Fighting Bio-invaders In the Deep Blue Sea

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Monday, February 13th, 2012
commercial ships travel

Thousands of commercial ships travel across the oceans carrying tons of commodities and goods all year round. Their to-do list must be topped with transportation safety.  And sailors must stay alert, carefully keeping their ship's checks and balances in shape all the time. For this, one of their important maneuvers is filling tanks with sea water, which sounds simple and easy, but is by no means a matter to overlook.  The purpose of this ballast is to help ships with stability, proper trim adjustment, and stress, plus torsion for steering and propulsion.

A ship at port usually takes in water and dumps it at the destination port where it unloads. This is the point where all potential threats might break loose if not attended; all organisms from the  surrounding water and sediments in different sizes involuntarily get sucked on board together with ballast water in the first place.  These then become foreign organisms poured into the new environment.  Bio-invasion takes place, which throws off the natural order of organisms into chaos. As a result, not only does mother nature suffer but it brings environmental disaster to us. So, to effectively regulate and prevent this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set out the guidelines and legislative requirements.

 

Treating Ballast Water with Ozone

NK-O3 Blue Ballast System

NK-O3 Blue Ballast System

In South Korea, there is one specialist called NK (nk-eng.nkcf.com) who took on this matter and put their green idea into action. Their NK-O3 Blue Ballast System has been approved by IMO (IMO G9 Procedure) and received Type Approval from the Korean Maritime Administration (IMO G8 Guidelines). 

This ballast water treatment system has many advantages and stands a good chance of addressing the ballast water issue; the system can be built modularly to fit into existing ballast systems. It is easy to maintain and cost-effective. It takes relatively less space and looks compact. It rarely loses pressure. Not a single chemical is needed. Finally, the operator can control and monitor the system efficiently.

Ozone has been proved to be safe and the strongest oxidant, disinfectant. The NK-O3 Blue Ballast System has four integrated modules to make the best use of it; the Oxygen Generator takes ambient air to remove nitrogen and increase the oxygen level. Then, the Ozone Generator produces ozone by allowing oxygen to flow through the high-frequency electric field. Next, the Ozone Injector with its patented side-stream injector guides incoming ballast to a side-stream while injecting an optimized level of ozone before the water ballast reaches the main ballast stream again (here ozone eliminates bio-invaders directly).  

This injector also automatically limits the area where it injects ozone, preventing possible corrosion. The final chapter of the termination procedure is up to hypobromous acid that is to be created by interacting with naturally-occurring chemicals in ballast water. This acid takes care of the remnants of bio-invaders. The Control & Monitoring System oversees the whole system operation and its performance by keeping logs of data, monitoring and managing all processes.

From its beginning in 1980 as Nam Yang Industry Co. Ltd, NK has been recognized both in South Korea and throughout the international community for its expertise. The company is specialized in developing and manufacturing shipboard fire control systems, shipboard ballast water treatment systems, high pressure gas cylinders, natural gas vehicle (NGV) cylinders, and environment protection technologies.

NK has been selected as the Kotra Seal of Excellence since 2010

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