Monaco-based dry bulk shipping company Safe Bulkers has agreed with Erma First, a Greece based company, to install a Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) across its fleet of 38 vessels.
The first installation of Erma First BWTS is expected to take place during the company’s next dry-docking scheduled for the first quarter of 2018. The installation of the system on all Safe Bulkers’ vessels and related capital expenditure is expected to be expanded over a period of five years, according to the shipping company’s dry-docking schedule.
“We decided to install in all our vessels Erma First BWTS, which is designed and produced in Greece, starting at an early stage which provides us with certain commercial and financial advantages, including availability of equipment, minimization of downtime, unrestricted worldwide trading in the following years and the financial benefits of a block order,” Loukas Barmparis, President of the company, said.
The shipping company added that it has worked intensively with Erma First over the previous months to optimize and adapt the system to the company’s vessels.
Erma First BWTS received the United States Coast Guard (the USCG) type-approval certificate in October 2017.
The Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention entered into force on September 8, 2017. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had adopted a similar regulation for ballast water treatment which became effective on January 1, 2016.
Under the rules of the IMO convention, all ships engaged in international trade are required to manage their ballast water so as to avoid the introduction of alien species into coastal areas, including exchanging their ballast water or treating it using an approved ballast water management system.
Initially, there will be two different standards, corresponding to these two options.
The D-1 standard requires ships to exchange their ballast water in open seas, away from coastal waters.
D-2 is a performance standard which specifies the maximum amount of viable organisms allowed to be discharged, including specified indicator microbes harmful to human health.
New ships must meet the D-2 standard from September 8 while existing ships must initially meet the D-1 standard.
Vessels built before September 8, 2017, are to comply with the D-2 standard at the first MARPOL IOPP renewal survey is completed.