UV disinfection is used for multiple applications in the marine industry, including to treat ballast water before discharge into the ocean, to provide potable drinking water on passenger and commercial ships, and to treat wastewater from on-board laundries, kitchens and bathrooms.
Many large shipping vessels such as container ships, military vessels and cruise liners use enormous amounts of ballast water for balancing their loads and therefore ensuring high levels of stability when they are at sea. Ballast water is pumped into the ships tanks at its port of origin and may then be pumped out hundreds or thousands of miles away, when the vessel docks or changes are made to its load.
Ballast water carried by a ship will contain organisms and pathogens commonly found where that water was loaded, but that could be harmful or invasive to native flora and fauna where the ballast water is dumped. As global shipping traffic increases and environmental science highlights the potentially destructive impact of these practices, shipping companies are being encouraged to address the problem.
On-board UV disinfection systems have proven to be a safe, commercially-viable and environmentally-friendly method of treating ballast water, killing organisms or rendering pathogens unable to replicate. This helps to protect ecosystems around the world without the use of harmful chemicals.