The Institute of Marine Research (IMR) has selected Optimarin’s market proven ballast water treatment (BWT) system for its new flagship Dr Fridtjof Nansen vessel.
The system, currently installed on 180 vessels worldwide, will ensure the NOK450m ($73m) newbuild inactivates marine organisms transported in its ballast tanks, safeguarding the ecosystems examined on its high-profile scientific assignments.
Owned by the Norwegian Foreign Aid Directorate (Norad) and operated by the Bergen-headquartered IMR, the research vessel is an ST-369 design, currently under construction at the Astilleros Gondan shipyard in Spain.
Upon completion in 2016, the vessel will undertake assignments in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, assisting in the sustainable management of natural resources.
Optimarin’s technology was recommended to IMR by the shipyard, as explained by Mr Ceferino Ron, Factory Director, Astilleros Gondan: "The Dr Fridtjof Nansen will be an important vessel with a crucial mission. It was essential that we selected a proven BWT solution with a track record of reliability, efficiency and the successful elimination of all potentially invasive marine organisms.
"We want all our newbuilds to conform with requirements and operate in accordance to the highest standards, and we’re happy to have found a BWT supplier that shares those same values."
Optimarin’s system, which uses filtration and high doses of UV irradiation to inactivate organisms, is an environmentally friendly solution with full IMO approval, USCG AMS acceptance, and certification through DNV GL, BV, RMRS and CCS.
IMR’s contract adds to more than 120 units already in the Optimarin’s orderbook.
Optimarin CEO Tore Andersen said: "An order for a client of this stature, with this reputation, is of great significance."
"IMR fully understands the threat that the estimated ten billion tonnes of untreated ballast water transported annually poses to marine biodiversity, with some 7,000 species carried every day in ballast water tanks. Sustainability, environmental stewardship and responsible operations are essential to their mission, and our BWT solution will go some way to helping them achieve their goals."
The newbuild Dr Fridtjof Nansen will replace a current vessel, built in 1993, of the same name. It will feature a total of seven laboratories and 32 cabins, sleeping up to 45 people, with a length of 74.5m and breadth of 17.4m. Key operational tasks will include assignments relating to the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and the Nansen programme for the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Dr Fridtjof Nansen was an oceanographer renowned for his crossing of Greenland and the ‘Fram’ expedition. Nansen, who died in 1930, was also a founder of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and a celebrated recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.