A Water Ballast Treatment System is Compulsory

Regulations of the Ballast Water Treatment Convention (BWTC) will enter into full force on September 8, 2017, and require that all ships are equipped with a water ballast treatment system. The IMO (International Maritime Organization), a division of the United Nations, is empowered with the task of providing regulation to all matters involved with the international shipping trade, maritime safety, navigation, and the control and prevention of pollution from ships. The MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) is an international subsidiary group of the IMO, and is also tasked with preventing the pollution of ships. The original convention was adopted in 2004, with the stipulation that once enough member States of the United Nations representing 30% of international shipping in terms of tons ratify the treaty, the BWTC would enter into full force with stricter international regulations that all vessels sailing in international waters must abide by.

By September 8, 2017, all ships must have a verified effective method for treating ballast water, according to their ship-specific plan; they must carry a ballast water record book, and an international ballast water management certificate.

Hazards of Ships Seawater Used for Ballast

When ships pick up seawater as ballast from one region, or while coasting through the ocean, the water is stored in the hull and used to stabilize the ship when loading or unloading cargo. Water ballast is usually picked up in one port after unloading cargo, and then discharged in another when loading the ship with more weight. The problem with this is that when water is added for ballast it contains marine organisms some of which post very serious threats to the ecosystems in which they are discharged. In fact, the transport of ballast water from one region to another has been identified as one of the largest threats to the preservation of the planet’s oceans.

Invasive species such as mussels, clams, crabs, jellyfish, and even bacteria and viruses naked to the human eye have wreaked havoc on new regions in which they were unwittingly transported by a ship’s water used for ballast. When these newly introduced aquatic life forms take root in a new environment, they are often times impossible to eradicate. Most of these marine organisms are well controlled in the original environment from which they came, but once introduced to a new location they may negatively affect the ecosystem without natural predators to control them.

This is the case in the Black and Caspian Seas where crown jellyfish have all but destroyed the once thriving fishing industry, leaving the town’s population in poverty. In other instances, invading mussels transported in ballast water have attached themselves to pumps in dams and power plants, threatening the well-being of not only the marine life but also the human population inland that depend on these structures. In the worse cases, toxic red algae can invade a region and literally kill off all marine life in its path, while causing the shellfish that survive to become poisonous to humans, even resulting in death. For more information on the dangers of ships transporting invasive species in their ballast water, see Globallast.imo.org, an organization dedicated to working with the IMO to prevent the spread of harmful pollution from seawater ballast used in ships.

With global trade increasing, and 90% of all goods transported from one continent to another moved via international shipping, this problem has exploded in recent years and is predicted to only worsen, unless clearly defined regulations for all international shipping are established, followed and enforced.

Methods for Ships’ Ballast Treatment

Beginning on September 8, 2017, all ships must be equipped with an effective solution for treating the water ballast of ships. Of the different approaches for treating ballast water, one method is gaining recognition as the most popular choice: UV radiation. Mechanical methods would include separation and filtration and are ineffective at killing organisms small enough to be invisible to the naked eye, chemical solutions are biocides or a form of chlorination and can leave corrosive residue on equipment or flush harmful chemicals back to sea, physical treatment with UV radiation, however, is safe AND effective.

A Water Ballast Treatment System Using UV Technology

UV radiation is proven extremely effective for eradicating all forms of threatening invasive species, with no risk of corrosion or discharging hazardous chemicals, and no costs of continuous chemical treatment. LightSources has partnered with some of the largest providers of UV water ballast treatment systems with great success. Our lamps use the most effective UVT wavelength of 254nm (nanometers) promoting maximum absorption by the water, and eliminating all forms of harmful invasive species. Our patented and proprietary technology is a result of continual research and development, and is one reason why LightSources is a leader in UV germicidal applications.

We carry a line of standard Low Pressure (LP) Amalgam lamps that are extremely effective in germicidal applications, and possess a small footprint, with long life of bulbs and low maintenance. Our selections of Medium Pressure UV (MPUV) bulbs are also just as effective with an even smaller footprint.

Contact us today to let one of our expert engineers assist you in designing a water ballast treatment system.

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LightSources and its affiliated companies – LCD Lighting, Voltarc, LightTech, and Cerlux 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 a water ballast treatment system.

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