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Cal Maritime's Golden Bear Facility Becomes USCG Subcontracted Test Facility for Ballast Water Management Systems

(VALLEJO, Calif. – January 24, 2014) – Cal Maritime's Golden Bear Facility is one of only four subcontracted test facilities in the world approved by the U.S. Coast Guard to perform ballast water management system testing according to international and national environmental standards.

Aquatic invasive species are transported via shipboard ballast water. Reducing the presence of these organisms in ballast water is a critical environmental challenge facing the international maritime industry. New standards, put in place by the International Maritime Organization and U.S. Coast Guard, are being employed to minimize the introduction or transport of invasive species to and from lakes, coastal, and riverine environments. By 2018, most commercial ships will be required to meet these new global standards. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency implemented their own regulations in 2012.

"As our industry take the next big step toward the installation of onboard treatment systems, having the combination of a controlled testing platform that is also ship-based provides a unique perspective," said John Berge, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association.

The Golden Bear Facility has the unique ability to conduct both land-based and shipboard testing aboard a single platform, the Training Ship Golden Bear, the 500-foot training vessel of California Maritime Academy. With the facility's plug-and-play platform, industry partners working to tackle ballast water issues will be able to test systems tailored to meet specific needs and configurations.

"The Golden Bear can provide valuable information on system efficacy while also demonstrating the real-world performance in a shipboard environment," said Berge.

"The unique capabilities of the Golden Bear as a testing platform addresses an extreme gap in the market to qualify and validate technical strategies to eliminate the transfer of invasive species from one port to another," said Bryan Bjorndal, president and CEO of Assure Controls, Inc.

"Ballast water management continues to remain on the front burner of the world's maritime fleets," said Captain Harry Bolton, commanding officer of the T.S. Golden Bear. "Being one of the only mobile facilities allows us to test all over the Pacific, Caribbean and Atlantic, based on our summer training cruise schedule."

The Training Ship Golden Bear's annual training voyage is part of the specialized curriculum offered at Cal Maritime. For the duration of each summer training cruise, Cal Maritime cadets are responsible for running the ship, including navigating and driving, repairing and overseeing the engines, and maintaining the vessel. All training cruises are supervised by Cal Maritime faculty, the ship's captain and chief engineer, and a team of experienced mariners.

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