Effective FAQs Guideline – Ballast Water Treatment System

Welcome to the best FAQ’s page for Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS). This article includes all the question, queries, and concerns related to protecting marine life from hazardous Ballast Water.

You’ll find details about Ballast Water and its Treatment System using different technologies in today’s feature.

So, let’s begin the article.

1. What is the Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS)?

The biological organisms in the ballast water are destroyed by a specially designed system called Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS). This system is all about protecting the marine environment.

The hazardous species from one part of the world are transferred to the other part through ship’s ballast water. This is one of the greatest threats to world’s oceans created by ballast water. These organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, types of algae, clams, mussels, and crabs are not possible to demolish once they start reproducing.

Aquatic species in ship’s ballast water is an important problem faced by shipping industries. Therefore, IMO has made it necessary to execute Ballast water Treatment System on board vessels (whether they are existing or new to industry).

ballast water treatment system

Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS)

2. How Does Ballast Water Treatment Take Place?

There are several ballast water treatment technologies available in the market. Ballast water treatment technology can be port-based or ship-based.

Port-based treatment means that the required treatment is carried out by transferring ballast water from the ship to an offshore facility. Whereas, ship-based treatment mainly has three approaches to treating ballast water; mechanical, physical and chemical. However, ship-based technology is more viable.

  • Mechanical methods

It includes cyclonic separation, electro-mechanical separation, and filtration. Filtration can be done during loading the ballast or during the voyage.

  • Physical methods

It includes ozone, electrical currents, or UV radiation.

  • Chemical solutions

Includes biocides or a form of chlorination

how does ballast water treatment take place

How Does Ballast Water Treatment Take Place?

3. Why is Ballast Water Treatment Important?

Ballast water is water from the sea that is used in ships for balancing purpose. Ballast water is necessary for the safe operation of vessels. It is pumped in or out to increase or decrease the weight of ships for stability.

The problem is that the seawater is picked up in one port and discharged in another. Invasive species that are little in size and can move through the ballast water pumps are then carried with the water.

This relocation of hazardous species to a new area are causing a huge presence and creating severe destruction on the eco-system in several ways, causing uncountable damages.

The Ballast Water Management System’s (BWMS) main purpose is to minimize the transfer of Non-indigenous harmful aquatic organisms from one area to another through the ship’s ballast water system

The Ballast Water Treatment Convention (BWTC) requires that all vessels must be provided with Ballast water Treatment System (BWTS). IMO has come up with regulations concerning for the control and prevention of pollution from ships.

The MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) is an international group of the IMO and is also assigned to stop the pollution of ships.

All vessels must have an established effective method for treating ballast water, as claimed by their ship-specific plan; they must carry a certificate from international ballast water management and a record book about the regular treatment of ballast water.

why is ballast water treatment system important

Why Ballast water Treatment Important?

4. What are the Hazards of Ship Ballast Water?

The most significant hazards created by a ship’s ballast water are the invasive species taken from one region to another. These species are impossible to demolish once they start multiplying. It is considered as one of the most dangerous threats to world’s marine life and areas located near the oceans.

The organisms travelled from place to place increases the number of waterborne diseases, affecting humans, plants and other animals.

It is known that ballast water discharge into the sea is potentially the most splendid accidental manner of shifting undesirable non-native organisms into ports throughout the world.

Because of the immense water volume used as ballast in modern ships, the spread of living organisms around the globe has expended, causing damage to human health, biodiversity, fishing activities and marine farms.

hazards of ship ballast water

Hazards of Ship Ballast Water

5. How Does UV Radiation Help for Ballast Water Treatment?

Ultraviolet radiations are proven most effective for eliminating any threatening, invasive species.

In UV treatment there are no chances of corrosion, no excretion of disastrous chemicals, or expensive regular chemical treatments are involved.

UV wavelength is so effective, its maximum absorption in the water results in eliminating all types of harmful species.

Ballast water treatment with intensive UV light is an environment-friendly treatment method. The special UV light sterilizes the water in the ballast water tanks.

