aqua-tools train PSC inspectors in ballast water testing


Inspectors from Saudi Aramco’s Environmental Protection Department have been given guidance on how to verify that ships entering the Kingdom’s ports are discharging ballast waters in accordance with the D1 and D2 ballast water discharge standards.

While the Kingdom’s port state control authority has yet to confirm which class-approved ballast water testing system it will use to analyse the water, aqua-tools has revealed its has provided a series of training modules on how to use its B-QUA indicative test kit.

“All ships visiting Saudi Arabia’s ports and terminals from international waters have been required to provide samples and report on ballasting operations since 16 August, so we are delighted to have been invited to the Kingdom to ensure port state control inspectors have the knowledge and understanding required to quickly analyse the ballast water,” said aqua-tools CEO Marc Raymond.

“The ability to quickly sample, monitor and analyse ballast water is absolutely crucial in ensuring ships are not delayed and preventing port congestion and increasing additional cost.”

Following the Saudi training courses, aqua-tools’ management team travelled to the UAE to provide training to Inspectorate International Ltd and SGS Gulf Ltd. These organisations provide independent inspection, sampling and testing services from a network of laboratories around the world.

Raymond said: “We outlined the various techniques that can be used for monitoring the microbiological content of water and explained why indicative methodology is widely seen as the only viable solution for providing rapid and reliable results. 

“We are confident that the latest Adenosine Tri-phosphates (ATP) testing methodology, such as that intrinsic to our B-QUA test kit, will prove to be the optimum solution for quantifying and qualifying the efficiency of ballast water treatment systems in meeting international discharge standards.”

Raymond furthered that while there is a myriad of different technologies and techniques available for analysing ballast waters, there is concern that some may not be as effective as others, providing spurious readings and potentially resulting in costly litigation for shipowners.

According to a recent paper, A Shipboard Comparison of Analytic Methods for Ballast Water Compliance Monitoring, researchers found that while there are several indicative available for monitoring ballast water compliance monitoring, they differ in their sensitivity, robustness, output, costs, training requirements and processing time.

aqua-tools’ B-QUA test kit has been developed to monitor ≥50μm plankton, ≥10 to <50μm plankton and bacteria, since all three of these factions provide important information on the functioning of the ballast water treatment system. Non-compliance of the ≥50μm faction, for example, indicates a problem with the filtration unit of the treatment system, while non-compliance of the ≥10 to <50μm and bacteria factions indicate problems with the disinfection unit.

Raymond said: “The organisations we visited across the Middle East now have a much better understanding of some of the problems inspectors and owners will face during testing and a better idea of some of the solutions available.”