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Namibia: Namdock brings ballast water treatment systems on board for international shipping sector

Namdock, an established ship repair company strategically located on the west coast of Africa
in Walvis Bay, Namibia, is leading the industry with the provision of a ballast water treatment
system installation service.

This ensures that offshore support and other vessels docking for repairs by Namdock are also
able to comply with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) requirements for ballast
water management and treatment.

This is according to Claus Zeilinger, Assistant Technical Superintendent of Carpentry and
Electrical at Namdock.

“We have led the ship repair market on the West coast of Africa in the installation of ballast
water treatment systems since last year, when we obtained certification to install Bio Sea ballast
water treatment systems on board our clients’ vessels,” Zeilinger advises.

Namdock has since successfully installed two of these systems on one of its long-term clients’
offshore support vessels.

“We have also recently completed the complex installation of an ESMA ballast water treatment
system in a heavy fuel tanker which docked in Walvis Bay. This was a major and very
interesting project, which saw an inter-disciplinary team of fifty people working around the clock
to pull off the project. This was successfully completed in just three weeks,” he adds.

The installation of ballast water treatment systems is part of Namdock’s integrated ship repair
offering: “We perform the full spectrum of ship repairs, from metal work and fabrication – which
involves physical plate installations – to piping and electrical installation. Our integrated vessel
repair disciplines, capabilities and functions therefore go hand-in-hand with the installation of
ballast water treatment systems,” Zeilinger explains.

At this stage, Namdock undertakes work on the piping, valves and electrical installation of the
ballast water treatment system. Their certified installation team commissions the system, and
then trains the client’s staff on board the vessel in the operation thereof.

Internationally-compliant certification
Zeilinger explains that Namdock installs systems which have been certified for ballast water
treatment on vessels in port by the IMO: “Our task is to determine the best possible position for
the system on the vessel in question, and ensure that it operates as it is intended to.”

Zeilinger and two of his team members completed training in the installation and commissioning
of the Bio Sea system in France last year.

“One of the main benefits of this system is that it treats the ballast water through ultra-violet
(UV) radiation. It is therefore completely safe to use, contains no harmful chemicals and the
installation is simple. These factors make it one of the best systems to use worldwide,” he

Namdock has presented its recently-completed ballast water treatment system installations to
maritime class surveyors, who verified that they were satisfied with the way in which the
systems were operating. The installations were done on vessels which had docked at Port of
Walvis Bay for their two or five year classification surveys.

‘Buoying up’ ballast water treatment
Vessels which take in seawater have until 2024 to comply with the International Convention for
the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (Ballast Water
Management Convention) which aims to prevent the spread of harmful aquatic organisms from
one region to another by establishing standards and procedures for the management and
control of ships' ballast water and sediments, and stop damage to the sea and marine
environment from ballast water discharge.
According to the rules of the Convention, all vessels in international waters are required to
manage their ballast water and sediments to a certain standard, according to a vessel-specific
ballast water management plan.
“We are likely to see a growing number of vessels calling at the port and docking with Namdock
for the installation of ballast water treatment systems as we move closer to the 2024 deadline,”
Zeilinger observes.

Zeilinger explains that ballasting is the process whereby seawater is pumped into the vessel to
balance and submerge it deeper into the water, in order to have a more comfortable and stable
sail. Seawater in different oceans differs in salinity, as well as in the concentration thereof, and
in the species of bacteria and other marine micro-organisms present. Ballast water therefore
needs to be treated to destroy any bacteria, viruses and micro-organisms it contains – to
prevent the pollution of seawater and marine ecosystem accordingly.

Namdock’s services relating to ballast water treatment systems will also benefit the local
Namibian maritime environment, as the ballast water deposited by vessels docking at the port
will not contain foreign viruses or bacteria which could harm the country’s beautiful beaches and

Growing demand for system installations
While the installation of ballast water treatment systems is a fairly recent service offered by
Namdock to its clients, it is growing steadily. In line with this the project growth trajectory
thereof, the company is currently busy with the installation of another two Bio Sea systems, and
also stocks equipment spares for the system, if required.

“The Namdock installation team is also ready to install the Bio Sea systems at ports in our
neighbouring sub-Saharan African countries – such as in South Africa. We are looking to supply
technical expertise and support relating to the systems wherever our clients’ vessels are
situated,” says Zeilinger.

“Namdock has a competitive advantage in supplying services pertaining to ballast water
treatment systems, as we took the initiative to introduce this installation service in the region.

“As such, we are set to become the preferred ballast water treatment system installers within in
the next two years, as experienced suppliers have a competitive advantage. Our main aim with
the introduction of this service offering is to assist our valued maritime clients in meeting the
international maritime compliance requirements in this regard; and also to provide them with the
reliable service, quality and excellence they have come to associate with Namdock over the
years,” Zeilinger concludes.

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