Namdock brings ballast water treatment systems on board for international shipping sector

Namdock, an established ship repair company strategically located on the west coast of Africa in Walvis Bay, Namibia, is leading the industry with the provision of a ballast water treatment system installation service.

This ensures that offshore support and other vessels docking for repairs by Namdock are also able to comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) requirements for ballast water management and treatment.

This is according to Claus Zeilinger, Assistant Technical Superintendent of Carpentry and Electrical at Namdock.

“We have led the ship repair market on the West coast of Africa in the installation of ballast water treatment systems since last year, when we obtained certification to install Bio Sea ballast water treatment systems on board our clients’ vessels,” Zeilinger advises.

Namdock has since successfully installed two of these systems on one of its long-term clients’ offshore support vessels.

“We have also recently completed the complex installation of an ESMA ballast water treatment system in a heavy fuel tanker which docked in Walvis Bay. This was a major and very interesting project, which saw an inter-disciplinary team of fifty people working around the clock to pull off the project. This was successfully completed in just three weeks,” he adds.

The installation of ballast water treatment systems is part of Namdock’s integrated ship repair offering: “We perform the full spectrum of ship repairs, from metal work and fabrication – which involves physical plate installations – to piping and electrical installation. Our integrated vessel repair disciplines, capabilities and functions therefore go hand-in-hand with the installation of ballast water treatment systems,” Zeilinger explains.

At this stage, Namdock undertakes work on the piping, valves and electrical installation of the ballast water treatment system. Their certified installation team commissions the system, and then trains the client’s staff on board the vessel in the operation thereof.

Internationally-compliant certification

Zeilinger explains that Namdock installs systems which have been certified for ballast water treatment on vessels in port by the IMO: “Our task is to determine the best possible position for the system on the vessel in question, and ensure that it operates as it is intended to.”

Zeilinger and two of his team members completed training in the installation and commissioning of the Bio Sea system in France last year.

“One of the main benefits of this system is that it treats the ballast water through ultra-violet (UV) radiation. It is therefore completely safe to use, contains no harmful chemicals and the installation is simple. These factors make it one of the best systems to use worldwide,” he enthuses.

Namdock has presented its recently-completed ballast water treatment system installations to maritime class surveyors, who verified that they were satisfied with the way in which the systems were operating. The installations were done on vessels which had docked at Port of Walvis Bay for their two or five year classification surveys.

‘Buoying up’ ballast water treatment

Vessels which take in seawater have until 2024 to comply with the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water Management Convention) which aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from one region to another by establishing standards and procedures for the management and control of ships’ ballast water and sediments, and stop damage to the sea and marine environment from ballast water discharge.

According to the rules of the Convention, all vessels in international waters are required to manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a vessel-specific ballast water management plan.

“We are likely to see a growing number of vessels calling at the port and docking with Namdock for the installation of ballast water treatment systems as we move closer to the 2024 deadline,” Zeilinger observes.

Zeilinger explains that ballasting is the process whereby seawater is pumped into the vessel to balance and submerge it deeper into the water, in order to have a more comfortable and stable sail. Seawater in different oceans differs in salinity, as well as in the concentration thereof, and in the species of bacteria and other marine micro-organisms present. Ballast water therefore needs to be treated to destroy any bacteria, viruses and micro-organisms it contains – to prevent the pollution of seawater and marine ecosystem accordingly.

Namdock’s services relating to ballast water treatment systems will also benefit the local Namibian maritime environment, as the ballast water deposited by vessels docking at the port will not contain foreign viruses or bacteria which could harm the country’s beautiful beaches and coastline.

Growing demand for system installations

While the installation of ballast water treatment systems is a fairly recent service offered by Namdock to its clients, it is growing steadily. In line with this the project growth trajectory thereof, the company is currently busy with the installation of another two Bio Sea systems, and also stocks equipment spares for the system, if required.

“The Namdock installation team is also ready to install the Bio Sea systems at ports in our neighbouring sub-Saharan African countries – such as in South Africa. We are looking to supply technical expertise and support relating to the systems wherever our clients’ vessels are situated,” says Zeilinger.

“Namdock has a competitive advantage in supplying services pertaining to ballast water treatment systems, as we took the initiative to introduce this installation service in the region.

“As such, we are set to become the preferred ballast water treatment system installers within in the next two years, as experienced suppliers have a competitive advantage. Our main aim with the introduction of this service offering is to assist our valued maritime clients in meeting the international maritime compliance requirements in this regard; and also to provide them with the reliable service, quality and excellence they have come to associate with Namdock over the years,” Zeilinger concludes.