DECEMBER 5, 2018 — A number of shipowners, including two cruise ship operators, have changed their choice of UV ballast water treatment systems from those they originally specified to another UV technology: Alfa Laval PureBallast 3. A key factor? The need for USCG type approval.
"We increasingly see owners with second thoughts about other UV solutions, even after those systems have been ordered," says Anders Lindmark, Head of Alfa Laval PureBallast. "Customers want the peace of mind that PureBallast 3 offers, especially if they sail in United States waters."
PureBallast 3 is type approved by both IMO and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG). Lack of USCG type approval was a decisive factor behind both MSC Cruises and Regent Seven Seas modifying recent newbuilding orders.
In an order for two newbuild vessels, MSC Cruises switched to PureBallast 3 Compact systems, which are delivered ready-assembled as skid-mounted modules. Each system will handle a flow of 170 cu.m/h.
"After a retrofit project and installation on board our managed vessels, we have positive feedback from our crew about the simplicity of the installation and the very user-friendly system," says Raffaele Pollio, Vice President Engine Operations at MSC Cruise Management Limited. "In addition, the USCG certification is what we really need, considering our vessels' trading areas."
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has also modified orders for two newbuilds. The company will now install PureBallast 3 Compact Flex systems for 500 cu.m/h each, delivered as loose components.
"USCG type approval is an important part of the technical specification," says Paolo Mele, SVP Technical Operations at Regent Seven Seas Cruises. "We have positive experience with Alfa Laval from retrofits in previous years, and Alfa Laval's offer was competitive for the shipyard."
According to Lindmark, USCG type approval is one of many reasons why customers are moving to PureBallast 3 from other UV treatment solutions.
"If a system lacks USCG type approval, it limits the vessel's freedom of movement," he says. "But the same is true if it has poor filter performance, which can handicap the vessel in muddier waters. Many shipowners have experienced clogging with other systems, so they see an advantage in PureBallast 3, which has a high-end filter with enhanced cleaning capabilities."
Switching to PureBallast 3 from other UV systems is generally easy, he adds, because its optimized design simplifies integration and installation. "The flexibility of PureBallast 3 minimizes the need for vessel modifications, and even maintenance space is well accounted for," he says. "That ensures both installation ease and later accessibility."
Even more important for many customers is the access to service resources, which Alfa Laval provides through its own network – rather than through agents. "When customers choose PureBallast 3, they can rely on a complete global service organization, staffed by trained Alfa Laval service personnel," says Lindmark. "They don't have to turn to third parties, who may lack the insight, experience or reach to secure compliance. As the importance of long-term partnership grows more evident, that in itself can be a reason for switching to Alfa Laval."