Confident in the long term.
With the imminent entry into force of the IMO Ballast Water Convention, ship owners and operators are facing important and expensive decisions about which technology to select and who should supply and install it. Concerns range from basic worries about whether or not there will be enough material and competent engineering resource to satisfy demand, whether there will be sufficient yard capacity for retrofit installations, to concerns about the impact of the U.S. Court of Appeal ruling on USCG type approvals.
Andrew Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of Coldharbour Marine believes that whilst these concerns are reasonable, there are decisions that owners and operators can make which will protect their vessels both during the Ballast Water introductory period and the foreseeable future.
The International Maritime Organisations’ protocols, rather than forcing a rush to the wire, allow older ships, those built before 2012, to have Ballast Water Management Systems retrofitted during their next intermediate or special survey. This gives owners and operators time to do their homework, to identify and contract the right suppliers and time to ensure that all the detailed survey and planning work is properly complete before the dry docking - thus helping to minimise time and costs.
When seeking the best services for his fleet, the wise owner and operator, cognisant of the heavy investment they are making, should look for a long-term partner. As Andrew says, “When investing millions in new systems, operators want the comfort of knowing that, should things go wrong, they can access informed, expert engineering support even if their kit is out of guarantee. Operators need to be comfortable that third party installers have the understanding, training, skills and the equipment to diagnose faults and complete urgent repairs. There is a real risk that during any initial stampede to initial retrofit vessels, there will be casualties.”
Andrew Marshall has always believed that top quality engineering skills, coupled with a sound understanding of both customer’s needs together with top notch levels of service are the secrets of success and sustainability. Coldharbour Marine has therefore adopted the unusual business strategy of limiting the numbers of BWM sets it will install to 145 orders per annum. Andrew explains his thinking. “There will be 40- 50,000 vessels demanding BWMS retrofits which will create a huge pressure in the market. Buyers will be competing for hardware supply, yard space and for engineering support and some suppliers may find themselves making promises they will not be able to keep. We plan to be here for the long term so will focus on the particular needs of large tanker and bulk carrier owners who face particular problems. These ships carry 50,000 to 300,000 tonnes of water and require high, uninterrupted ballast water flow rates.. These vessels frequently undertake long voyages, well in excess of 7 – 10 days and will be ballasting in a wide variety of challenging water environments. It is clear that when faced with these massive challenges some of the available BWM systems will struggle to achieve the IMO/USCG water standards required at discharge. We offer an in-voyage in-tank approach, so avoid any issues such as delays at terminal due to system downtime and the possibility of organism re-growth at the end of even the longest ballast leg. We also support our customers with training and engineering facilities based both in our UK HQ and within agents facilities worldwide. We offer a 10 year service and warranty contract and by improving and continuously developing our product ranges we can guarantee that our systems are future proof. As and when the regulatory environment changes, (it can only get tougher in the future!) we have committed ourselves to supporting our customers’ long-term needs. We believe that this commitment, together with our policy of continuous product development gives our customers the confidence they need to select us as their preferred BWTS solution.”