The problem relating to the transference of Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) has been recently widely discussed and reports are that environmental damage caused through the transportation and release of ships’ ballast water is amongst the top four biggest threats to the world’s ocean. The race is to find effective ballast water treatment methods. IMO have identified 40 different projects around the world, either completed or underway, aimed at developing potential new systems. R & D groups are spurred on by the prospect of a potential US$2 billion market for an effective ballast water treatment system that receives International approval.
Wilson Taylor & Co. (UK) has developed Biomatic system to kill all existing organisms present in the seawater ballast system and prevent further ingression of all forms of marine invasive species. The system can operate in any environment and can be constantly monitored to see what level of protection is being applied and provide data for regulatory authorities in the countries the vessel is visiting. The company entered into a contract with Fednav of Montreal Canada to design and manufacture a system capable of treating ballast flow rates in excess of 1,400 cubic meters per hour. The system had to be capable of continually dosing the ballast water at rates that would make all ANS present in the water dead or non-viable.
Fednav has recently completed an extensive new building programme with most of the new vessels trading in or around the Great Lakes and United States waterways. It was decided that the Biomatic system once developed would be fitted to one of Fednav’s Oshima class vessels for testing. The system comprises of a treatment tank and a state of the art solid-state control system. The control elements are capable of providing sufficient copper ions to render most if not all ANS non-viable in any type of water environment. The dosing levels are indicated on the panel so that the levels can be recorded at all times and be made available to regulatory authorities if necessary.