Type Approval Testing

Type Approval test

Ballast Water Treatment Systems (BWTS) have to be granted a type approval (TA) by a test before it’s allowed to be sold and installed onboard a ship. The global (IMO) and US regulations (ETV) contain the regulations and conditions for such granting. As from 2009 onwards, the staff of MEA-nl has been involved in Type Approval testing of Ballast Water Management Systems (BWMS). We conduct both land-based and shipboard tests and have worked with many national administrations and the US Coast Guard. We can also prepare your Basic and Final Approval dossier for submission to IMO / GESAMP.

Which steps are taken in a type Approval Test?

There is not just one test in order to get Type Approval. A series of prescribed tests have to be conducted on different types of water: marine, brackish and fresh. Prior to a test, a plan will be drafted by the professionals of MEA-nl. This plan has to be approved by the national administration taking care of the certification. There are different phases to a Type Approval test:

  • Land-based tests

These tests can be conducted on our floating test facility, the MEA-Innovator. The BWMS will be preferably installed in a 20ft container and connected to our test facility. Challenge water can be augmented and analyzed to meet test criteria at intake. After the required holding time water will be discharged, sampled and analyzed again.

  • Shipboard tests
    As part of the Type Approval test, shipboard tests have to be conducted. This will take at least six months.
  • Toxicity tests

BWMS making use of active substances (using or producing), have to prove that they are safe for the environment under the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004 (BWM Convention). The Procedure (G9) prescribes that Basic Approval and Final Approval by the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) are part of the Type Approval test process. Samples have to be analyzed on Disinfection By-Products (DBP) and Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) on vertebrates, non-vertebrates and plants. Results will be submitted via the national administration to the GESAMP Ballast Water Working Group in accordance with the applicable Methodology for approval. Prior to full-scale testing, bench scale tests have to be conducted and a Basic Approval dossier has to be approved by MEPC. After Basic Approval and during the validation tests, samples will be taken and analyzed to confirm the results of the Basic Approval. Those results will be compiled in the Final Approval dossier and also submitted. Slightly different is the US approach in this respect. The US also requires tests, but these are very prescriptive and mostly on chronic toxicity.

The Type Approval test follows the ETV Protocol. This protocol describes the tests to be performed in detail, including analytical methods for Type Approval test of a Ballast Water Management System (BWMS) under the US legislation. For the US, like a VIDA Test, also land-based and shipboard tests have to be undertaken. Those tests have to be conducted via an Independent Laboratory (IL), such as Lloyd’s Register EMEA or PIA GmbH.

The MEA Innovator heading for the shipyard

The code of approval associated with the Type Approval test

The Code for approval of ballast water management systems (BWMS Code) took effect on 13 October 2019. From this date on, BWMS have to be tested in accordance with the Code where previously there were only Guidelines for testing purposes. Some BWMS may require updates on the tests they have conducted so far. On a number of occasions, we have conducted gap analysis and identified which additional tests have to be conducted to bridge the gap. IMO commissioning test should be performed under the supervision of a national administration. MEA-nl has worked with many national administrations, such as the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Greece, China and others.


Ask us to oversee the whole process from analysis to submission

In all cases of a Type Approval test, the specialists of MEA-nl can do the analysis and compile the required documentation for submission. We will make sure a test plan is written and approved by the national administration in advance of testing. After completion of the Type Approval test a complete report containing the results and particulars will be prepared for you as customer. Do you want to know what we can do for your systems within marine water testing? Contact us by calling us on +31 (0)227 – 60 82 93 or by sending an e-mail to info@mea-nl.com.

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