Ballast water test facility inaugurated

25 Jun. 2010  

Blue skies and blue tanks greeted the many visitors who took part in the inauguration of the first Danish ballast water test facility established at one of Hundested Port quays. The weather could not have been more perfect and the often wet and stormy days during the construction period were forgotten as Mr. Erik Bastiansen, The Danish Maritime Fund, cut the red silk ribbon and declared the facility for open.

Representatives from the Danish Shipowners' Association, the Port Authorities and Lloyds all greeted the new facility welcome and emphasised the importance of establishing such novel facilities. The approval certificate handed over by Lloyds marks the beginning of the operational phase of the facility and all indications point to a facility which will be heavily used.

‘Worldwide there are just a few such centres which can offer companies who develop ballast water treatment plants the necessary facilities to verify that they comply with the guidelines developed by the International Maritime Organisation IMO. The Convention has been adopted by IMO and will enter into force 12 months after ratification by 30 states, representing 35% of world merchant shipping tonnage’ says Dr. Gitte Petersen, DHI, with the Lloyds Certificate proudly in her hand and adds ‘in spite of the fact that the convention still has to be enforced we see a high demand for such facilities in the future as there are some really important issues at stake here.

The effects of invasive species in many areas of the world have been devastating and are largely due to the expanded trade and traffic volume over the last few decades. According to IMO it is estimated that about 10 billion tonnes of ballast water are transferred globally each year, potentially transferring from one location to another species of sea life that may prove ecologically harmful when released into a non-native environment.

Quantitative data show the rate of bio-invasions is continuing to increase at an alarming rate, in many cases exponentially, and new areas are being invaded all the time. Specific examples include the introduction of the European zebra mussel in the Great Lakes between Canada and the United States, resulting in expenses of billions of dollars for pollution control and cleaning of fouled underwater structures and water pipes; and the introduction of the American comb jelly to the Black and Azov Seas, causing the near extinction of anchovy and sprat fisheries.

The facility offers land based tests with up to three different test water qualities and a capacity to test two Ballast Water Management Systems simultaneously. Performance of a land based test according to the IMO guideline can be carried out over a period of three to four months.

The Danish Maritime Fund has provided financial support to establish the facility, which uses natural freshwater, brackish and high saline seawater and offers a flexible system with a capacity of up to 500 m3/h for pumping water in ballasting and de-ballasting operations during pilot and full scale tests.

Ballast water test facility inaugurated

Gitte Petersen

Claus Jørgensen

Kim Gustavson