The importance of ballast water testing
Sea vessels all over the world load their ballast tanks with surface water to optimize their stability, navigability and safety. For this an estimated annual volume of five to ten billion tons of water is moved over the globe. This ballast water is pumped into special ballast tanks, including the local sediment particles and an enormous variety of living planktonic organisms. When transported to other ecosystems there is a risk of severe damage to the receiving ecosystem and non-indigenous organisms developing into a plague. The problem of invasive species is considered to be one of the four major threats of the world’s oceans next to land-based marine pollution, over-exploitation of living marine resources and physical alteration and destruction of habitats.
Twelve years ago NIOZ started with the testing of ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) with the purpose of certification of testing procedures. Globally, NIOZ belongs to the most experienced leading facilities to develop these test activities. The ballast water research group of NIOZ developed numerous methods for the counting of different types of planktonic organisms during the past decennium. These methods form the basis for the tests required for the certification of BWT systems. Henk Brinkhuis, general director of NIOZ commented: “NIOZ is enthusiastic that its research activities have resulted in an operational technology and services that are now transferred in the form of a spin-out to a Dutch family owned company with global operational harbour activities. The company will benefit from the network and global presence of Control Union to distribute this know how on a global scale.”
USCG Type Approval
In May 2015 Control Union already announced that it was accepted as an Independent Laboratory (IL) by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). Control Union offers ballast water test services to clients who wish to have their BWT system certified under USCG Type Approval. The demand for these approved systems is high, due to strict legislation and regulation and the limited number of accepted laboratories. Evert Jan Tiktak, CEO of Control Union: “Control Union Water will benefit from the international inspection and certification network of Control Union. We are pleased that we can offer the technologies and test services developed by NIOZ to our existing and new customers.”
Control Union Water will also provide test services as per the request of the IMO-consortium, according the standards of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The IMO-consortium consists, next to Control Union and NIOZ, of IMARES, GoConsult, Dr. Matej David Consult and TNO.
NIOZ, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, is the National Oceanographic Institution of The Netherlands. The institute was founded in 1876 and is part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and employs approximately 310 people. The institute has two locations, one on the island of Texel at the border between the North Sea and the Wadden Sea, and one in Yerseke, the delta area in the southwest of The Netherlands. The mission of NIOZ is to gain and communicate scientific knowledge on seas and oceans for the understanding and sustainability of our planet and to facilitate and support marine research and education in The Netherlands and Europe.
NIOZ: Thomas de Greef T +31 (0) 222 369375
Control Union: Ron Winands T +31 (0) 223 685180