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The speaker explained that interest in the market for Ballast Water Treatment (BWT) systems was increasing, and coating suppliers were receiving questions about the systems from owners, shipyards, and BWT-system suppliers on a regular basis.
In many cases, coating suppliers were being asked to approve compatibility of their coatings with certain BWT systems.
To get approval, the equipment supplier must go through a multi-step test procedure involving GESAMP and BWWG approval of the environmental impact of the discharged water, the Flag State s approval of the system after land-based and sea-based trials, and, finally, the Flag State s issuance of a Type Approval Certificate (although the Flag State will normally use a classification society to verify and assure the quality of the test and data, and to issue the certificate).
Paint companies can only advise on compatibility at this stage because BWT is still an evolving technology, and there is limited in-service experience with the systems.
As part of the IMO approval process, the BWT equipment supplier has to carry out compatibility testing with coatings; however, what testing has actually been carried out and its results are not generally made known to the users (or paint companies).
In addition, the IMO test protocol for water treatment systems is not linked to the prescribed testing for an approved ballast tank coating, nor does it address the potential for surface degradation of the coating with time, which would be the main failure mode with oxygenating systems. Paint Industry View The coating industry s perspective was presented by Evert van Rietsachoten of PPG Marine Coatings, on behalf of the PSPC working group of the International Paint & Printing Ink Council (IPPIC).
IMO has addressed the problem of unwanted transport of water species.
The effect that the change could have on the tank coating will depend on the type of treatment system used.To understand the operation of these systems, and the exact conditions generated, requires specialist knowledge, which the paint manufacturers do not have.The speaker emphasized that the systems that work by chemical treatment are of most concern to the paint industry.However, the adoption of the treatment system could pose problems for the coatings applied in these tanks to protect against corrosion, causing breakdown and ultimately affecting the structural integrity of the vessel.The potential impact of water treatment systems on protective coating systems on ships was the subject of a one-day workshop, organized by Informa Maritime Events, in London (December 6, 2010).
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However, at this stage, all manufacturers can do is advise approval of BWT systems is in the hands of the Administration (Flag State, although normally delegated to the classification societies) in line with the IMO regulations.