U Maryland stopping certification tests of ballast water systems

University of Maryland is withdrawing from certifying tests of ballast water systems because as currently framed the tests are allowing clearly viable organisms to remain in certified systems. They will retain their interest and research in ballast water.


The path from the 2001 AFS convention (no more “harmful” coatings”) TO the 2004 BWM convention TO the 2011 guidelines for controlling ships biofouling to minimize transfer of invasive aquatic species…has a certain radius and is of a jerky nature, if you get my drift.

Of course this is a serious problem. All the more reason there should be a serious response and given the nature of shipping, a uniform one. International, national and within some nations individual states or provinces can and do impose varying standards.

I’m pretty much for doing any and everything to minimize shippings impact on the environment but it seems recent trends take irrational forms. Zero tolerance, eliminate this or that, redundant reporting. These quick and dirty things can have the effect of making liars of the operators with marginal improvements to the environment or steering the effort in unwise long term direction.

In this case if the standard seems too loose to U Maryland, argue for stricter ones but continue the work of certifying so there is at least a reduction in invasive species transfers. Let the technology and procedures improve and the results as well. Certifying that a system does what it says and that it meets the current adopted standards hardly seems a scandal.

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I have to wonder what happens when a system that is installed no longer meets the requirements? I really would be surprised if there is any “grandfathering” as that would really cut into the sales of the new and improved systems.

Well think about it. They handle these on “type approved” basis. So if you got one and operate and maintain it “according to the makers requirements” it is assumed to be working correctly. Unlike with an OWS and the OCM to alarm or shut unit down for high oil content, there is no insitu montitor or measurements taking place.

If the requirements were to change on the treated ballast water quality going overboard and the maker retested his unit for the type approval authority and demonstrated it met the new limits, they could probably just have that authority issue an updated type approval.

If they could meet it with some modification and assuming no grandfathering allowed as you suggest, they could sell you a “kit” to add on before you get the new type approval certificate. Still some money to be made that way.

Looks like the UV reactor on our unit has extra spaces for more lamps, so I guess they could add more of those (and power supplies) and really scramble some DNA in those critters.