Ballast water treatment (BWT) system specialist Optimarin has successfully completed the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) environmental test and all land-based and shipboard testing for marine, brackish and fresh water. It is understood to be the first supplier of UV-based BWT technology to satisfy the USCG’s stringent CMFDA testing criteria – a development that it believes can be “a springboard for global success.”
Optimarin is a pioneer of the BWT segment, having specialised in environmentally friendly UV treatment technology for the past 22 years, installing the world’s first ever commercial system in 2000 on the cruise ship Princess Regal. Fuelled by its success with the USCG, the firm is currently enjoying its best year ever, with close to 100 systems ordered so far in 2016.
“The conclusion of the USCG approval testing marks an important evolutionary step for our business,” states CEO Tore Andersen, noting that full USCG type approval is now expected in Q3, once all necessary documentation has been completed.
“Our customers can now be assured that our system meets the most stringent regulatory standards in the world, giving them peace of mind for all global fleet operations now, and into the future.
“With the ratification of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management convention finally on the horizon – just a further 0.13% of global tonnage is required to bring it into force – our total compliance is a real strength. That, along with the fact our technology is market proven and simple to maintain, with no moving parts, puts us in pole position for a segment that is predicted to be worth in excess of USD 3 billion by 2023.”
Optimarin sees a potential market for its system of 25,000 ships worldwide, with Andersen believing that his team – in conjunction with global engineering partners Goltens and Zeppelin – can take “a very significant share” of the retrofit market.
“We know retrofit,” he stresses. “Of the approximately 500 systems we’ve sold over 100 have been retrofits. Our modular systems and expert engineering partners mean the solutions we offer are flexible and easy to install onto any ship, of any type. Shipowners appreciate this, laying the foundation for the growing number of framework fleet agreements we are now signing.”
Key orders so far this year include a 15 unit contract from VARD for Topaz, ten systems for Atlantis Tankers, a further ten for the Royal Netherlands Navy, nine systems for Sinopacific Shipbuilding Group, three for Saga Shipholding (adding to an additional 26 systems already installed on its fleet), two for Solvang ASA, and a frame agreement with Carisbrooke with the potential to encompass retrofits on 46 bulk and multipurpose vessels.
It is, Andersen concludes, a good time for the business.
“We’ve spent over two decades, and many millions of dollars, in our quest to develop the best, most compliant BWT technology on the market. That dedication is now paying off. We have an excellent orderbook, stable finances and management, and a very bright future ahead – with what we believe should be five to seven years of exponentially rising revenues.
“The imminent USCG approval is paving the way for us to make an even bigger impact on the global marketplace than we have to date. A surge of new BWT business is on the horizon, and we aim to take advantage of that – giving shipowners the technology, service and expertise they need for trouble-free, compliant worldwide operations.”
Optimarin’s Ballast System (OBS) is fully IMO compliant and certified by a comprehensive range of classification organisations, including DNV GL, Lloyd’s, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and American Bureau of Shipping.