The issue of the potential for in-tank organism regrowth after ballast water treatment was raised with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim during last week's Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting in London (MEPC 69).
Equipment manufacturer Coldharbour International wrote a letter to Lim, others attending the meeting and media, highlighting "an invisible threat to the smooth operation of numerous vessels post Ballast Water Management Convention ratification. A threat that has not been given the attention it deserves."
While thousands of ships can have ballast journeys of over a week, the Convention's current testing protocols only require water is held for five days to check system efficacy. The U.S. Coast Guard's equivalent testing protocol for type approval only calls for a holding time of one day, states the letter.
Regenerated organisms, at higher levels than those set by the Convention could therefore be discharged into new ecosystems despite the proper use of a lot of the presently approved ballast water treatment systems.
"The industry must become officially aware of the extent to which the smooth operation of tonnage will be affected so that remedial solutions can be found in time, where necessary," said Panos Smyroglou, Chief Commercial Officer of Coldharbour International.