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River Cruisers move to wastewater treatment retrofits

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ACO Marine has taken a substantial number of orders from European river cruise operators for the supply and retrofit installation of the company’s advanced wastewater treatment systems.

The company, the water treatment division of Germany’s ACO Group, will supply wastewater management solutions based around its Maripur NF advanced sewage treatment plant to ten river cruise vessels scheduled to drydock this winter.

In addition to the Maripur NF units, the turnkey package includes grease separation systems, holding and aeration tanks, pumps and piping, and crew training.

The vessels to which the ACO scope will be installed include the Rhine and/or Danube-operating sister vessels MS Maribelle, MS Prinzessin Sisi and MS Regina Rheni, the 100m long sisters MS Prinzessin Katharina and MS Prinzesse de Provence, and the 110m long MS Vista Fidelio.

Equipment will be delivered to various European yards for retrofitting between November 2018 and March 2019, when the vessels drydock before the summer season.

Pavel Havlik, Director – River Cruises, ACO Marine, said: “Our strategic decision to enter the European River Cruise and Inland Waterway market has paid dividends not only for ACO Marine but also for the owners and operators of these remarkable vessels.

“Given the recent orders, it appears the segment has quickly embraced the ACO Marine solution. In addition to the ten vessels undergoing retrofit this winter, we will also retrofit equipment to 30 river cruise vessels scheduled to drydock winter 2019.”

Mark Beavis, Managing Director, ACO Marine said one of the reasons the sector has been quick to take up the ACO solution is because of the company’s commitment to after sales and service.

“We’re not an install and forget kind of company,” he said. “We have built a systematic service chain that includes remote diagnostics and maintain regular contact with our customers to ensure their wastewater treatment systems are running to optimum. Our customers and, ultimately, their passengers benefit from not only having a team of specialists on call 24/7, but from complete wastewater management solutions designed to exceed existing and anticipated regulations.”

Compared to the commercial marine sector, the regulations governing pollution of inland waterways segment are very rigid.

The European Union Commission Directive 2012/49/EU came into force in December 2013 laying down new standards for testing of sewage treatment systems to ensure standards of discharge in European inland waterways will not have an adverse impact on the environment.

“All current vessels are required to upgrade their sewage treatment systems to compliance during their next scheduled vessel inspection and therefore the requirement for retrofit solutions will be considerable. To meet this requirement ACO Marine carries out detailed onboard surveys to enable the development of bespoke solutions on a ship-by-ship basis working with the vessel owner/operators and the installation shipyards to incorporate all aspects of ship system integration,” said Beavis.

Certified in accordance with RheinSchUO and Commission Directive 2012/49/E, ACO Marine’s compact Bio-Reactor (MBR), the technology at the heart of its Maripur NF system, allows vessels with limited space to now benefit from a membrane-based treatment process. Historically, the low height of the machinery space prevented river cruise vessels from adopting the technology.

With a low-height design and capacity to treat the waste streams generated from up to 250 persons, the ACO Maripur is available in modular sections to allow easier access to the installation site using existing access routes, reducing the requirement to cut a hole in the ship’s side.

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