Unveiling Seafarers Preferences For Ideal BWMS


In a study conducted by Mevlüt Yılmaz as part of a Master’s thesis supervised by Ceren Bilgin Güney at Istanbul Technical University in Turkey, clear parameters for an ideal ballast water management system (BWMS) were identified based on seafarers’ experiences, says an article published on riviera website.

Study Overview

A study conducted by Mevlüt Yılmaz as part of a Master’s thesis, supervised by Ceren Bilgin Güney at Istanbul Technical University in Turkey, sheds light on the crucial aspects that seafarers desire in an ideal Ballast Water Management System (BWMS). This study involved 50 expert seafarers working on tankers equipped with UV and electrochemical BWMS.

Evaluation Criteria

The seafarers’ experiences with different BWMS brands led to the identification of clear parameters for an ideal system. The study encompassed various criteria, including preparation before ballasting, training requirements, system size and simplicity, ease of routine checks, absence of chemical usage, maintenance convenience, operational simplicity, and frequency of alarms and malfunctions.

Key Findings

  1. User-Friendly Design
  • Preparation Before Ballasting: Seafarers prefer systems with no need for extensive preparation.
  • Training Requirements: Minimal training needs are essential for efficient operation.
  • Compact Size and Simple Equipment: Convenience in routine checks and straightforward controls are prioritized.
  1. Operational Efficiency
  • No Chemical Usage: Seafarers lean towards systems that eliminate the need for chemical handling.
  • Easy Maintenance: The system’s design should facilitate easy maintenance by engine officers.
  • Simple Operational Use: Both deck and engine officers appreciate systems that are easy to operate.
  1. Reliability and Safety
  • Rare Alarms and Malfunctions: Seafarers consider infrequent alarms and malfunctions as the most crucial criterion.
  • No Preparation Necessary Before Ballasting: Streamlining ballast and deballast operations is essential for uninterrupted cargo handling.

Analytic Hierarchy Process

To prioritize these criteria, a statistical method called the Analytic Hierarchy Process was applied. The order of importance, from highest to lowest, revealed that rare alarms and malfunctions topped the list, followed by easy maintenance, absence of chemical handling requirements, operational simplicity with minimal training needs, a compact size with straightforward routine controls, and no preparation necessary before ballasting.

Expert Perspectives

Mevlüt Yılmaz emphasizes the need for BWMS manufacturers to consider seafarers’ expertise in the design process. Ceren Bilgin Güney advocates for manufacturers to incorporate seafarers’ perspectives, recognizing them as the real end users of ballast water treatment systems.

Implications For Future Design

The study’s insights suggest that BWMS designs should prioritize user-friendliness, reliability, and operational efficiency. Manufacturers are encouraged to take these criteria into consideration to enhance the effectiveness and acceptance of BWMS in maritime operations.

Advice For Researchers

Mevlüt Yılmaz recommends future researchers to delve into the performance of specific BWMS brands in different water conditions. Additionally, the study suggests exploring El-Chem type BWMS to minimize chemical handling by seafarers.

Regulatory Considerations

The study advocates for regulators to involve seafarers’ experiences in evaluating any new equipment introduced on vessels. Manufacturers are urged to design equipment, especially BWMS, based on the practical needs and preferences of seafarers, ensuring successful implementation and compliance with regulations.

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