The UV rays destroy the DNA of the bacteria and pathogens, making them inactive. UV lights prevent the bacteria from reproducing.

How Does UV Radiation Help for Ballast Water Treatment

How Does UV Radiation Help for Ballast Water Treatment?

6. What are the Ballast Water Management Standards?

Ballast water management has two standards:

D-1 Standard: In the D-1 standard, the ballast water is exchanged in open seas by on board ships. This is done to discharge the ballast water away from coastal areas. The ideal distance, from land, to do this process must be 200 nautical miles. Similarly this procedure must be done 200 meters deep in water. This is done to make the survival of harmful organisms difficult and only a few organisms will survive. Hence, the chances of introducing disastrous organisms, through ballast water, to new waters becomes very less.

D-2 Standards: In the D-2 standard, it is identified that the most possible amount of organisms that are dangerous to human health are permitted to be discharged.

According to the BWM Convention implementation, the D-1 standard must be followed by all existing ships and the D-2 standard must be followed by all new ships. Eventually all the pre-existing and new ships have to follow the D-2 standard.

In most of the vessels for the treatment of ballast water installation of special equipment is required. The implementation timetable is acknowledged, for existing ships, in the Marine environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting.

Ballast Water Management Standards

Ballast Water Management Standards

7. What is the Ballast Water Management Convention?

It’s the International convention of ship’s ballast water and its remains. The agreement is all about the control and management of ballast water. According to this convention guarantee is given by the member states that the ships and vessels under their flag will fulfill all the procedures and standards for controlling and managing ballast water and their remains.

The aim of the convention is to stop the spread of dangerous marine organisms from one area to another. The convention establishes the procedures and standards for the control of vessel’s ballast water and their harmful effects.

The Blast Water Management Convention applies to all ships with ballast water capacity. The ships that are active in international trade must follow this convention.

Ballast Water Management Convention

Ballast Water Management Convention

8. What is the Difference between D-1 and D-2 Standards?

The differences between the two standards of ballast water management are:

  • D-1 relates to ballast water exchange, whereas D-2 relates to the maximum amount of harmful organisms to human health to be discharged.
  • The D-1 standard requires the ships to exchange 95% of their ballast water far away from coastal areas, whereas D-2 standards are applicable only when a specific amount of viable organisms are found in the ballast water.

Difference between D-1 and D-2 Standards

Difference between D-1 and D-2 Standards

9. What is the Implementation Date of the Ballast Water Treatment System?

The agreement ensures full global implementation of ballast water treatment system by 8 September 2024. Its main features are as follows:

  • The ships need to follow the D-2 standards that are built on or after September 8th, 2017.
  • On the first IOPP renewal, preceding ships must follow the D-2 standard and it will be legally effective if:
  1. On or after September 8th, 2017 the survey is done, or
  2. The IOPP renewal survey is being conducted on or after September 8th, 2014 but it must be before September 8th, 2017.

Implementation Date of Ballast Water Treatment System

Implementation Date of Ballast Water Treatment System

10. What is the Effect of Ballast Water Discharge on the Marine Environment?

Ballast water impacts the environment badly when it is discharged. With the discharge, organisms are released into new environments. If the new environment is suitable for the organisms, these species will survive. They will reproduce and become invasive species.

Ballast water that was brought by onboard ships can contain thousands of aquatic or marine microbes, plants, and animals. If the ballast water remains untreated and is released in a coastal area, it can destroy the local ecosystem.

Effect of Ballast Water Discharge on the Marine Environment

Effect of Ballast Water Discharge on the Marine Environment

Once they start growing, it becomes literally impossible to stop their regeneration. The problem in the ballast water arises when it brings marine life. There are uncountable species that may be transferred in ship’s ballast.

Ballast water can hold anything that is very small in size. The species that are tiny in size pass through the ship’s ballast water intake pump and are carried by the vessels. By tiny-sized species we mean larvae, bacteria, eggs, and invertebrates of several species.

