Mussel catastrophe: Shellfish carried from Ballast Water from the Americas ravaging Singapore shores

Invasive American brackish-water mussels have been carpeting Kranji mudflats.

Invasive American brackish-water mussels have been carpeting Kranji mudflats.

Since 2016, a new species of mussel that have come from as far away as the Americas has been spreading rapidly along Singapore's northern coast, clogging up nets in fish farms and displacing the Asian green mussel native to Singapore, as they compete with the local molluscs for space. Observed in clumps of up to 10,000 individual shellfish, the invasive American brackish-water mussel has also been forming dense mats in the Kranji mudflats - home to rare horseshoe crabs - to the dismay of nature groups here. The appearance of the mussels in these ancient creatures' habitat has made it difficult for them to burrow into the sand.

Spreading fast in Singapore

Spreading fast in Singapore

They are introduced to an area by ship ballast water, sometimes accidental release. Invasive species can lead to the extinction of native plants and animals, destroy biodiversity, and permanently alter habitats. For now, the horseshoe crab rescue and research volunteers are willing to clear the mussels even if it’s a short term strategy.

 

 

 

That is why for long term strategy, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a not-for-profit corporation, has since published 3 Ballast Water Treatment Advisories that provided useful information on ballast water regulations and treatment technologies to the marine industry. It will be fully implemented by all vessels by September 2019 - 2024.

Retrofitting new systems or finding the best configuration to fit the treatment systems can be a daunting task. In most engine rooms, the ballast piping consists of the largest pipes used. It can be a challenge to find room for tie-in points to the manifold area around the ballast pumps as well as space in the engine room to run lengths of pipe to remote locations. For most existing vessels, detailed as-built drawings of the ship’s ballast piping system and engine room arrangement may not be readily available. 

Here in Aries Geomatics, we offer 3D laser scanning to efficiently map an area and convert these crucial details into different deliverables for the system design stage. In addition, we provide comprehensive on-site inspection (feasibility) study report to complement the 3D laser scanning data.