contracts within the following year. Our contracted system capacities vary from 100 cu m per hour up to 900 cu m per hour,” Stampedakis said.

He said that the main selling point of the company’s BWTS is that the electrolytic system incorporates an advanced separation stage based on hydrocyclones.

This separation stage of the system is a unique stable operation method, achieving extreme sediment removal. There is no risk of clogging.

“Its excellent design offers to the user minimal maintenance costs, since it consists of no moving parts and thus requires no spare parts. The system has been designed to offer low energy consumption in order to reduce environmental impact and it has been carefully designed for easy installment,” he said.

On 11th November this year, the BallastMaster ultraV developed by GEA Westfalia Separator Group was awarded an AMS certificate.

The US has implemented its own regulations independently of the existing IMO regulations for the treatment of ballast water via the USCG’s ‘Vessel General Permit’ (VGP) in 2012.

The regulations of the USCG are applicable for all new vessels whose keels were laid down after 1st December, 2013. Existing vessels with keels laid down before 1st December 2013 and with a ballast water capacity of 1,500 to 5,000 cu m per hour must comply with the US regulations after their first scheduled docking from 1st January, 2014.

For existing vessels with a ballast water capacity of less than 1,500 cu m per hour and more than 5,000 cu m per hour, this is applicable after the first docking after 1st January 2016, GEA Westfalia explained.

BallastMaster ultraV is claimed to be an extremely efficient mechanical and physical system solution for treating ballast water, including ballast water with high concentrations of organisms and sediment particles.

The two-stage system works with mechanical pre-filtration and subsequent disinfection of the ballast water by means of UVC radiation without using and/or generating chemicals.


GEA Westfalia's BallastMaster system.


In the first stage, an upstream mechanical filtration system removes all organisms and sedimentary particles larger than 20 microns. This reliably prevents sedimentary deposits from accumulating in the ballast water tanks, as well as guaranteeing in the second stage an optimum result for ballast water disinfecting. The filter modules are cleaned automatically by vacuum extraction (self-cleaning), the company said.

In the second stage, the pre-filtered ballast water is disinfected by UV-C radiation. The monochromatic UV-C radiation (254 nm) effectively destroys organisms, such as bacteria or phytoplankton.

A microcavitation technology effected by ultrasonic ensures that the biofilms and inorganic deposits on the cladding of the UVC tubes are cleaned off extremely efficiently and permanently.

The combination of short-wave UV-C radiation and ultrasound cleaning of the radiation units ensures effective disinfection of constant quality in line with the regulations and thus ensures that all port controls are passed without any problems.

It received type approval in accordance with the IMO in 2011.

On 29th August, Norwegian-based MMC Green Technology gained the USCG AMS and won orders for retrofit projects.

With 28 systems sold to date and a breakthrough on the market for installation on board offshore vessels in operation, MMC claimed success with the system developed for treatment of ballast water on board smaller vessels.

"We were granted DnV type approval for our system in December 2012. Since then, we have sold 28 systems," confirmed director of sales and marketing Børge Gjelseth.

He said that he believed the company's success was due to a combination being the smallest system on the market, which takes up the least space on board and that the system had a simple structure and was easy to operate.

"So far, we have primarily sold our ballast water management system to shipyards which in turn install the system on board newbuilds. However, we have now also sold three systems to offshore vessels in existing fleets, a process known as retrofit," explained Gjelseth.

MMC Green Technology is a relatively young company and is currently working on building a network of agents worldwide.

"As we are building our network of agents, we are concentrating on finding agents who can help provide start-up, service and after sales. So far, we have signed agreements with agents in Singapore and Germany, in addition to letters of intent with agents in Spain and Turkey. Norr Systems in Singapore has sold eight MMC BWMS systems to China. Steinback Ingenieurtechnik has sold one system to Lloyd Verft in Bremerhaven,” said Gjelseth.

He told Tanker Operator that MMC’s system is designed to fit all type of vessels, not just OSVs. The main focus is on the range is 100-1,200 cu m per hour. “At this time, we do not have Ex approval,” he said.

On 23rd September, another Norwegian concern, OceanSaver achieved US Coast Guard (USCG) approval for its Mark II BWTS. The company has also achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification.

The awards built on the system’s existing IMO acceptance and DNV type approval, Based in Drammen, OceanSaver set out to provide efficient and reliable BWTS for medium and large vessels, such as VLCCs, LNGCs and a variety of tankers and bulk carriers, among others.

OceanSaver CEO Houtan Houshangi said: “Regulatory compliance is at the top of the business agenda for international shipowners, with good reason.

“It has always been our goal to provide peace of mind in this respect – allowing our customers to focus on their core business, while we focus on delivering effective, affordable and low maintenance BWT technology. The USCG approval is just the latest demonstration of our commitment to that cause,” he said.

Houshangi added that OceanSaver’s modular Mark II system, with its small footprint and easy to maintain system, is equally as attractive for newbuilds as retrofits.

“This allows us to cater for all shipowners that will be required to conform to the Standards for Living Organisms in Ships' Ballast Water Discharged in US Waters, Final Rule,” he said “We believe our system is the ultimate solution, offering the ultimate in compliance for the maritime market.”

In addition to the recognition from the USCG, OceanSaver has also successfully completed ISO 9001:2008 certification by Lloyd’s Register. This standard relates to the efficacy of a company’s quality management system and its impact on the firm’s ability to meet both customer and statutory and regulatory requirements, alongside enhancing customer satisfaction.



“Minimising risk and adhering to the highest organisational standards is central to successful shipowners,” said Houshangi. “The ISO 9001:2008 award shows that the same philosophy is at the heart of our business, leading to products and services that meet requirements and surpass expectations, time and time again.”

On 28th October, Wärtsilä was granted AMS acceptance for its AQUARIUS BWMS.

AMS acceptance is the first stage towards obtaining full USCG type approval and Wärtsilä said that it anticipated having all activities necessary to gain full US type approval completed within the five year interim period.

Based on an evaluation of the BWMS test data by the USCG, AMS acceptance was granted for use over the full range of water salinities, ie fresh, brackish and seawater.

As one of only two AMS accepted systems without salinity restrictions thus far, the Wärtsilä solution allows vessels fitted with the system to operate in the Great Lakes region, which is important for operators in this challenging environment.

"AMS acceptance is an important milestone in providing shipowners with a BWMS that enables true global operations and is a key part of the Wärtsilä BWMS partnership programme, which aims to support our customers in meeting their environmental compliance objectives," said Joe Thomas, director, Wärtsilä Ballast Water Management Systems.

As well as supplying the system to newbuilding OSVs, Wärtsilä has retrofitted a system on board two LPG carriers for Chemgas and is also being installed on an LPG carrier owned by Carbofin, which is currently trading in US waters.

As part of the Wärtsilä partnership programme, a shipowner has the choice of filtration with either ultra-violet (UV), or electro-chlorination (EC) ballast water treatment.

Wärtsilä is also preparing an AMS application for its AQUARIUS EC BWMS so as to provide customers with fully approved technology options upon completion of the approval process.

Elsewhere, BIO-UV has said that it was expecting to receive the USCG acceptance of its BIO-SEA BWTS as an AMS by the end of this year.

The systems’ capacities range from 100- 1,000 cu m per hour. They use filtration with UV water treatment.

The company said that the choice between different sizes and designs of filter facilitates retrofits, as well as newbuilding installations.

BIO-UV operates from new premises located in Lunel, South of France and has partners in Singapore, Netherlands, China, Germany and Greece.

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