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Ballast Water Treatment Technology

Pedalling a paradox

Mon 02 Jul 2018 by Paul Gunton

Pedalling a paradox

Paul Gunton is puzzled by a detail in one of June’s USCG type-approvals

I like paradoxes: my favourite is that bicycles stay upright. No one seems to know why, yet we can all ride them once we have learned how. But what is it, exactly, that we have to learn? 

There is another paradox tucked away in a couple of US Coast Guard type-approval certificates. It has been there for a year but I only spotted it when Samsung’s Purimar was awarded its certificate on 15 June although the same detail was also included in SunRui’s type-approval certificate in June last year.

Samsung’s certificate includes this text: “The BWMS does not meet the requirements of 46 CFR Subchapter F or 46 CFR Subchapter J and may not be installed on a US-flag vessel.”

Those subchapters cover specific technical aspects of the kit and, let’s be clear, there is no doubt that both systems meet the US ballast discharge standard. That is the whole point of the type-approval scheme, after all.

This is the paradox: a foreign-flag ship can fit these systems and arrive in a US port without raising any eyebrows but a US-flagged ship cannot.

That seems odd to me. I would have thought that any national type-approval scheme – for anything – would have at its heart that nation’s domestic installation requirements. If meeting those subchapters is essential before equipment can be used on a US-flagged ship, why aren’t they also part of the type-approval requirements?

I thought I’d ask one or two industry experts if they also thought it was odd. In fact, I asked just one and they thought it wasn’t odd at all. So perhaps I’m seeing a puzzle where none exists. 

I have asked the USCG for a comment about this situation and if I get one I will report it, so my comments now might be overtaken by events by the time you see this.

But whether I get a reply or not, the situation is as I have described it. What do you think about this? 

We have an expression in the UK to dismiss someone with an unwelcome proposal or idea: ‘on yer bike!’ Is that how you feel about my comments? Or are you in tandem with me on this? Use the linkin the text copy of these remarks to let me know.

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