APPENDIX D Alternative Ship Designs
Ship owners and operators want to carry as little ballast as possible on a voyage. Increased ballast causes a reduction in ship speed and an increase in fuel consumption, or both, with associated increases in costs. Revenue is based on cargo, not ballast, so design modifications that reduce the need for ballast without compromising safety are potentially beneficial to owners and operators. When new ships are constructed or major alterations are made to existing vessels, opportunities may exist to (1) limit total ballast water requirements, (2) improve the safety of at-sea ballast water change, and (3) incorporate structural and piping designs that trap less sediment and are easier to clean.
New ships could be designed that would eliminate the normal ballast loading and discharging operation by reducing the cargo capacity and incorporating permanent, retained ballast within the deadweight of the vessel. However, taking one-third to two-thirds of a vessel's load capacity (deadweight) for non-earning "cargo" (i.e., ballast) would have dire commercial consequences and would not be a viable option for ship owners. The resulting shortages in worldwide shipping capacity would have a dire impact on world trade. The shipbuilding capacity to replace or increase current shipping capacity is not available. Nor are trained crews available to staff many new ships.
If it were possible to maintain ships fully loaded with cargo at sea on all legs of a voyage, thereby avoiding the ballast leg, ballast water would only need to be taken on board temporarily in port as cargo was discharged. Later, when new cargo was loaded, in the same port, the temporary ballast water could be
discharged into the same environment from whence it came. Although this is an extremely attractive scenario from a commercial perspective (full ships at all times), this approach to controlling introductions of nonindigenous species through ballast operations would be difficult to implement in practice because of different cargo requirements, the geographic separation of loading and distribution points, and the imbalance of trade.
Under certain circumstances many types of ships—some container vessels, for example—can retain ballast water on board by moving it within the ship's ballast system to compensate for cargo deployments that affect vessel trim and stability.
IMPROVING BALLAST CHANGE
Currently, one of the best available options for controlling ballast water is changing it in open ocean by deballasting and reballasting. A new ship design with increased structural strength and stability would make at-sea ballast change safer. This option would require that the proposed plans for changing ballast water be approved by the vessel's classification society and the regulatory authority of the flag state.
If the strength or stability of a vessel cannot sustain complete discharge and refilling of ballast tanks at sea, the continuous flushing method for changing ballast water change could be used. Some typical design modifications that could be used are as follows:
Tanker-type hatches could be fitted to the weather deck in way of the topside tanks, and the topside could be interconnected with the lower wing tanks. This modification would be suitable for bulk carriers.
This design would be the same as above, but instead of fitting tanker hatches, larger ventilation pipes would be fitted with cross-sectional areas capable of handling flows equal to the largest ballast water pumping capacity.
CLEANER BALLAST TANKS
To assist in the complete removal of ballast water and sediment, the internal features of the ballast system structure could be designed to facilitate draining of ballast water to the ballast suction and stripping suctions. Horizontal, flat longitudinal surfaces could be fitted with drain holes located along their length and adjacent to vertical surfaces. Alternatively, horizontal surfaces could be designed to shed water or sediment by slight angling downwards, with the return angles or face angles fitted to the underside of the longitudinals. Smooth tank coatings would also reduce clingage and allow for better discharge of ballast sediment.
For vessels that carry small quantities of ballast water in relation to their size, the double-bottom or side tanks could be fitted with additional divisional
bulkheads. On a designated voyage between scheduled ports, the ballast water loaded in a port might be able to be held on board and discharged again at its origin. If ballast water loading were necessary in one port, the ballast could be retained on board until the next visit to that port. However, the inventory control requirements of such an operation, coupled with unpredictable cargo and weather-related ballast requirements, would probably render this approach impractical in most cases.