Hyundai Heavy Industries has delivered the world’s first crude oil carrier fitted with equipment for treating ballast water, the firm announced Monday.
Empty vessels are balanced by ballast water, which is then emptied out when cargo is loaded at ports. This practice can transport non-indigenous organisms to waters across the world, damaging foreign ecosystems.
With the International Maritime Organization set to make ballast water treatment equipment mandatory in all new vessels from 2012 onwards, and in all operating vessels from 2017, Hyundai Heavy expects that the global market for ballast water treatment systems will grow to be worth about 30 trillion won ($26.8 billion).
According to the shipyard, 5 billion metric tons of seawater is transported through such means, and the U.S. alone sustained $97 billion in damage from foreign organisms transported to the U.S. in ballast water between 1906 and 1991.