Ballast water treatment

Today we want to go into a fundamental topic for the marine ecosystem: the treatment of ballast water.
Cruise ships, large tankers and cargo ships use this type of water to balance the weight and, consequently, be stable during the journey.

Let’s talk about this type of treatment because an adequate management is important to significantly reduce a potential environmental risk.

Let’s find out more about it.

What is ballast water

Ballast waters, are used to regulate the distribution and overall weight of the vessel.
In other words, it is the water stored in the ship’s hull in order to keep the vessel upright and in a safe and stable condition.

Additionally, it can also be used to increase cargo weight so that a ship can lower itself to pass under bridges and other structures.

When the ship reaches its destination, the hull is emptied and the ballast is released into the port water.

In the worst case scenario, when the ballast is released in the destination waters, it may happen that mixtures of foreign organisms are created which are potentially harmful to the marine ecosystem of the individual ports.

In fact, ships regularly unload and load ballast water when they dock in different places, coming into contact with maritime ecosystems in different geographical areas.

For this reason, in 2004 the International Maritime Organization (IMO) defined the rules for the management of ballast water in a convention.

How ballast water is managed

Arrived at this point, we understand how these waters are managed and what are the regulations governing them.

The Ballast Water Management Convention (BWMC), i.e. an ad hoc Convention which requires all ships to adopt a particular treatment of these waters.

The plan established by the BWMC must be specific to each vessel and must be included in the ship‘s operational documentation.

Furthermore, ports must guarantee the presence of appropriate treatment structures and devices for safe management, from the environmental point of view.

Thus, this system is divided into three phases:

  1. Cargo: During ballasting, the water is filtered to remove particles and organisms and, after being treated, is routed to the ship’s ballasting system.
  2. Disinfection treatment: the main and fundamental technologies used for this phase are UV irradiation and the dosage of chemical treatments with ozone or chlorine.
  3. Unloading: it is the process of emptying the hull of water. The unloading can take place in the open sea or within an area designated by the port state.

In any case, these operations must guarantee respect for the environment.

Tecniplant designs custom solutions for ballast water treatment

In TECNIPLANT we design and manufacture many machines and solutions for water treatment.
Specifically, within our product range there are flotation units that are ideal for this type of treatment.

These solutions, in fact, allow the continuous removal of oils and suspended solids from the water. Often, in fact, there may be residues of oil used by ships inside.

In the catalog we have two types of flotation units:

  • Air and Gas Induced Flotation Units (IAF/IGF)
  • Air and Dissolved Gas Flotation Units (DAF/DGF)

In general, our flotation systems can be designed both as stand alone systems and as combined systems with skids complete with ancillaries.

Tecniplant's certifications for Quality, Safety and Environmental protection

Over the years, TECNIPLANT has obtained and integrated three important certifications:

  • UNI EN ISO 9001-2015, on quality
  • UNI EN ISO 45001-2018, regarding occupational health and safety
  • UNI EN ISO 14001-2015, on the environmental management system

Contact us for more information on our water treatment solutions.

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