MARPOL 73/78 was an international convention which was intended to bring about a serious change in the way that marine pollution was handled. MARPOL, a contraction of marine pollution, is one of the most serious protections put into place over our oceans and the ramifications of the convention are pretty far reaching.
While a lot of damage had already been done before it was put into place, the essence of it comes down to the minimization of differing types of pollution in our oceans and regulations around all shipping affairs to do so.
MARPOL and Oil Spills
Annex I of the MARPOL convention relates solely to the regulation of oil and oil spills from ships. Contained within it are regulations for handling engine room bilge water and tank cleaning waste. Also contained within are guidelines on how tanker ships need to be constructed in order to minimize pollution.
Previous to the implementation of these vital measures, the amount of oil discharge from a ship was largely unregulated. Indeed, the sad fact is that most of the oil in the ocean doesn’t come from the large spills which make the news but instead from various wasteful practices which are sometimes conducted aboard commercial vessels.
Annex I of MARPOL applies to commercial ships, which generate the vast majority of the waste which can be found in the oceans.
Indeed, while many people tend to think of the larger and more media-frenzied spills as those which are a real danger, only 5% of actual discharges into the ocean are released by oil tankers. 51.8% of ship-caused spillage, by weight, is actually caused by other types of vessels.
Only 5% of actual discharges into the ocean are released by oil tankers.
Large commercial vessels use a lot more oil than most people realize, simply due to the fact that the engines required to power such large ships require a ton of oil to keep them cooled and lubricated. Due to this, any commercial vessel becomes a potential oil spill while out on the ocean.
Due to the convention, large ships must carry an oily water separator(OWS) and oil discharge monitoring equipment(ODME) to regulate their liquid emissions.
The OWS must keep the oil concentration in the water released from the bilge at less than 15ppm in order to comply with the convention. The ODME, meanwhile, is in charge of making sure that all water releases are in compliance with Annex I.
This, of course, generates a healthy amount of waste oil, or marine slop oil in this case, which is problematic to store and refine.
Problems with the Storage of Slop Oil
While not all oil can be stopped from reaching the ocean, marine pollution can be reduced by Annex I of the MARPOL 73/78 convention. This leaves us with a new problem, however, as conventions do not magically make the oil which is now being stored on board commercial vessels disappear.
Marine slop oil is particularly problematic, as engine oils contain many detergents and a lot of water which forms a complex emulsion. In addition, the slop oils are often of wildly varying characteristics.
In general, this oil will be stored in ponds or lagoons, or in large storage tanks. Both of these pose some pretty serious problems for those who end up having to deal with the waste oil generated by the shipping routes which stitch world trade together.
Since marine slop oil is so complex, it’s hard for anyone to be able to separate out the usable fraction in a manner which benefits all involved parties. It’s extremely energy intensive and hard on standard mechanical filters and separators.
Since any vessel over 400 gross tons is required to carry an oily waste tank… there simply aren’t enough tanks in the world to hold all of the marine slop oil. This means that the majority of marine slop oil ends up in lagoons.
These lagoons, ponds, or pits are open air storage facilities for oil. This is problematic to say the least, but with the complexities and length of processing it often seems to be the only practical solution.
Some companies, however, are pushing forwards with new solutions to the problem of marine slop oil and the recovery of oil spills.While it may not be possible to entirely eliminate the problem, Recondoil’s technology offers an efficient way to keep marine slop oil from going entirely to waste. It’s an important step in the right direction, reducing waste oil which might otherwise continue to trickle down the economic ladder of oil and helping to make the world a greener place.
Recondoil and ROCCO Slop
Recondoil is one such company. Having dedicated themselves to creating a greener future where oil is concerned they’ve developed a variety of technologies to handle the problem.
The leading solution they offer for marine slop oil is called ROCCO Slop and it’s proven its effectiveness in the field time and time again. Using their patented double separation technology(DST) and a full sized plant, they’ve created a way to turn marine slop oil into a serious resource.
ROCCO Slop is able to quickly and efficiently handle the varied grades of oil which must inevitably pass through any sort of slop oil handling operation. Since the grades of oil are differing and often filled with a large amount of detergents and other additives the process is simply too much for most separation technologies to handle.
Using DST and the full ROCCO Slop setup, Ragn Sells has already revolutionized their efficiency and progress when it comes to taking care of their operation.
ROCCO Slop efficiently separates slop oil into three separate portions, water which meets the 15ppm standard, clean oil, and dry “sludge” matter.
The waste consists of the particulate matter which inevitably ends up in oils. It’s completely dry and easily able to be transported or stored on-site for later reclamation.
Meanwhile, the oil which is produced in the process is less than 2% water by weight while the oil itself is rendered with the same energy levels as clean heating oil. If further purification is desired, the oil can even be passed through the plant again to result in better results.