The UN considers the introduction of non-indigenous oceanic species to be one of the top four serious threats to the global environment. At any given time, 35 000 ships are en route on the water of the Earth and more than 3000 species are being transported in their ballast tanks. The UN’s International Maritime Organization estimates that ten billion tons of ballast water is transported around the world every year. The past decade has seen a marked increase in the spread of species to areas where they do not naturally belong. This creates an imbalance in ecosystems and is a serious environmental threat.
Many times the invader has no natural predator and the original species become extinct and the entire marine ecosystem is disrupted. This has dramatic consequences for biodiversity and for industries such as fishing and aquaculture.
A PIONEER: Optimarin, a Norwegian company, was one of the first companies in the world to develop a system for environmentally friendly purification of ballast water. Although we recognized that there are various methods for purifying ballast water, both chemical and environmentally friendly methods, Optimarin chose to pursue a solution that does not use any chemicals and leaves no residual products that are harmful to the ocean or the environment. The world’s first ballast water system was installed by Optimarin on board the cruise ship Regal Princess in 2000.
After several years of testing, developing and patenting new technology, Optimarin finally obtained type approval for its purification system in 2009, in accordance with Guideline 8 and the ‘INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT OF SHIPS’ BALLAST WATER AND SEDIMENTS, 2004’. The Optimarin Ballast System (OBS) uses approved technology that significantly exceeds the stringent requirements set out in the IMO Convention. But for Optimarin, it is not enough to simply be approved. We operate in accordance with ISO 9001 / 2008 and our vision is to have the most environmentally friendly ballast water purification system in the world.