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How might we provide and maintain clean drinking water onboard vessels to protect the health of seafarers?

Key Focus Area:

Crew Safety, Training and Wellbeing

Drinking water for seafarers is stored in dedicated drinking water tanks onboard vessels and gets regularly replenished by a fresh water generator. To prevent bacteria build-up over time, this water can only be kept for a certain period of time and the tanks need to be emptied, inspected and cleaned every 6-12 months. Mandatory testing to assess the quality of water for bacteria content and pH value ensures that it is safe for drinking. Though there is an option of supplying bottled water onboard regularly, this is not sustainable as it adds to environmental wastes. Another alternative is to supply water from shore to tank, which however may not be possible at many ports or trades.

The quality of drinking water onboard different vessels can differ significantly due to a number of factors:

(1) Different piping, storage and water distillation systems

(2) Rusting of pipes despite a good filtration system to prevent calcium build-up and chemical contamination

(3) Condition of fresh water generator

(4) Condition of tank

While vessels are equipped with a fresh water generator, the water generated is pure distilled water lacking minerals that are essential for the seafarers’ health. Even the introduction of a mineraliser and UV system does not provide sufficient effectiveness in filtering impurities, disinfecting and adding minerals for human consumption.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) and INNOPORT are looking for a sustainable solution that will provide drinking water that is equivalent in taste and mineral contents to that of bottled mineral water, onboard vessels to protect the health and wellbeing of seafarers.

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