Wärtsilä Corporation and Trojan Technologies have signed an exclusive agreement to jointly develop, market, and distribute a ballast water treatment product for ships. The two companies will gain synergistic benefits from the combined strength of Wärtsilä's global reach and presence in the marine market, and from Trojan Technologies' leadership and experience in developing ultraviolet treatment solutions. The ballast water treatment product is presently in pre-production, with third-party validation to take place in late 2010. The innovative ballast water treatment product is expected to enter the market at the end of the year.
Changing regulations in the marine industry have driven the need for this new ballast water treatment product. In 2004, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the Global Ballast Water Convention, which mandated ballast water treatment. Ballast water is used to stabilize vessels when not fully loaded: water is taken in when a ship unloads cargo, and released when it is loaded again. Water that is taken in at one port is often released at another, which can result in the introduction of non-indigenous organisms into fragile ecosystems. Untreated ballast water has been an issue of serious public concern during recent years.
According to the Global Ballast Water Convention, all vessels built prior to 2009 will need to install a certified ballast water treatment (BWT) system by 2014 or 2016, depending on the ballast water capacity of the vessel. Since 2009, all new vessels are required to install a BWT system. For the convention to come into full force, it must be ratified by 30 countries representing 35 per cent of the global fleet's dead weight tonnage. Currently 21 countries representing 23 per cent of the world's dead weight tonnage have ratified, and full ratification is expected to occur in 2011.