All Ships Required to Have Approved Ballast Water Treatment Methods by September 2017

The Ballast Water Treatment Convention will enter into full force on September 8, 2017, and all ships will need to have approved ballast water treatment methods on board. Ballast water is seawater used as ballast to balance a ship, and is pumped in or out to add or reduce weight for stability. The problem is that this seawater is picked up in one port, and discharged in another. This introduction of invasive species new to a region are establishing a large presence and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem in a multitude of ways, causing insurmountable damages.

All ships whether cruise, cargo or tankers must comply by September 8, 2017, according to stipulations of the original Ballast Water Treatment Convention which stated that regulations would enter into full force 12 months after receiving ratification from at least 30 member States, or 35% of the world’s merchant shipping in tons. Finland’s accession on September 8, 2016 has propelled the global enforcement of the Convention, requiring all vessels to utilize effective ballast water treatment methods.

The Hazards of Ships Ballast Water

The greatest hazards created by a ship’s ballast water are the invasive species carried from one region to another. These species, which include viruses and bacteria naked to the human eye, forms of algae, mussels, clams and crabs, are impossible to eradicate once they establish a foothold. This threat is so large it is viewed as one of the top threats to the world’s oceans.

In the Caspian and Black Seas, a very small form of jellyfish was transported from its natural habitat thousands of miles away in the Atlantic Ocean where its population was balanced with its natural predator, to an area where it flourished with nothing to stop it. This has completely ruined the once thriving fishing industry, leaving ports deserted and the people that depend on the industry in poverty.

In other areas of the world, invading mussels have attached themselves to pumps in dams and power plants, posing a real threat to the inhabitants of the communities that depend on these structures. Red algae transported in ballast water is proven to be extremely toxic and immediately eradicates all living marine life except the clams, that if fed to humans are poisonous and cause death. For more information on the global hazards of ballast water, and the new Regulations under the Ballast Water Treatment Convention as enforced by the IMO (International Maritime Organization) please see, an organization dedicated to reducing the harmful effects of the transfer of ships’ ballast water.

Ballast Water Treatment Methods

There have been various forms of ballast water treatment methods from simply exchanging the ballast water while out at sea to on board treatment methods that eradicate any living invasive species, thus carrying and discharging non-threatening water, no matter the region where discharge is necessary. Exchanging the ballast water at sea is not always an option for a ship’s captain when in high seas and dropping ballast water would jeopardize the safety of the ship and crew. With the new regulations, ships must be equipped with a complete and effective solution.

There are three approaches to treating ballast water; mechanical, physical or chemical. Mechanical methods would include separation and filtration; physical methods include ozone, electrical currents, or UV radiation, while chemical solutions are biocides or a form of chlorination.

UV Radiation for Ballast Water Treatment

UV radiation is proven most effective for eradicating any threatening invasive species, with no costs of continuous chemical treatment or risk of corrosion or discharging hazardous chemicals. LightSources has partnered with some of the largest providers of UV treatment for ballast water with outstanding results, using the most effective UVT wavelength promoting maximum absorption by the water, eliminating all forms of harmful invasive species.

LightSources patented and proprietary technology is a result of continual investment into research and development, making LightSources experts in UV germicidal applications. Our standard Low Pressure (LP) Amalgam lamps are extremely effective in germicidal applications, and carry a small footprint, with long life and low maintenance. Our Medium Pressure UV (MPUV) bulbs are also just as effective with an even smaller footprint.

UV Germicidal Lamps
UV Germicidal Applications

LightSources and our affiliated companies represent the leading high-tech designers and manufacturers in the lamp industry today. Our team consists of the most highly skilled professionals that specialize in a range of innovative solutions. Contact us today to speak to one of our expert engineers about ballast water treatment methods.

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