The first Ballast Water Test Facility in a tropical climate has been opened by DHI Singapore in November 2010. Local and regional developers now have fast and easy access to test labs in full compliance with the guidelines set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Since the introduction of steel hulled vessels more than a century ago, water has been used to stabilize vessels at sea. That way billions of tonnes of ballast water are transferred globally each year, transporting a multitude of marine organisms including bacteria, small invertebrates and larvae of various species. The spread of these invaders is causing enormous damage to biodiversity and potential health effects are becoming increasingly serious.
To reduce the risk of spreading harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens with ballast water, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted an international convention that requires all ships to install a Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS) to treat the water before releasing it to the environment.
DHI offers a “one stop shopping concept” for developers of such BWMS, including onshore testing of ballast water treatment systems according to IMO’s requirements. After inaugurating the first Danish ballast water test facility in June 2010, DHI now also opened such a facility in tropical realms and was handed over the Certificate of Compliance from Lloyd’s Register. The facility was the result of collaborative efforts with Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB), the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Three tanks with a total volume of 1050 m3 have access to ambient sources of freshwater, brackish water and high saline water. Testing can be conducted during all seasons. ‘The high aquatic biodiversity coupled with Singapore’s strong maritime and water industry make it a hot spot for ballast water testing, ‘ says Martin Andersen, head of the DHI Ballast Water Centre in Singapore. ‘Besides the obvious advantages for local technology developers, our facility and expertise will attract foreign companies and support Singapore’s vision of being a global water and maritime hub.’
The first clients will arrive in January 2011 and already now the facility is fully booked for 2011. ‘It is very encouraging to experience the trust that technology developers show in our facilities and capabilities both in Denmark and Singapore’ adds Andersen.
‘Worldwide there are just a few such centres which can offer companies who develop ballast water treatment systems the necessary facilities to verify that they comply with the IMO guidelines.’ says Gitte Petersen, DHI Denmark, and adds ‘In spite of the fact that the convention still has to be enforced we see a high demand for such services in the future.‘