In March 2012 the ‘Ballast Water Discharge Final Rule’ came into effect in the United States. The regulations began to require the installation of improved BWTS on board seagoing vessels from 2014. In conjunction with the Vessel General Permit (VGP) the discharge of untreated ballast water has already led to a number of prosecutions.
The introduction of ballast water regulation is an attempt to stop the proliferation of alien species in areas lacking their natural predators. Without the guarantee of effective predation, invasive species can wreak havoc on local ecosystems. Marine examples include the snakehead fish whose presence in US waters has decimated native food chains in cruising regions from Maine to California, and more recently the success of the Zebra Mussel in the Great Lakes. Locally the Mitten Crab (pictured below) has routed local species in the Thames River, London.
Flans Kemp, LR’s Global Business Development Leader for Type Approval, commented:
“For Ballast Water Treatment Systems equipment manufacturers, the challenge is in understanding the differences between the type approval regimes, and ensuring that their equipment has undergone all the necessary testing to obtain approval to meet the relevant regulations. LR can help manufacturers to understand the different regulatory regimes with differing requirements and streamline their testing and approval activities to minimise the time and costs involved in getting their technology to the market.”
LR has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ballast Water test facility at DHI Denmark and the electro/technical testing company DELTA. These test facilities, supported by LR’s surveyors and statutory experts will conduct testing as part of our collectively recognised IL.
For the superyacht industry it is important to note that these regulations are not only meant for commercial vessels. If a yacht has a length of around 50 metres-plus, and a ballast water capacity larger than eight cubic metres, it will be subject to the same regulations. A host of regulations for smaller vessels have also been introduced.