Ballast Water Treatment: Optimarin lands NOK 100 Million fleet retrofit contract with Saga Shipholding

18 May 2012: Stavanger, Norway:  Optimarin has signed a major fleet-wide ballast water treatment contract with Saga Shipholding (Norway) AS (SSH), the open-hatch carrier subsidiary of Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), the world’s largest shipping company and owner of some 850 vessels operating within the car carriers, bulk, tanker (petroleum, chemical, LPG and LNG) and cruise sectors.

The retrofit contract, exceeding NOK 100 million, covers complete ballast water treatment (BWT) systems including engineering and service agreements for 24 sophisticated open-hatch bulk carriers.

With an agreement already in place for seven Saga and one NYK newbuildings, Optimarin’s combined Saga work program now amounts to NOK 140 million.  Optimarin’s aggregate order book stands at NOK ­­­250 million, representing over 110 vessels. This positions the company as the world’s leading BWT systems supplier to the global shipping industry.

The Saga contracts call for large scale Optimarin Ballast Systems (OBS) capable of handling all seawater salinities and fresh water in accordance to the International Maritime Organisation’s ballast water management convention. The OBS system features a fully back-flushing filter with 40 micron screens. It is fully automatic and self-cleaning and capable of removing large sediment particles, zooplantkton and phytoplankton under heavy sediment load conditions.  

Forward thinking decisions and technology

According to Saga, the decision to choose Optimarin was based on safeguarding NYK’s investment in tonnage and their on-going ability to operate globally. Securing a proven BWT technology was considered vital.  

“There is going to be a serious bottleneck when some 50,000 ships scramble to meet global BWT regulations in a few years’ time. Now with the US Coast Guard pushing ballast water ratification, global shipowners must ramp up their BWT decision-making choices. We are one of them,” said Lars Traaseth, Managing Director of SSH.

If all shipowners plan a BWT retrofit during a vessel’s five-year survey, about 11,000 retrofits must be completed between 2013 and 2016. Market observers estimate a peak in 2017 with 16,500 vessels needing to be retrofitted that year, an average of 45 systems per day. 

Faced by an array of solutions and approaching deadlines, Saga made its technology decision and is now coordinating full BWT implementation across a fleet of vessels in operation around the world.   

“We have been researching BWT systems since 2005. We chose Optimarin due to its proven technology and quality at a competitive price,” said Traaseth. “We are not taking a wait and see attitude, but are taking advantage of a buyers’ market and a BWT system with a good track record. Non-prudent shipowners could face price hikes in a few years’ time.”

Saga is an international ocean shipping company specialising in the transportation of forest products.

The company’s box-shaped open-hatch vessels represent one of the newest and most sophisticated and flexible fleets of forest product carriers in the world today. Each vessel is fitted with two specialised gantry cranes of 40-42 MT lifting capacity, which in turn provide high-capacity and speed for loading and discharging of unitised cargo. Each vessel is fully inter-changeable within the trades that Saga operates.

“Saga’s state of the art modern fleet carries a wide variety of traditional unitised and bulk cargoes. Our modern open-hatch gantry vessels ensure the highest quality cargo care and demand a high-tech, environmentally friendly BWT system,” said Traaseth.

Saga is entering one of the most extensive newbuilding programs in the open hatch gantry industry by ordering seven plus on NYK owned sophisticated open hatch gantry vessels from Oshima Shipbuilding of Japan and DSME of Korea for delivery in 2012/13.

“We seek robust quality in all aspects of our business and found Optimarin’s BWT technology to meet our worldwide trading demands. Optimarin’s automatic backwash solution, monitored by a pressure switch, ensures and maintains filter efficiency. This was an important factor when making our final decision,” said Eivind Holte, Senior Technical Manager at Saga.

“Optimarin’s flexible modular construction means efficient use of space and power and easy integration with ship systems. This gave us the confidence we needed and we have chosen Optimarin for each and every ship.  With ship crews rotating from vessel to vessel, we felt that one system, one supplier, grants the best economy of scale and safest operation,” said Holte.

