Eleven container vessels owned by Bernhard Schulte GmbH & Co. KG, based in Germany, are to be retrofitted with Wärtsilä Aquarius Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS). This is one of the largest single retrofit contracts thus far issued for BWMS solutions. The contract was signed in July.
“This significant order is a clear indication that the major ship owners are actively securing procurement for quality BWMS in anticipation of ratification of the IMO’s ballast water treaty. Wärtsilä has both experience and deep know-how in this field, and can offer reliability and long term support to ensure that customers have the optimal solution for their specific needs. We are grateful to our agents in Germany, Wilhelm Rump KG, for their valuable assistance in finalising this contract,” says Dr Joe Thomas, Director, Ballast Water Management Systems, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions.
According to Bernhard Schulte GmbH & Co, following the successful implementation of BWMS on the new buildings delivered since 2012, as well as two pilot retrofits on older tonnage, the company decided to proceed in a proactive manner for the fleet in operation. With 38 of the ships scheduled for BWMS retrofit over the next 5 years, the company deemed Wärtsilä to be a credible partner with the required capabilities and resources to support throughout the first portion of this sizeable project.
The eleven vessels to be retrofitted are managed by the affiliate Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement through its offices in Greece, Hong Kong, India and Singapore. All are container carriers and range in size from 2600 TEU to 5600 TEU. Delivery of the Wärtsilä systems will commence this year and will be completed in 2017. Wärtsilä and Bernhard Schulte have increased their cooperation in the recent years both in the retrofit and in the newbuilding project sectors.
The importance of BWMS
Shipping is an international business with vessels travelling to and from different parts of the world. The ballast water that ships need is, therefore, taken on and discharged as required to ensure that the ship remains a safe operating platform. Thus, the ballast water can be taken from a body of water in one part of the world and discharged in another. Carried with the water is inevitably a host of microscopic marine organisms and plants, which unfortunately do not all adapt easily to their new environment. Those that do survive, however, can thrive, attack, and harm the local species and environment. When scientists brought their concerns to the world stage, the focus resulted in the IMO (International Maritime Organization) introducing the 2004 Ballast Water Management Convention. In 2013, the USCG introduced VGP 2013 legislation relating to ships sailing in US waters.