A new report from ship classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has revealed that only 57% of the ballast water management (BWM) systems installed on-board vessels are considered to be in operable condition.

The remaining systems have either been classed as inoperable or problematic.

ABS conducted a survey of around 30 shipowners and operators to identify trends and better understand common practices within the industry.

The report revealed that some of the issues faced by BWM systems' users are related to software and hardware, as well as the operating capability of the ships' crew members.

System operators have had to develop plans to ensure adequate hardware maintenance and maintain an inventory of spare parts for their vessels. 

"When we hear directly from owners and operators, we are better able to understand the challenges in the operation of the systems."

Some of the shipowners also reported problems related to the chemical consumables used for determining residual oxidants in the ballast water.

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Proper storage and handling is considered to be crucial to the proper operation of systems that employ a total residual oxidant (TRO).

ABS Global Marine executive vice-president Dr Kirsi Tikka said: “When we hear directly from owners and operators, we are better able to understand the challenges in the operation of the systems, and for those systems that are operational, what practices are being followed.”

The report also highlighted the importance of maintaining an effective training strategy to enable the crew members to operate BWM systems in a safe and efficient manner.