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Yacht sector concerned about Ballast water rules

A BIO-SEA system has been retrofitted to a 37m yacht.

France-based water treatment specialist BIO-UV Group is advising yacht owners and crews to ensure their vessels are compliant with the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention and USCG regulation.

Yachts less than 50m in length are often considered recreational craft and exempt from the regulations. However, despite their size, some smaller vessels are over 400gt and have a ballast water capacity greater than 8m3. This means they must comply with the requirements set out in the BWM Convention.

Maxime Dedeurwaerder, Area Sales Manager for BIO-SEA, the group’s ballast water treatment system, said: “There are certainly yachts currently in operation that need to install a ballast water treatment system to comply with the rules. Owners and operators could be in for a shock if their yachts are found to be in breach of the Convention.”

A 37m luxury yacht was nearing completion at an Italian shipyard when BIO-UV Group was contracted to retrofit a BIO-SEA water system to the newbuild. As the vessel was under 50m, ballast water treatment had not been considered at the design stage, even though ballast water capacity exceeded 8m3.

“Thankfully, we manufacture the world’s most compact ballast water treatment system,” said Dedeurwaerder, “so installation in machinery rooms where space is limited is not an issue for us. We have short lead times and can deliver a complete system to builders within a matter of weeks.”

For a maximum flow rate of 30m3/h, a BIO-SEA Low-Flow L01-0030 system was supplied in September 2020. The modular unit was fitted shortly ahead of final delivery in January to an undisclosed owner.

To date, BIO-UV Group has supplied the IMO- and USCG-approved BIO-SEA for installation to nine newbuild and ten retrofit yacht projects, with the company fielding more new enquiries last year.

“We’ve received ten enquires already this year,” said Dedeurwaerder, adding: “There is an element of confusion as the yacht sector is not fully au fait with the rules.

“We do recommend stakeholders to refer to their classification societies in order to clarify their vessels’ status. We can supply systems specifically developed for the luxury yacht sector.”

The Ballast Water Management Convention entered into force in September 2017 and applies to all vessels that take up and use ballast water on international voyages.

With flow rates ranging from 10m3/h to 120m3/h, the Low-Flow BIO-SEA range is supplied as either a loose components or skid system and can be available with CuNiFe pipework for enhanced corrosion protection and in a range of gloss finishes. A drip tray, 7in or 15in auxiliary touch screens to operate the system remotely are additional options.

Xavier Deval, Business Development Manager, BIO-SEA, said: “We have enhanced the system specifically to meet yacht sector requirements. In addition to its size and ease-of-use, the BIO-SEA L range negates the need for an additional power cabinet. We have also been able to reduce the number, the size and length of UV lamps without impacting treatment performance.”

The BIO-SEA system retrofitted to the 37m yacht was successfully commissioned by a certified service engineer in January. The vessel is now operating in full compliance with IMO BWM Convention and USCG regulation.

BIO-UV Group has larger capacity units available for vessels with flow rates from 100 to 2000m3/h, typically only one UV lamp/reactor is required for a low flow rate of up to 30m3/h.

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