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USCG clarifies ballast water uncertainty in Asia

Thu 09 Mar 2017 by Edwin Lampert reporting from Singapore

USCG clarifies ballast water uncertainty in Asia
Lt Jessica Ward (USCG): Extensions are no longer linked with the drydocking cycle

A packed auditorium ꟷ including the technical management from more than 30 owners and operators ꟷ has heard US Coast Guard marine inspector Lieutenant Jessica Ward provide essential clarification on type-approval, extension requests, inspections and enforcement, reports Edwin Lampert from Singapore.

Lt Ward’s update was especially timely as the Coast Guard’s previously issued guidance on these topics caused widespread misunderstanding. Lt Ward confirmed that previously established compliance dates will be honoured but made it clear future extensions will no longer be linked to the vessel drydock cycle. Instead the length of extension will be determined on a case-by-case basis. A good rule of thumb is that owners and operators with a current compliance date beyond 2020 should plan to be in compliance on that date.

Intertanko environmental director Tim Wilkins updated the gathering on the ‘practical and political’ questions that will need to be addressed at the upcoming IMO MEPC 71 meeting in July. He also shed important light on the new Saudi requirements for test kits on tankers and shore-side analysis of ballast water samples.

He confirmed that Intertanko is looking into recent ballast water treatment system explosions and that a dedicated working group is likely to be convened. He also said that a thorough engineering review of ballast water management systems, component-by-component, is ongoing, but did not provide an interim update on any problems or potential solutions that had been identified.

DHI Ballast Water Technology’s Guillaume Drillet, who is also chair of GloBal TestNet, provided useful insight into same risk areas and testing for type approval. There was also lively discussion around the MPN dilution culture method currently undergoing a review within the Environmental Technology Verification programme in the United States.

Other presentations across the day looked at the market for different ballast water treatment systems, retrofitting, training and lessons learnt from systems in operation.

Attendees participated in a number of polls across the day.

When asked what they saw as the biggest challenge when it comes to ballast water treatment technology systems 38 per cent cited regulations; 34 per cent said compliance; 16 per cent said choosing a new technology; and 12 per cent said retrofits.