The Port of Baltimore
May/June 2013
Port, WWL
Help Research
Sticky Question
he Port of Baltimore and
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics
(WWL) have helped advance
research into organisms that not only
foul the underwater hull of ships but
might invade other ecosystems by
doing so.
Though ballast water is a known
culprit in transporting invasive species,
scientists are also studying organisms
that hitch a ride on the vessels them-
selves, hiding in niche areas such as the
rudders, thrusters or propellers. They can
pose an operations threat as well as an
environmental threat.
“There’s been an increase in the
number of organisms moved around
the world by human activities,” said
Greg Ruiz, a senior scientist and
marine ecologist at the Smithsonian
Environmental Research Center.
Even non-invasive organisms can
Sand Filter Gets
New Life
to Help Bay
he Maryland Port Administration (MPA) has given a
sand filter a well-deserved makeover after it spent
several years filtering unwanted nutrients from
stormwater before they could enter the Patapsco River and
Chesapeake Bay.
Located at Masonville Cove, the filter cleans the run-off
from the paved surface of the cargo storage areas. The water
percolates through the sand and filter fabric, which mimics
Mother Nature by cleaning between 50 percent and 80
percent of unwanted nutrients such as sediment, nitrogen and
“These are some of the highest-rated filtering structures
available,” said Bill Richardson, Environmental Manager for the
MPA. “You can’t get 100 percent reduction of nutrients, so we
try to get the most reduction that we can. As we’re installing
our stormwater management structures, there are a wide range
of options out there, and we are always looking for the one that
maximizes water quality improvement.”
The MPA has similar filters in multiple locations; all are
inspected annually and last eight to 10 years. An inspection
showed that the Masonville filter needed replacing.
“It worked really well and trapped all the unwanted
material,” Richardson said.
increase fuel consumption for ships, as
they create additional drag on the hull.
Increased fuel consumption means more
cost and more emissions.
“We want to understand more about
these organisms in order to minimize the
possible impacts on shipping and the
environment,” Ruiz said. “We know how
biofouling occurs, but not what drives or
determines its extent. Some ships have
lots of organisms, and others not so much.
We know that voyage route, type and age
of coatings, speed and port residence
time all affect biofouling. We’re trying
to figure out what controls biofouling, in
order to reduce the chance of species
transfers. Surprisingly, there’s not a lot
of good data on what’s on the bottom of
ships arriving to U.S. ports today.”
Thanks to help from the Port of
Baltimore and WWL, researchers had a
chance this spring to gather important
David Thomas, Director of Operations
for the Maryland Port Administration
(MPA), explained, “The Smithsonian
approached us, and we thought about
WWL, which is in the forefront of
environmental initiatives and has ships
coming from different places. We saw it
would be a good match.”
Michael Derby, General Manager for
WWL’s North Atlantic operations, was
intrigued by the researchers’ plan to
use both divers and remotely operated
vehicles to look at the ships’ hulls. He
contacted ship owners and captains to
make arrangements for the Smithsonian
researchers to study five ships.
“WWL and our owners are interested
in the best anti-fouling/hull cleaning
solutions for our ships, not just because
a clean hull reduces air emissions and
operating costs, but also because it has
the added advantage of reducing invasive
species risks. It’s a three-for-one deal,”
Derby said. “For this reason, WWL has
been collaborating with groups who are
trying to improve the technology to keep
the hulls clean.”
The research effort is part of a
broad partnership under the Maritime
Environmental Resource Center, involving
the University
(Continued on page 20)
1...,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19 21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,...48