Anyone working within the maritime industry is always considering the ongoing challenges of regulatory compliance. As regulations around vessel standards are upgraded frequently, emissions targets, flag state safety rules, port requirements all require continual consideration to ensure ongoing compliance to new standards. When it comes to ballast water regulations, these difficulties can be even more pronounced.
The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Ballast Water Management Convention is intended to prevent invasive species being introduced to new ecosystems in ballast water discharge. The responsibility for adhering to the convention lies with ship owners and operators and if they fail to do so, they may be subject to a fine or even confined to port until proper compliance can be demonstrated.
Avoiding such sanctions requires advance planning and continuous vigilance, to ensure the appropriate systems are fitted on time and are operating in line with current regulatory requirements.
As one of the world’s leading maritime distributors, we estimate that more than 15,000 ballast water treatment system (BWTS) installations remain outstanding – a considerable portion of the global fleet! As owners and operators rush to obtain the required marine valves, actuated valves, pipes and fittings, there is a risk of becoming trapped in a bottleneck, where necessary ship parts cannot be sourced on short notice.
Image: W&O Supply's European Warehouse
The regulatory landscape of ballast water treatment drives the need for fit-for-purpose pipes, valves and fittings that ensure effectual operation and maintenance. Yet, the appropriate parts may be difficult to identify, to a non-specialised project leader. These factors can often lead to incorrect or unreliable parts being ordered on an ad-hoc basis, in turn producing non-compliant or otherwise redundant assets and spiralling costs.
It is not uncommon for unsuitable parts to be ordered hastily at a low-cost from local or unreliable suppliers, and on an ad hoc as needed basis. Not only does this make the equipment more costly, in doing this, ship owners and operators risk buying improper equipment and ending up with non-compliant assets, unused pipe, valves, and fittings. A reliable supplier will have experience in the retrofit market and with a large marine valve stock should be able to offer packages of essential products to minimise such problems.
Access to experience and expertise in ship parts, reliable suppliers, with experience in a retrofit market and a global network of supply warehouses are essential. A vital supply agreement can aid yards in pitching and completing the backlog of conversions, and combat the demand by ship owners and charterers.
Alongside marine pipe and valve service and supply, a supply agreement can also include access to design and installation teams, and on-board pre-drydock ship checks from any of our global contact points.
For more information on W&O’s global network, please click here.