Wilhelmsen Technical Solutions has withdrawn its ballast water treatment system from the market, becoming the second system pulled since manufacturers began to secure type approvals to put their systems on ships.
The division of the maritime services company owned by Oslo-based shipowner Wilh. Wilhelmsen said it withdrew the technology after tests revealed that the system was not fit for the market, even though the product had been endorsed and issued with a type approval certificate to show that it met ballast water convention requirements.
WTS had already sold and installed at least eight systems on board vessels, having boasted about its efficient and compact design. “We acknowledge the potential impact for our customers and others affected by this decision,” says WTS president Petter Traaholt.
“The verification programme showed that the system at this stage of development will not, in our opinion, provide our customers with an effective, fully compliant solution for the varied and dynamic water conditions encountered by a vessel engaged in global trade.”
WTS bought the technology concept from a South African developer, Resource Technologies, which has placed itself under business rescue in South Africa.
WTS is assessing its options and has yet to decide whether it will remain in the ballast water technology market.
In 2010, German waste water technology firm Hamann was forced to pull its ballast water treatment system from the market, despite having also gained the necessary approvals from the International Maritime Organization and a flag state authority stating the system design would meet the criteria for killing off organisms in ships’ ballast water.
In the case of Hamann it was revealed that Peraclean, the system’s active substance, could still be active when ballast water was discharged into the sea, creating an environmental risk.
Experts have told Lloyd’s List that owners must be aware that even though a system holds a type approval certificate, the paper becomes meaningless if the system fails to work on board.