Reggeborg first ship with ballast water treatment system
Sustainability & Safety

Reggeborg first ship with ballast water treatment system

The Ballast Water Management Convention came into force in 2017 and applies to all seagoing vessels that carry ballast water. It requires these vessels to be equipped with a ballast water treatment system. The Convention has had far-reaching consequences for Wagenborg, with its fleet of around 180 vessels, as it has for many other shipping companies. We talked to Mike Settels about the process of installing a ballast water treatment system on board the Reggeborg.
Mike Settels

In conversation with...

Mike Settels

Projects & New building superintendent

The consequences of the Ballast Water Management Convention are far-reaching for many shipping companies. For example, ships must now have a certificate, an approved ballast water management plan and a ballast water record book on board. It sounds straightforward, and it’s not even the biggest challenge. To make things even more complicated, the United States has its own laws and its own implementation schedule, and there are only a few systems that meet the US requirements. Only after a suitable system has been found and is available within acceptable delivery times can installation be planned.


“Internal planning is already quite a challenge,” says Mike Settels, Projects & New Build Superintendent. “I have to allow for regular maintenance and dockings scheduled by Fleet Management. And Chartering has to free up the ship for a certain period by not scheduling any cargo transport. Even if it all works out, we still have to find the right shipyard for the job.”

The Reggeborg

MS Reggeborg was ready for its five-year survey in early 2018. “Reggeborg was scheduled to be docked at Nauta’s shipyard in Gdynia, Poland. PND grasped that opportunity to install a ballast water treatment system. If everything went as planned, we figured it would take about two weeks. That meant we could get started on the blueprints.”

Down to the last detail

An engine room isn’t normally designed with space for a ballast water treatment system. Since the system consists of several large components connected by 300 and 350 mm pipes, it takes up quite a bit of room. “Fortunately, I know the Reggeborg quite well from when it was built. To be honest, we designed a more spacious engine room at the time because we were already thinking ahead to the ballast water regulations. That made it easier to sketch the ballast water treatment system in an e-browser. Even so, we couldn’t do everything on paper. We had to visit the ship several times to check whether the engineering was realistic. And that’s wasn’t easy: just try finding room for an electrical cabinet, two power boxes for the UV lamps, the UV reactor, filter, flow gauge, CIP unit for cleaning the UV reactor, control unit, about 15 metres of ballast water pipework, small piping, and all the fittings and mounting brackets.”

Close cooperation

The time had finally come to put the Reggeborg into dry dock. Alongside the many dozens of people lined up to watch the docking, Mike had a team of eight people on standby. “Our multidisciplinary team had two weeks to install the ballast water treatment system. The team included people for piping, electrical work, small metalwork, welding, commissioning and Bureau Veritas certification. The 12-hour days made it quite a tough job. The biggest challenge, however, wasn’t the amount of time but the logistics on board. We had to get all the major components inside the ship, but because of the docking, it was already swarming with people and teeming with activity. We managed it, thanks to close cooperation between the shipyard, the subcontractors and the crew,” says Mike.


The Reggeborg has already been re-commissioned, and Projects and New Build, of which Mike is a member, has continued working on ballast water treatment systems. For example, Marc van Dijk is working hard to develop the engineering to install the systems in the rest of the vessels in the fleet. In addition, Wieger Duursma is very much involved in studying the regulations and in selecting, purchasing, and scheduling instalment of the ballast water treatment systems. And Mike is starting to prepare for the next installation. This time the system will be installed in the Reggeborg’s sister ship, the Roerborg.

Five ships are expected to be equipped with a ballast water treatment system this year. “Next year I expect we’ll be installing the system on about 15 ships. It will be a steep learning curve for us,” concludes Mike

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