A French microbiology firm has enlisted the help of a Greek-based engineering and manufacturing company to offer onboard ballast water testing to Greek shipowners.
Aqua-tools said in a statement it had signed a sales and distribution agreement with Maritech Ltd in early June covering training and supply of aqua-tools’ B-Qua test kit.
Aqua-tools business development manager Carine Magdo said the Greek shipowner market segment was potentially highly lucrative whether those shipowners decided to test their installed ballast water management systems or not.
“As operators of one of the world’s largest fleets, Greek shipowners could potentially provide the ballast water treatment and monitoring sector with its largest market,” she said. “However, they could also provide a good income stream for port state control authorities if they cannot verify these systems are operating in line with the rules.”
Maritech business development manager Dimitris Nikoleris said his group’s initial focus would be to target its existing client base, beginning with Greek owners whose fleets total 80 ships or more.
“We have talked to a number of high-profile owners and many are concerned ...” he said, asserting that it is “difficult to verify” the treatment of closed-loop systems and noting that he expected new orders of the testing kits within weeks.
IMO is currently defining mandatory sampling guidance, although the wording of guidelines surrounding indicative analysis is proving difficult to finalise, according to observers, and will be looked at again at the Marine Environment Protection Committee’s 73rd meeting in October 2018.
Industry-wide tests reported by SGS Group have shown widespread compliance with ballast water management standards – more than 90% in hundreds of tests that took place over several years. Moreover, results had improved such that, between 2016 and 2017, compliance levels in tests approached 100%.
Most of the tests were carried out for shipowners or manufacturers seeking information about their systems’ performance, but about 150 of the tests were carried out to issue official test reports.
The Canadian government’s Fisheries and Oceans department is testing aqua-tools’ B-Qua ballast water sampling and monitoring equipment, though it remains unclear what status Canada will give the testing programme.
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