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Misinformation and lies will lead to ballast treatment disaster, claims Coldharbour

Wed 04 Oct 2017 by Paul Gunton

Misinformation and lies will lead to ballast treatment disaster, claims Coldharbour
Andrew Marshall (Coldharbour Marine): “There will be a disaster of epic proportions”

Misinformation and “whopping gorilla-sized lies” abound in the ballast water management industry, alleged the chief executive of Coldharbour Marine, Andrew Marshall, yesterday (3 October). If this situation is allowed to continue, “there will be a disaster of epic proportions,” he said.

He was speaking to invited guests at the company’s offices in the UK where he said that, because its system – which uses inert gas and cavitation to treat water in the tank during a voyage – suits only about 15% of vessels, Coldharbour is in a position to have “a very clear and firm opinion about what’s going on in the other 85%.”

Outlining some of the misinformation he believes will contribute to future problems, he highlighted regrowth after treatment as a significant problem. This could cause a ship to fail a port state control test, he said, which would have a big impact on a company’s bottom line.

He also singled out the filtration systems that form an essential component of many systems, suggesting that it is “nonsense” to expect to be able to pass up to 6,000 tonnes/hr of dirty sea water through a 50 μm filter for 18 hours non-stop. To make that possible would require a larger filtration plant than could be fitted on a ship, he said.

He stressed, however, that there are “some very good technologies [available] of all types” but said that there are also “some very bad systems and installations out there.” As a result, owners would be naïve to assume that, because a system has a type-approval certificate, “it will deliver what they want.”

Coldharbour is making progress towards US Coast Guard (USCG) type-approval, more than two years after it submitted a letter of intent to apply for USCG type-approval. However, no USCG-approved laboratory able to test an in-tank system was available at that time. One was appointed earlier this year and Coldharbour submitted a new letter of intent on 12 July this year.

The laboratory is MEA-nl in the Netherlands and the European testing season is March-August, so the tests will be conducted next year, he said. This is the same centre where it conducted its tests for IMO type-approval and the USCG has appointed Lloyd’s Register as its supervising body, which is the same one that was appointed for its IMO testing. “So we are in the same place with the same supervisors to do the same tests. It’s going to cost me US$3M to do something I’ve already done,” he said.

Shipboard tests will be also be carried out next year aboard the Suezmax tanker Bordeira, which will be fitted with a commercial installation in Q1 next year, Mr Marshall told BWTT. He expects to submit an application in late 2018 and to receive USCG type-approval in early 2019.

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