by Tina Olivero

    BWTS Service & Support is ‘A Vital Factor’ for Reliable Ship Operations

    “Service is the lifeblood of the ballast water treatment sector and is vital to keep ships running,” says Optimarin´s Vice President of Services Arild Stølen.

    Having a well-functioning ballast water treatment system (BWTS) installed onboard has now become a hot issue after commissioning testing became mandatory from 1 June this year under IMO rules.

    Such testing, which requires ballast water sampling at the discharge line after treatment by the system to ensure these meet the so-called D-2 standard, is necessary to obtain an International Ballast Water Management Certificate.

    And this document will essentially be a license to operate once the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention takes effect from September 2024, according to Stølen.

    Furthermore, testing is also mandatory with an additional commissioning survey after a change, replacement, or significant repair of the BWTS to achieve full compliance with the D-2 standard.

    Non-compliance risk

    “It is one thing to have a compliant system installed and quite another to have it functioning properly wherever a ship is ballasting, also in ports with variable water quality,” Stølen says.

    “To date, few ships have been operating their BWTSs on a regular basis over time. As a result, a system might not be functioning properly or as intended for several reasons, which can result in non-compliance.”

    So what are the key factors to mitigate the risk of non-compliance and ensure maximum BWTS uptime to minimize costly disruption and delays at ports? “It is all about the reliability of the system and consistent support through a global service network,” he explains.

    Norwegian ballast water treatment specialist Optimarin, a pioneer in this sector with around 1400 systems sold to date worldwide, has recognized this need by establishing a global network of service partners with dedicated BWTS-trained engineers specializing in the maintenance of its systems.

    Global service network

    This service network truly spans the globe with locations in the US, Brazil, the UK, Norway, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Romania, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.

    In addition, the company has training centers in Norway, Manila, and Mumbai with a full-scale BWTS as part of the Optimarin Academy for the purpose of crew training to ensure the system is run safely and efficiently onboard.

    Specialist certified engineers are readily available to provide round-the-clock support for Optimarin clients wherever a ship is located and whenever help is needed.

    This underpins the company’s service-minded approach and good communication with clients which means 24/7 availability to provide a fast response, combined with a comprehensive warranty program that gives the client peace of mind throughout the BWTS lifecycle.

    Rapid parts delivery

    Optimarin has a centralized service center at the head office in Stavanger, Norway that is in regular dialogue with customers to provide aftersales support.

    The center manages the global distribution of spare parts, with satellite warehouses at several locations outside Norway to enable shorter response time for parts shipments, and coordinates service and commissioning jobs to be carried out by Optimarin engineers around the world.

    The so-called Optimarin Ballast System is based on a simple and reliable design with few movable parts and a self-cleaning UV chamber combined with automatic back-flushing filters, thus requiring minimal maintenance and ensuring operational reliability.

    The system uses standardized components for all flow configurations and all UV spare parts can be used for any system capacity, which allows simple procurement and logistics, especially for operators of large fleets, with easy access to replacement parts such as UV lamps and filter elements.

    Furthermore, the modular design of the component-based system makes it highly configurable and flexible for different vessel layouts and facilitates ease of installation onboard.

    Digitalized support

    Optimarin has recently enhanced its service offering with OptiLink™, a digital cloud-based solution for monitoring and management of the BWTS that enables remote 24/7 support and over-the-air software updates to keep the system working efficiently.

    “A service is no longer an option with a BWTS but an essential factor to keep your fleet compliant and on track. You will not be able to operate efficiently without it,” Stølen concludes.

    Tina Olivero

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