Guidelines For Installation And Testing Of Oily Water Separators According To AMSA Interpretation


This marine notice provides guidance to ship operators and recognized organizations on the installation and testing of oil filtering equipment (oily water separators) according to AMSA’s interpretation, ensuring compliance with MARPOL Annex I Regulation 14 and Resolution MEPC.107(49).

Installation and Approval Requirements

Oil filtering equipment installed on ships after January 1, 2005, must comply with Resolution MEPC.107(49). Key requirements include providing a representative sample of effluent to the 15ppm bilge alarm, fail-safe arrangements to prevent discharge during alarm malfunctions, and a response time for the 15ppm bilge alarm not exceeding 5 seconds. The automatic stopping device must activate within 20 seconds if the effluent exceeds 15ppm.

Testing Procedures by AMSA PSC

AMSA port state control officers will inspect the condition and operation of oily-water separators, ensuring compliance with Procedures for Port State Control, 2023 Resolution A.1185(33). Operational testing involves simulating effluent discharge overboard and confirming that the 15ppm bilge alarm and automatic stopping device function correctly.

Flow Sensors and Valve Sealing

AMSA acknowledges the use of flow sensors in the 15ppm bilge alarm sample line to ensure a representative sample with adequate pressure and flow. While MEPC.107(49) does not mandate these sensors, AMSA supports their installation and the sealing of sample line valves in the open position to prevent manipulation.

Non-Compliance and Rectification

Failure of the 15ppm bilge alarm to activate the automatic stopping device due to a lack of representative effluent sample is deemed non-compliant with MEPC.107(49). During inspections, blocked sample lines or incorrect valve operations should trigger fail-safe mechanisms to prevent discharge, ensuring the system adheres to technical specifications.

Considerations During PSC Inspections

AMSA’s considerations for testing oily water separators include:

  1. Systems with flow sensors: Failure of the 15ppm bilge alarm and stopping the device within specified times results in non-compliance.
  2. Systems without flow sensors: Ensuring unobstructed sample flow and proper valve positioning is crucial. Non-compliance occurs if the system fails to activate alarms and stop devices correctly, potentially leading to ship detention.

By adhering to these guidelines, ship operators can ensure their oil filtering equipment is compliant, functioning correctly, and preventing environmental pollution.

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Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority