The NSF International independent laboratory (IL), the first designated by the US Coast Guard (USCG) to test ballast water management systems (BWMS) for US type approval, will now include the American Bureau of Shipping’s (ABS) expertise. ABS will complete design/construction and documentation reviews as part of the type approval, and will work with three other IL partners to maximize the value of USCG type approval testing for BWMS manufacturers. ABS will also evaluate the appropriateness of the systems for installation and operation onboard vessels.
NSF’s IL partnership, formed in 2012, includes Retlif Testing Laboratories, the Great Ships Initiative, the Maritime Environmental Resource Center and now ABS. The combined IL evaluates and tests technologies designed to treat ballast water on ships to meet the USCG requirements. Importantly, USCG approval of onboard BWMS is required for vessels entering and discharging treated ballast water in US waters to prevent the spread of non-native aquatic species in lakes, rivers and coastal waters.
ABS is a not-for-profit organization that operates as a classification society. Classification societies verify that marine vessels and offshore structures comply with rules that the society has developed to assess the design and construction of new vessels, as well as the integrity of existing vessels. The inclusion of ABS in the IL partnership brings an additional layer of credibility and experience to the program.
BWMS manufacturers apply to NSF International and the USCG for testing, review and evaluation in anticipation of compliance and type approval by the USCG. NSF coordinates testing among all partner organizations, including preparation of test plans, review of test data (technical and quality assurance) and preparation of the final report for submittal to the USCG. Experienced ABS staff will evaluate BWMS material design and construction for compliance with USCG regulations and for appropriateness for installation and operation onboard operating vessels. In the same manner, ABS will evaluate the content of the BWMS operation, maintenance and safety manual.
NSF International has provided support to the USCG for more than 30 years in various testing capacities and managed the US EPA Environmental Technology Verification Program’s Water Quality Protection Center (WQPC) for more than 15 years. The WQPC, with valuable contributions from many ballast water treatment stakeholders, developed the protocols used for this BWMS testing.
NSF International sustainability division general manager Tom Bruursema said: "Over the past 13 years, we have worked with the USCG, the US Environmental Protection Agency and other very experienced and industry-leading organizations to develop this protocol. We appreciate the USCG acceptance of ABS into the NSF International IL to further strengthen the BWMS testing and evaluation process. The addition of ABS brings immense maritime experience and expertise to the IL, which will benefit our BWMS manufacturer customers."
ABS director of environmental programs Tom Kirk said: "ABS is enthusiastic about our partnership with the NSF International IL. The combined capabilities of the members are without parallel in the maritime testing and certification field. We expect our participation to provide additional technical credibility to results submitted to USCG, improving the likelihood of acceptance."