Hazardous impacts of ballast water are recorded all over the world, causing damage to marine life and spreading at a great speed. All the seas and oceans are badly affected by this threatening situation.

11. What are the Different Factors that are Important for Choosing a Ballast Water Treatment System for a Ship?

For the treatment of ballast water on vessels a number of technologies are available. Certain factors shall be considered before selecting a ballast water treatment system for a vessel. These factors play a vital role in the utilization of a particular type of BWTS. These are:

  • Effectiveness on organisms in ballast water
  • Environment-friendly
  • Safety of onboard crew
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Simple installation and operation
  • Availability of space onboard

Factors important for choosing BWTS for ships

Factors important for choosing BWTS for ships

12. What are the Different Types of Ballast Water Treatment Technologies Available in Market?

Among different technologies, here are mentioned a few types of Ballast Water Treatment technologies:

  • Filtration Systems (physical)
  • Chemical Disinfection ( oxidizing and non-oxidizing biocides)
  • Treatment with Ultra Violet Radiations
  • Deoxygenation ballast water treatment
  • Heat ballast water treatment
  • Ultrasonic ballast water treatment
  • Electric pulse/pulse plasma ballast water treatment
  • Magnetic Field ballast water treatment

Usually, two or more technologies are used together onboard vessels for a Ballast Water Treatment System. This is to just to make sure that the treated ballast water is up to IMO standards and free from any hazardous organisms.

Types of Ballast water Treatment Technologies

Types of Ballast Water Treatment Technologies

13. What is a Typical Ballast Water Treatment System Used by Onboard Ships?

Typically, most of the ballast water treatment system uses 2 to 3 disinfectant methods together just to make sure that the treatment is up to IMO standards. These methods are parted into various stages.

A general ballast water treatment plant consists of two stages:

Stage 1: Using the physical separation

Physical separation or filtration systems are used to separate the ballast water from hazardous sea organisms and other materials. It is done by using sedimentation or surface filtration systems. The suspended or filtered particles and wastewater from the filtration process are either distributed in the place from where the ballast is grabbed, or further treated onboard ships before discharging. Screens, discs, hydrocyclone, coagulation, and media filtration are certain equipment used for physical separation.

Stage 2: Employing some sterilising technology

Type of the vessel, space available on the vessel for ballast water treatment system, and the limitations of expense are the factors that are very important in the choice-making of treatment system combination.

From the picture below, you can have a better idea of how a typical ballast water treatment system on ships looks like:

Typical Ballast water Treatment Used by Ships

Typical Ballast water Treatment Used by Ships

With the advancement of technology, every month new technologies are entering the market regarding ballast water treatment system.

14. What is Chemical Disinfection Ballast Water Treatment?

Biocides are the sanitizers which have been tested to take out invasive organisms from ballast water. Biocides have the ability to demolish or inactivate these minute organisms in the ballast water.

However, it is essential that the biocides used as sterilizing purpose must be successful on marine organisms. They are also readily decomposable or detachable to save discharge water from becoming toxic in nature.

On the basis of their properties, biocides are divided into two types:

  1. Oxidizing biocides: These are general disinfectants used to deactivate organisms in the ballast water. These disinfectants are chlorine, bromine, and iodine. These types of disinfectants take action by destructing organic structures of these small organisms, such as cell membrane or nucleic acids.
  2. non-oxidizing biocides: These biocides are a type of disinfectants which interfere (when used) with the reproductive, neural, and metabolic procedures of the organisms.

Chemical Disinfection Ballast Water Treatment

Chemical Disinfection Ballast Water Treatment

15. What is Ultra Violet Ballast Water Treatment?

Ultraviolet ballast water treatment method is made up of UV lamps. The lamps encircle a chamber through which the ballast water is permitted to pass. The UV lamps bring out ultraviolet rays.