Optimarin’s fully back-flushing filter results in a pressure drop of less than 0.5 bar.  Filtered ballast water is directed to a disinfection chamber where ultraviolet lamps deliver UV radiation for 100% disinfection.  Optimarin integrates its UV disinfection and advanced filtration systems into one compact unit, thus achieving low power consumption, easy installation and small footprint. The system does not deteriorate ballast tank coatings.

“We are now confidently positioned to handle large contracts and the growth that will inevitably come with the US forging ahead with their BWT requirements,” says Pål Sanner, CEO of Optimarin. “We are proudly global in our approach to design and component quality but we have agents throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia and it is our intention to remain competitive with our pricing and service offerings no matter how market demand fluctuates in the next few years. We are a long-term player and build our relationships on that basis.”SagaFC finalSagaFC final


Eivind Holte, Senior Technical ManagerSaga Shipholding (Norway) AS Saga is addressing the threat to marine ecosystems posed at a more rapid pace than required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO convention has not yet been ratified, but we are going to fit all our vessels with chemical-free ballast water treatment systems. We actively support the ratification of this convention.We are an early-adopter, embracing equipment that has been tested and proven. This minimizes the investment risk in new technology, though we understand that the BWT industry is quite new.
Lars Traaseth, Managing DirectorSaga Shipholding (Norway) AS Making future decisions based on the traditional considerations is a dangerous decision premise in shipping. Saga is proactively initiating changes to best impact our global business. We have investigated every ballast treatment system in the market and found Optimarin to best meet the operational demands of our global fleet.Though the shipping industry is still in a crisis, technology is moving forward. We are aggressively embracing new technologies to benefit our clients and principals.BWT system technology is a big ticket in terms of costs. Keeping on top of new advances does cost, but it will cost even more for those who wait. We believe our investment in securing a BWT fleet agreement was right timing.
Pål Sanner, CEOOptimarin Many shipowners are failing to ensure that sound, on-going investments are made - consistent with an organization's needs and what is available in the marketplace.Many shipowners are remarkably relaxed considering that compliance dates set out in the IMO’s ballast water management convention are fixed.Shipowners leaving retrofits to the last minute could find their strategy works out far more expensive in the long run. And, depending on trade, non-compliance risks, heavy fines and/or ship detention.Lining up a BTW fleet agreement now could save owners as much as 10 -30% prior to the ratification of the BWT convention when the Klondike days begin.

For more information contact:

Pål Sanner,CEO, OptiMarin
Tel: 47 911 13 177

Tore Andersen
, Sales and Marketing Director
Tel: 47 911 35 860
E-mail :

About Optimarin

Based in Stavanger, Norway, Optimarin is a frontrunner ballast water treatment system provider. Optimarin installed the world’s first ballast water treatment system aboard the Princess Cruises “Regal Princess”.

Optimarin is optimal technology and a standardized BWT system solution. The system is modular, easy to install and requires a small footprint. These are key advantages when serving the retrofit market where many installations are made under vessel operation and during extremely tight drydock deadlines.

Optimarin treats ballast water during ballasting and de-ballasting to ensure a dual cleansing effect. Type Approved, Optimarin is a mechanical system based on filtration and UV and does not affect the normal operation of the ship. It is easy to install on board existing ships as well as on new-builds and uses standardized components for all flow configurations. The system is one of very few treatment options that do not introduce chemicals, electro-chemical generators or biocides.

Key benefits:

Simple and flexible

Environmentally friendly, no introduction of chemicals

Self cleaning filter & UV system

Operated as integrated part of the ballast system

Minimum operator attention

Low weight and small foot print

Easy maintenance 


About Us

Established in New York and Oslo in the 1940s and today headquartered in Dubai, Goltens is a leading provider of specialized repair, maintenance, reconditioning services and trading of engineering components for the worldwide shipping industry, offshore marine installations, industrial plants and power stations. The company is the only independent repair specialist to offer shipowners, managers and OEMs all-inclusive worldwide service from its 22 locations around the globe, and serves over 1000 clients each year.




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