Ship Owners Seek Cost Effective Solution for BWMS

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ballast

As the IMO convention is looming, ship owners are looking for cost-effective solutions for ballast water management.

Ship owner’s quest:

On a recent visit to Vancouver, three owners reported progress on bringing down the cost of compliance.

Containership owner and manager Seaspan Corporation has been operating ballast water management systems under joint industry projects with system manufacturers for the past five years, helping suppliers to develop their units.  The company currently operates such ‘beta-type’ retrofitted units on four vessels.

Curtis, CEO said: “It’s a case of us learning what we need – will one work across the whole fleet, be some better for retrofitting and are some more prone to technical issues? Bulk carriers and tankers have a bigger problem as container ships don’t change draft as much, so we’ve been able to downsize what we have to retrofit quite substantially – they don’t need to operate to the full capacity of two ballast pumps but partial capacity on one pump.  That’s a huge change.”

Seaspan has at least eight vessels targeted for delivery next year, ranging in size from 10,000 TEU to 14,000 TEU, all of which will be delivered with BWMS installed, Curtis reported.  The company is also working with system manufacturers to ensure that the units are compliant with US Coast Guard standards, and Curtis said that Seaspan has received “some guarantees” from providers that they will gain type approval.

Peter Amat, the general manager of Hong Kong-based Pacific Basin Shipping’s Vancouver operation, recognized the greater challenges faced by bulk carriers.  But he reported that the company’s technical division, responsible for a fleet of 200 handy size and supramax dry bulk carriers, had been steadily reducing the projected costs of installing systems.  New builds are now being designed with space to accommodate the units, Amat said.

Decision pending:

Despite progress on costs, some operators still have considered a decision to be taken on the investment case, particularly for older vessels.  Speaking off the record, another large bulk carrier operator told that the current low valuation of second-hand ships and the low cost of building new vessels meant that the company had to weigh up whether to scrap some vessels early rather than spend what may be well in excess of US$1 million to comply with ballast water regulations.

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Source: The Motorship