The ultraviolet rays make the organisms harmless by acting on their DNA thus, preventing their growth and reproduction. This technique has been successfully used globally. The purpose of this treatment is water filtration and is very helpful against a wide range of organisms.

Ultra Violet Ballast Water Treatment

Ultra Violet Ballast Water Treatment

16. What is Deoxygenation Ballast Water Treatment?

The deoxygenation ballast water treatment method involves removing oxygen from the ballast water tanks. This is to make the organisms choke (to death). Nitrogen or any other gas is placed in the space above the ballast tank water’s level.

Note: This method is not recommended for vessels having short voyage time because it generally takes 2 to 4 days to suffocate the organisms by the noble gas.

Moreover, ships with completely sealed ballast tanks can only use this system. The ships that already have noble/inert gas system installed in them don’t require more space for a deoxygenation system.

Deoxygenation Ballast water Treatment

Deoxygenation Ballast water Treatment

17. What is Heat Treatment for Ballast Water?

Temperature plays a vital role in the growth and destruction of any living thing. This treatment works on this theory. It works by heating the ballast water to a temperature where organisms can’t survive.

There are two different methods of acquiring heat:

  • To heat the ballast water in the tanks, separate heating system can be used.
  • The ballast water can be used as a cooling agent for ship’s engine, thus decontaminating the organisms from the heat attained from the engine.

However, the flaws involved in this treatment are:

  • It takes a lot of time for an organism to become inactive.
  • It increases the corrosion in the tanks.

Heat Treatment for Ballast Water

Heat Treatment for Ballast Water

18. What is Ultrasonic Ballast Water Treatment?

Ultrasonic energy is a type of mechanical energy used to create high energy ultrasound waves. The purpose of these waves is to demolish the cells of the organisms in ballast water.

It is also called cavitation. This type of high-pressure ballast water cavitation technique is generally used in combination with other systems.

Ultrasonic Ballast Water Treatment

Ultrasonic Ballast Water Treatment

19. What is Plasma Ballast Water Treatment?

This is one of the treatments in its developing stage. In electric plasma technology, a mechanism is placed in the ballast water. High energy pulse is supplied to the placed mechanism. This procedure generates a plasma arc that results in killing the organisms.

Another method used for ballast water treatment having the similar effect on the organisms is called pulsed electric field technology. In the pulse electric field technique, to bring out energy pulse in ballast water two metal electrodes are used. This energy pulse is produced at very high power mass and pressure. It destroys the tiny organisms in the water.

In these systems, to kill the organisms, short bursts of energy are used.

Plasma Ballast Water Treatment

Plasma Ballast Water Treatment

20. What is Our Contribution to the Ballast Water Treatment System?

We are Honest Cables, China’s best offshore and on-shore power cables manufacturers and suppliers. We are trusted for our water and corrosion-resistant cables.

We proudly contribute to the Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) by providing cables for the installation of the system in ships. To protect our marine environment and to save our marine life, we need to work more and more on the cleaning systems.

honest cables

Honest Cables

We support the regulations that are provided by IMO regarding the control and prevention of pollution created in the water. Ballast water treatment system is an evolving technology with a huge number (growing day by day) of manufacturers. Our contribution to this BWTS is providing high-quality electric cables to the BWTS.

As the whole technology is about processing water, our water-resistant power cables are best suited.

Our tinned-copper wires are specifically designed to bare the water exposure. These tin-plated copper wires are low-halogen, fire-resistant, flame retardant, and corrosion-resistant.

Our cables are bigger in size than other regular cables when it comes to current carrying capacity. Means heavy machinery can work easily on these power cables without causing any damage to the power supply or to the machinery.

our contribution to ballast water treatment system

Our contribution to Ballast Water Treatment System

Our cables can easily and confidently be used in Ballast Water Treatment System as they meet the coast guard specifications that are outlined by DOT (Department Of Transportation). The PVC insulation on the cables gives even more protection to the wires from the harsh marine environment.

We provide a vast range of power cables appropriate for power transmission and instrumentation application on offshore units.

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