Further strengthening its market position, Norway-based Optimarin has signed a contract to supply seven of its USCG-approved Optimarin Ballast Systems (OBS) to Fednav, Canada’s largest dry bulk shipowning and chartering group. Five of the units will be fitted on existing vessels, with two deliveries set for newbuilds.
In addition, cruise ship operator Royal Caribbean International has chosen Optimarin to provide OBS for three of its existing vessels. The ballast water treatment specialist has recently retrofitted its technology on Independence of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas, with installation on Grandeur of the Seas set for the first quarter of 2019. Optimarin partner Zeppelin Power Systems will also deliver six Optimarin systems to a number of multipurpose vessels operated by Lübecker Reederei Lehmann by 2024. The ordered units, type OBS 334-BK, have a maximum capacity of 334m³/hr each.
These latest contracts follow on from orders for ten OBS systems, for Hoegh Autoliners, and 36 units for Ardmore Shipping that were announced in October last year. Optimarin says it has now sold approximately 700 OBS units, with more than 500 installed and operational. Around 250 of those in service are retrofits.
Meanwhile Turkish ship owners, Advantage Tankers and Advantage Products have selected Alfa Laval’s PureBallast 3 to provide ballast water treatment throughout their combined fleet of 16 tankers. A total of 33 PureBallast systems, including skid-mounted PureBallast 3 Compact systems and PureBallast 3 Ex systems for up to 3,000m3/hr, will be retrofitted across these Aframax, Suezmax and product tankers.
Alfa Laval will make deliveries from March 2019 to March 2021. Besides the PureBallast 3 systems themselves, the orders will include deckhouse solutions for the five PureBallast 3 Ex systems which will be installed on the product tankers. For the first year after commissioning, Alfa Laval will also provide a PureBallast Compliance Service Package, which includes testing, calibration, system optimisation and crew guidance.
Alfa Laval further reports that several customers are abandoning their originally selected UV treatment systems in favour of Alfa Laval PureBallast 3. “We increasingly see owners with second thoughts about other UV solutions, even after those systems have been ordered,” says Anders Lindmark, head of Alfa Laval PureBallast. “Customers want the peace of mind that PureBallast 3 offers, especially if they sail in United States waters.”
Finland’s Wärtsilä is another that has recently been awarded a number of contracts to supply its Aquarius UV type ballast water treatment system to various shipping companies. The company reports that as well as business for new vessels, owners are increasingly requesting quotations for their existing fleets.
Alongside the continued surge in orders, more technology suppliers are getting the all-important US Coast Guard (USCG) approval for their technology. The latest to do so is De Nora, a supplier of electrochlorination type equipment, which has received USCG Type Approval for its Balpure system. Balpure becomes the 15th system to be certified by the USCG. Other systems to be approved in recent months include Headway Technology’s Oceanguard, Hyundai Heavy’s HiBallast and JFE’s BallastAce.
For a vessel to be compliant with the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention, owners have to install a ballast water treatment system at the next special survey of the vessel after 8 September 2019. This essentially gives a five-year window for retrofits between September this year and September 2024, depending on when the special survey is due.
The relatively tight time frame has raised concerns about a shortage of drydock capacity to carry out all the necessary retrofits. Cyprus-based FlowSafe believes it can help overcome this issue and has launched a ballast water treatment system that can be installed at sea. The modular turnkey system is compact and, with one machine and multiple ballast lines, is said to be ideally designed for tankers, or pump rooms which are difficult to fit. FlowSafe is also a filterless solution, which is offset carbon neutral as it requires no additional generators.