How To Respond To A Negative BMWS Commissioning Test


  • The webinar was sponsored by Control Union and Chelsea Technologies.
  • This amendment will come into effect on 1 June 2022.
  • An indicative test is conducted onboard the vessel and a detailed analysis takes place in a laboratory.
  • Mr van Slooten noted that another way to clear down false readings is to use a device that digitally records video of the samples, which can be double-checked by expert analysis.

Cleaning the ballast tanks and lines is one definite way to fail a ballast water treatment system commissioning test, according to panellists in the Out of Commission: How to Respond to a Negative BWMS Commissioning Test webinar as reported by Riviera.

BWMS webinar 

Out of commission: how to respond to a negative BWMS commissioning test, the third Riviera webinar of 2022, a panel of experts including Andreas Lougridis, CTI Maritec EU area business development manager; Michael Haraldsson, Chelsea Technologies sales and business development manager; Cees van Slooten, Control Union Certifications project manager and ballast water testing expert; and Sahan Abeysekara, Lloyd’s Register principal specialist, discussed the implications of a negative BWMS

Amendments to regulation

Control Union and Chelsea Technologies sponsored the webinar.

Mr Abeysekara underlined the essential distinction between commissioning testing and testing that occurs during the installation of the ballast water treatment system (BWTS).

Although the terms are interchangeable, the commissioning test refers to MECP 74’s modifications to BWMC rule E-1, which require biological effectiveness testing when commissioning a BWTS onboard a vessel. This change will take effect on June 1, 2022.

Independent parties conduct the test on board and commissioning testing is successful if the indicative analysis shows that the discharge samples do not exceed the D-2 standard for the size classes being tested, and the self-monitoring equipment indicates proper operation.

Onboard the vessel, a suggestive test is performed, followed by a comprehensive investigation in a laboratory.

Failure conditions

Mr Lougridis stated that his company has a network of labs throughout the world and has performed over 250 commissioning tests (some flags prompted early commissioning) and identified specific failure conditions.

Contamination from filthy tanks and ballast lines was the leading cause of failed tests. The takeaway here is that shipowners and operators must clear the sludge and sediment before the test.

A portable instrument, such as Chelsea Technologies’ FastBallast, can be used to perform a suggestive test. Mr Haraldsson explained that the equipment went through multiple levels of testing in order to eliminate misleading signals.

Developing protocols

Another option to eliminate false readings, according to Mr van Slooten, is to employ a device that digitally records video of the samples, which can then be double-checked by expert analysis. Mr van Slooten is also a member of the IMO committee designing protocols for indicative testing equipment, and he voiced disappointment that the work had slipped behind schedule.

Mr Haraldsson observed in his takeaways that the IMO BWMC has been in development since 2004 and that there should be no more delays – perfection should not be the goal.

Certainly, ballast water treatment is a flawed process, with Mr Sahan pointing out that a poorly positioned sampling point, or, in certain situations, the lack of a sample point at all, might result in a commissioning test failure.

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Source: Riviera