Consultancies are playing a key role in helping shipowners cope with the demands of the Ballast Water Management Convention, finds Paul Fanning
When the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC) finally reached its threshold tonnage in September 2016, the role of marine engineering consultancies suddenly took on significantly greater importance. This was because, as questions over ballast water management systems (BWMSs) moved from the academic to the practical, shipowners and operators were faced with the question of how to source the best possible system, ensure it works and retrofit it on to their vessels.
Olli Somerkallio, manager of the machinery department at the Finnish naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy Foreship, has recently been providing detailed advice on the various retrofit options, which has meant undertaking feasibility studies designed to arrive at the best possible solution. What has become clear from this is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. “There are so many factors that need to be considered that we have to look at ships as individuals,” he said. “The layout of the machinery affects the optimal solution, plus we have to look at the space available and consult with crew on their requirements.”
One company with which Foreship is working is Norwegian Cruise Line. After an initial project involving the surveying, installation feasibility study, design drawings and documentation for class approvals on Norwegian Dawn, Foreship was invited to provide the same service for the Norwegian cruise ships Pearl, Sky, Jade and Spirit.
Foreship’s full scope includes mechanical and electrical design work to DNV GL requirements, taking in diagrams for BWMS foundation support structures, piping routeing, machinery arrangements, cabling diagrams and systems integration. Foreship is also contributing on-site installation support, where required, with the bulk of work to take place while ships are in service.
Naturally, the sheer variety of systems available is one of the most daunting obstacles for shipowners so Dutch consultancy UniBallast offers a free online system selection service to help shipowners choose a suitable BWMS. A shortlist can be identified by using the app to set a number of criteria, including flow rate, power requirement, working principles and type-approvals. The system can be accessed via the company’s website, http://www.uniballast.nl.
Clearly these are busy times for consultants. During the forthcoming six months, 10 installations of different ballast water treatment systems are scheduled to take place on board various types of ships and for different clients, for which the Greek consultant Argo Navis is responsible for the retrofit installation design, the project co-ordination and supervision.
One recent project for the company was the installation of Ecochlor BWMSs on board three tankers under the technical management of Russia’s SCF Management Services. Argo Navis Marine Consulting & Engineering was responsible for the engineering study and design for the retrofit installation, producing class-approved drawings, monitoring the project and attending on site during installation.
Installation on board NS Stream, an MR ice-class tanker, took place at Victor Lenac shipyard, Croatia while NS Consul and NS Century, two sister Aframax tankers, took place at Tuzla’s TK Shipyard, Turkey.
The biggest challenge was the pre-fabrication process, because the new equipment was installed inside three newly-fabricated deck houses. The pre-fabrication process was progressed significantly prior ship’s arrival at shipyard. One of the challenges of those projects was the transfer of big filters into the pump room.
Consultants are equally valuable to equipment makers. Norway’s InBallast, for example, worked with Oceansaver to prepare its successful application for US Coast Guard type-approval. Among the services it provided were to design the land-based and shipboard testing and conduct CFD modelling of the system’s working methods.
It finished by preparing the documentation package for the USCG, which it completed on 23 September 2016. Exactly two months later, Oceansaver’s BWMS became the first electrochemical system to receive USCG type-approval.