MER Group Receives Notice of Allowance by US Patent Office.
Ceiba, Puerto Rico- Marine Environmental Remediation (“MER”) Group announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a “Notice of Allowance” for MER Group’s advanced technology used to reduce or eliminate the release of certain contaminants during the vessel recycling process. The device, which MER has trademarked under the name WaistcoatTM was designed to capture slag, dust, and other contaminants released during conventional vessel demolition operations. The WaistcoatTM concept and technology has uses in non-marine applications as well. “MER Group is utilizing innovative business strategies, techniques and technologies to transform the way ship recycling is performed on a global basis” stated MER CEO Martin Vulaj, adding “We are particularly proud of this technology as it presents a revolutionary new alternative to the dangerous and environmentally harmful methods of beaching vessels for scrapping currently in use in many parts of the world.”
MER Group has pioneered an environmentally sensitive process of dismantling obsolete vessels that meets or exceeds all U.S. EPA, OSHA, state and territories regulations. These standards will also become the required performance levels for European Union-flagged and owned ships under the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation.
Under US patent law, a Notice of Allowance is the final step before actual patent issuance. It signifies that the US Patent & Trademark Office has conducted its review and has found that the patent should be granted. The MER Group’s WaistcoatTM is currently in use at MER’s new, innovative ship recycling facility in Puerto Rico, and has proven effective in protecting the environment from contaminants that, in conventional vessel scrapping operations, would otherwise have fallen into the water or onto the ground.
“The new EU Ship Recycling Regulation requires that responsible companies in this industry must develop methods for capturing, containing and eliminating sources of pollution from the ship breaking process,” noted MER Group Founder and CCO Larry Kahn.
The WaistcoatTM technology is relatively inexpensive to install and use, and the device is able to be re-used on successive vessels undergoing demolition for recycling. MER Group’s research and development staff is pursuing additional processes and products to protect the environment while reducing safety risk for vessel recycling workers.
MER Group established their first environmentally-safe ship recycling facility at the former US Naval Base at Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, in January 2016, and currently has 3 vessels and 3 oil rigs under or awaiting processing.
An estimated 75% of the vessels culled from the world’s commercial fleet end up at yards in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh where the vessels are run aground for demolition and scrapping. There were 768 vessels scrapped world-wide in 2015, with projections for further vessel demolitions rising due to the delivery of larger container vessels into the global container fleet, and a surplus of capacity.
“We hope to dramatically change the way the vessel scrapping industry treats the environment and its workers for the better,” said Mr. Kahn.
Source: American Journal of Transportation. 20 October 2016