Ballast Tank Descaling

Ballast Tank Descaling

Ballast Tank Descaling – Magnesium Ribbon for Rapid Descaling

Descaling ballast tanks with magnesium ribbon provides shipowners and managers with a cost-effective solution to what might otherwise be a labor intensive operation.

The procedure (descaling) utilises magnesium ribbon, a continuous size of extruded high purity magnesium of rectangular shape with a steel wire insert.

Magnesium’s natural and specific alloy properties make it the perfect tool for handling ballast tank corrosion scales. Magnesium anode alloys has the highest driving voltage by far, compared to zinc and aluminium. Combining magnesium with a narrow and long shape, will promote a high current output and spread of current. The magnesium ribbon can with ease be mounted within the ballast tank.

This is how it works:

  • Connecting the magnesium anode to the ballast tank walls will create a big potential difference and create a high driving voltage
  • The potential difference that occur, will make the scales and most corrosion products fall off. Any loose paint or soft coatings will also be loosened if not adhered to the steel works.
  • Let the magnesium anodes be attached to the steel work for at least: 10 days with higher salinity and 14 days if lower. It is very important that you keep your ballast to the highest levels to ensure a proper result.
  • When complete, detach the anodes and keep until next time. Change when there is less than 50 % left.
  • When all the anodes are removed, the descaling operation has been completed. Now, all the loose scale on the bottom of the tank must be removed. After completed process, the tank should be ready for coating and installation of a suitable cathodic protection system.

Benefits when descaling with magnesium ribbon anodes:

  • No labour intense process of descaling with staging or shot blasting equipment.
  • Easy material to work with, light in weight.
  • Less hours needed; this means lower costs.
Wire anodes


Please be advised,

Special safety percussions need to be taken when descaling with magnesium anodes, please contact us for more information.
As a rule of thumb, about one metre of magnesium ribbon will be required for each three sqm of surface within the tank.

Material used in the descaling process:

Magnesium ribbon anode

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