From early April ships visiting the Port of Falmouth will
be able to use a brand new service to receive and recycle oil slops, thanks to a joint venture between ship-repair and conversion specialist A&P Falmouth and marine oil terminal operators, Falmouth Oil Services (FOS).
The new facility is set to boost trade in the port, providing a valuable service to ships using the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel as well as facilitating faster turnaround on vessels in dry dock which require tank emptying and washout before entering the port. At the moment ships requiring similar facilities have to go to Rotterdam or Le Havre, but this new venture effectively makes Falmouth a ‘one-stop’ port for shipping.
Work to convert an existing oil storage tank is currently underway with modifications to include the installation of carbon filter units to eliminate vapours emitted from the recycling process.
Once operational, slops will be processed at the facility to separate the water from the spent oil, which once reduced in bulk, can be recycled.
International legislation regarding the prevention of pollution from ships is provided by the MARPOL treaty which was established over 20 years ago to regulate and decrease marine pollution by the worlds shipping.
Under the MARPOL treaty ships are prevented from discharging the residues from their cargo tank washings or spent products from their engine room bilge pumps. With tankers needing to clean the inside of their tanks before switching to different cargoes of fuel, vast quantities of oily water are produced, ranging from a few tonnes with smaller ships up to hundreds of tonnes from large tankers.
By offering the service at Falmouth, the Port will be able to handle all MARPOL Annex 1 oils, which includes crude oil and gasoline which are classed as low flash slops, meaning that vapour from the oil can ignite, even at low temperatures.
Falmouth is the largest, deepest natural harbour in the northern hemisphere and is close to some of the worlds busiest shipping lanes. It has been estimated that half the world’s shipping passes within 40 miles of the port every year.The new service will not only increase business for Falmouth Oil Services but it will also make Falmouth more attractive for ship repair contacts.
David Daniel, A&P Falmouth's Commercial Director, described the benefits that the new facility will
bring to the port: "Currently vessels carrying high flash slops need to discharge their slop tanks before they can come to us for any dry-dock work. With other appropriate facilities so far away we have in the past lost work because it is easier and more time and cost effective for ship owners to have work carried out close to where their slops are discharged.
"With all ships needing to discharge their slops at some point we are delighted that soon we will be able to meet demand by offering the service in Falmouth, hopefully helping us to safeguard existing contacts and even attract new work."
Christopher Walters, Managing Director of Falmouth Oil Services added
: "This new facility is part of a growing range of services offered by FOS and the port of Falmouth, and is likely to have spin-offs for other local businesses by attracting more ships to the port."
Slops can be discharged either alongside or in the sheltered inner harbour anchorage or, for larger vessels, in the Falmouth Bay anchorage where there are no draft restrictions.