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Dr Brian Phillips outlined that sovereign states and port authorities are taking clear steps towards ensuring compliance with International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations for ballast water

by Ellen Keegan | Sunday 28 January 2018

CTG Managing Director Dr Brian Phillips
Although IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee decided last July to delay installation dates for ballast water management systems by another two years, compliance with the convention’s D-1 standard – achieved by carrying out ballast water exchange – was not affected.

Because of this Brian warned “The floodgates are opening. Regardless of IMO’s delay, concerned parties, including port authorities, around the world are stating that it is a good thing to get on and test ballast water for compliance.”

The UK-based company, which manufactures ballast water testing kits, has over 50 years' experience monitoring phytoplankton and the ocean and responded to a call from the US Coast Guard to develop a method for measuring very low concentrations of phytoplankton cells to test if ballast water management systems on board ships are working effectively.

As a result, CTG’s FastBallast Compliance Monitor was developed and is able to determine the phytoplankton cell density of ballast water at the IMO D-2 discharge standard (10 to 50 µm range) that is defined for treatment systems. The kit can be used on board to test compliance and is said to have accuracy rivalling sample analysis in a shore-based laboratory.

From August 2017 all ships calling at Saudi Aramco ports are required to provide ballast water samples for test and it has selected some portable testing equipment to check those samples. Among them is FastBallast, which CTG has said is being used as the benchmark monitoring device and to conduct spot checks on indicative sampling undertaken by third-party sampling companies.

Other countries, including China and the USA, are currently evaluating FastBallast for possible inclusion in future programmes of ballast water compliance testing. Dr Phillips added “There could be a huge impact for shipowners if many other countries follow Saudi Aramco’s lead and instigate a ballast water compliance testing programme.”

He summed up “Sovereign states are taking a stance that even though IMO are granting extra time, they wish to know now that ballast water discharge in their regions is safe. Speaking as an environmentalist, this can only be a good thing. It’s a wake-up call for shipping globally.”


Justin Dunning
Chelsea Technologies Group Ltd
+44 20 8481 9000

Sunday 28 January 2018 / file under Environmental | Marine