Many years ago, a young girl close to our heart was stricken with a typhoid-like illness apparently caused by contaminated water. She had to be rushed to hospital and confined for a week – just three days after her mother, who had died of aneurism, was buried. The supply of clean water for drinking and other purposes is not less an issue at sea than it is on land. Thankfully, UK-based water and air quality specialist Amphibia has developed a solution that shipowners would do well to consider. Less-than-clean water can be hazardous, if not fatal, to the crew.

Ships usually have multipurpose cold water storage tanks which can, in some cases, hold enough water to last for several months. The problem is that, between periods of refilling at the dockyard, bacteria in the water system will tend to create biofilms that attach to the internal surfaces of the storage tanks and associated pipelines. These biofilms provide a fertile breeding ground for all sorts of harmful bacteria – including Salmonella enterica, which causes typhoid, and legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ Disease. Conventional chlorine dosing methods are not enough to eradicate the problem.

Enter the bacteria-busters from Amphibia. The company makes use of a unique, biodegradable oxidising biocide (fully approved for use in water systems) which actually breaks down the biofilms and leaves a clean, disinfected surface within the entire water system. The biocide is applied using a spray method exclusive to Amphibia that uses far less water than if the dockyard or client were to carry out a conventional disinfection. This spares the client from having to pay the dockyard for vast quantities of water. It also helps the environment as there’s less waste water from the disinfection process.

Amphibia’s proprietary solution has been a boon to the marine industry for nearly two decades now. Global Marine Systems Ltd, for one, can attest to its efficacy and cost-effectiveness. The company’s entire fleet is serviced by Amphibia whenever the ships are in dry or wet dock, including a vessel based in Batangas province south of Manila. Still, we couldn’t help asking Amphibia director Alan Hannay: wouldn’t it be simpler to have bottled mineral water on board? “The problem with bottled water,” he replied, “is that it can be expensive to purchase and not environmentally friendly as there is clearly a lot of plastic waste and it requires energy to manufacture the plastic and then recycle it.” ~Barista Uno

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