Manufacturer Support is Critical to BWMS Regulatory Compliance
When choosing a ballast water management system, Ole Christian Schroder, Director of Environmental Compliance, Scorpio Group prioritized, “compliance, safety and reliability” as the key factors in his decision for their fleet of product tankers.
After experiencing many problematic issues and receiving little support in response from the ballast water management system (BWMS) manufacturers that were chosen and installed by shipyards or previous owners for some of their vessels, the Scorpio Group sought to take control of the system decision for the remainder of their tanker fleet.
According to Ole Christian Schroder, there were many factors under consideration when researching the Ecochlor system to retrofit their fleet. He noted, “the simplicity of the system was important. It [Ecochlor BWMS] is far easier to operate than UV, electrolyze or ozone with no limitations in fresh or turbid waters. Also, there is no need for TRO sensors, which has been one of the most frequent failures occurring in the systems on our vessels. Additionally, from our direct experience, the dominant suppliers are not necessarily the leaders in reliability and after-sales services.”
It is not surprising that in addition to reviewing BWMS capital expenses and operating limitations, shipowners are now adding the vendor’s long-term support of the equipment as a key factor in choosing a system.
Securing a manufacturer with strong service capabilities and crew support is of utmost importance for shipowners focused on compliance. Evon Li and William Burroughs at ABS wrote in their recent paper Evaluation of BWMS for Cost-Effective Compliance, “it is important to consider the sustainability of the vendor and life-cycle technical support that will likely be available after most ship retrofits are complete.” The authors further explained that the consequences of poor retrofit planning and installation can be costly and result in non-compliance with BWM regulatory standards adding to the likelihood of more frequent technical repair visits from the vendor.
Ballast Water Management System Compliance Guarantee
“At Ecochlor, we felt it was important to respond to the shipowner’s concerns over the industry’s overabundance of inoperable systems in the market. With penalties ranging from Port State detentions, delays in cargo operation, an owner’s reputation, and sometimes extended to commercial and/or financial losses there was a need to show shipowners that we stand by our product. The BWMS Compliance Guarantee, EcoCare™, was initiated to ensure our partnership in compliance with our clients. At no additional cost, the shipowner is guaranteed BWMS regulatory compliance for the life-cycle of the vessel, provided the system is operated properly,” said Steve Candito, CEO of Ecochlor.
When the BWMS is operated per Ecochlor’s specified guidelines, the EcoCare™ guarantee pledges the system will perform to the standards established by the IMO, USCG and individual U.S. states for regulatory compliance. This guarantee gives shipowners the assurance of the system’s efficacy as it pertains to treating ballast water for invasive species contamination and will insure them against any financial penalties up to $1,000,000 relating to fines, port charges, delays and off-hire should the system not meet the regulatory standard.
Service and Technical Support
In this service-centric guarantee, the Ecochlor service team engages in continuous communication with the vessel’s crew after each ballast operation. Operational data is sent to Ecochlor via the crew and includes important feedback that is incorporated into a weekly internal fleet update charting the vessel position, next port of call, last ballast operation, chemical tank levels, operational concerns, requested parts, and a preventative maintenance schedule.
The operational monitoring of every Ecochlor system installed on each vessel is an important factor in keeping every system fully operational. In the event BWMS operational issues arise, the service team maintains a 24/7 International Call Center and is available for troubleshooting directly with the crew.
“After the Ecochlor BWMS installation commissioning, each ship is assigned a “vessel delegate” who will make every effort to schedule a visit during their first full ballasting operation to allow for additional crew training in a less hectic environment. Although the operation of an Ecochlor system is very simple and intuitive, the extra time allows for training under more realistic ballasting conditions with the crew and, in some cases, new crewmembers. Attending the first ballast operation is an important step in training and provides the service team definitive confirmation that the system is running as intended as the vessel is returned into service,” said Max Hasson, Service Manager.
Ecochlor offers a range of options for training when new crewmembers join the vessel. An interactive computer-based training program is provided, with class DNV GL certification, that can be installed on the ship’s computer network. Through an interactive session of instruction, exercises and short quizzes the crew is walked through the basics in the safe operation and maintenance of an Ecochlor BWMS. Further training is offered through an HMI Simulator, allowing for the crew to be able to “troubleshoot” the system if it is not operating as expected.
“I have found that if the crew is well-trained and engaged in running the BWMS, then they are better prepared to assist us in any troubleshooting if issues occur with the system,” said Hasson. “Supporting the crewmembers with training is not only beneficial to the vessel’s continued operation, but also increases the likelihood that repairs can be made quickly and with minimal disruption to the ship’s schedule.”
Candito shared, “with more than 15 years in the industry, the Ecochlor service team has a long history of providing timely and expert support to our customers in keeping their BWMS in operation. The team engages in continuous communication with the vessel allowing for early notification and response to any equipment problems. To shipowners who have experienced difficulties in system performance, service and parts support, and crew training, this one-of-a-kind partnership with our customers offers them comfort in knowing that we are working together with them to achieve continued ballast water management regulatory compliance for their fleet.”
To download the Ecochlor / Shipowner Partnership Program and EcoCare™ Compliance Guarantee case study go to http://casestudy.ecochlor.com