The IMO G8 guidelines define the type approval process for ballast water treatment systems under IMO legislation. Originally defined in 2005, they underwent a critical revision in 2016. That revision enters into force on 28 October 2020.
The revised G8 guidelines, also referred to as the BWMS Code, are robust and more in line with today’s U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) requirements. They were developed because some ballast water treatment systems approved according to the original G8 guidelines may fail to meet the IMO D-2 performance standard in practice.
The push for the revised G8 guidelines was driven partly by customer organizations like the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The intent was to make sure that investments in ballast water treatment will meet discharge requirements – instead of merely adding hardware.
The deadline to comply with the IMO revised G8 guidelines has come. For vessels with international trade, the rules have important consequences when it comes to new ballast water treatment systems.
The IMO legislation, which applies in over 90% of world ports, makes the following clear for ballast water treatment systems (BWTS):
Alfa Laval PureBallast 3 was the very first ballast water treatment solution with IMO revised G8 approval. Providing compliance without limiting vessel operations has always been the focus for Alfa Laval, so it was a high priority to be ready before the IMO revised G8 implementation date.
Tests with marine, brackish and fresh water were completed under the new IMO G8 regime in Q3 2017. PureBallast 3 received its updated certificate in February 2018 – with no changes to its hardware or power consumption. It continues to provide the market-leading performance that Alfa Laval customers have long appreciated.
Here are answers to some to common questions regarding the type approval of PureBallast 3 according to the IMO revised G8 guidelines.
Two additional land-based tests of biological efficacy, performed without holding time, had to be conducted in each water salinity. The component environmental tests are more in line with the requirements of U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). This means that the requirements are more stringent compared to the original 2008 G8 requirements.
No new hardware has been added, but a conductivity sensor is integrated to the flow meter to determine which salinity the system is being operated in. For operation in fresh water, a flow control function has been included, which allows reduced flow in challenging waters in order to meet UVT limits.
It is not necessary to upgrade. IMO has issued a resolution stating that vessels which have installed legacy systems should not be penalized.
Although the new rules entered into force on 28 October 2020, there are still ballast water treatment systems without IMO revised G8 type approval. Suppliers may say that a certificate is pending, but there is no guarantee of success in the more robust IMO revised G8 type approval procedure. If performance changes are needed to meet the new parameters, for example with regard to holding time, the system that is finally approved might no longer match a specific vessel’s needs and trade route. If nothing else, the process can take considerable time.
By choosing a system that has IMO revised G8 type approval today, you avoid the risk of a system that cannot be used when the time comes to install it.