Finnish study tests ballast testing systems

Malcolm Latarche

Malcolm Latarche · 06 December 2019


A new study has been published on indicative analysis methods used in the control of ships’ ballast water treatment

The aim of the regulations on ships’ treatment of ballast water is to prevent the spread of aquatic non-indigenous species via ballast water. The purpose of the new study was to find the best methods and instruments for use by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) when controlling the treatment of ballast water by ships.

Ballast lab

Various indicative devices that give speedy preliminary results of the functionality of the ballast water treatment systems were tested. The devices were provided by some of the leading names in this small but growing sector. The use of such devices on board ships makes it possible to prevent unnecessary delays in port.

The devices that were tested made use of the following methods of analysis:

  • ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate)
  • PAM (Pulse Amplitude Modulation)
  • STAF (Single Turnover Active Fluorometry)
  • MFA (Motility and Fluorescence Assay)

The study says that all the tested devices and methods were capable of giving a preliminary result as to the functionality of the treatment system. The device with the best performance in Finnish conditions was the device utilising the PAM method.

The study called Indicative ballast water analysis testing for port State control purposes has been published in its entirety on the website of Traficom. The study was conducted for Traficom by the Finnish Environment Institute.

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