To ensure optimal seaworthiness, many cargo ships and merchant ships these days are equipped with high capacity reservoirs in the hull (or double hull) for taking on large volumes of ocean water. The amount of this water, known as ballast, can be altered (by pumping or draining) depending on the weight of the load. Ballast enhances the stability and balance of a boat, whether it is empty, fully loaded or unequally loaded. Using ballast provides a major economic advantage because it enables the maximum amount of cargo to be transported while maintaining optimal buoyancy and seaworthiness, and therefore optimizes both speed and fuel consumption.
Ballast water discharge is a well-known ecological problem. Essentially, ballast water is released in geographical zones far from where it was originally collected.
Ballast Water Regulations – Are you ready?
The introduction of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens to new environments through ships’ ballast water is a significant threat to the world’s oceans, posing severe environmental, economic and public health risks. In September 2017, the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and the United States Coast Guard developed strict regulations governing ballast water management, stating that all ships must – within the next 5 years – meet certain standards when discharging ballast water. Installing a Ballast Water Treatment System is a significant and costly undertaking for ships, not to mention learning a new testing protocol to self-monitor ballast water. LuminUltra has been working on a ballast water (BW) testing solution for many years, and can help you navigate this new testing requirement.
The international maritime authorities (IMO – International Maritime Organization) have instituted measures to limit the ecological, economic and health risks of ballast water discharge.
Ships are required to physically or chemically treat ballast water regularly to kill any micro-organisms using certified technologies (that pose no risk to the environment) in order to comply with ballast water discharge standards.