Enabling best practice in oil and water separation

Sludge Buoy est. 2001


The Sludge Buoy System

Imagine a hassle-free separation of sludge oil from your bilge water. Now get to know the Sludge Buoy System.

We know by experience the challenge. Bilge water must be cleaned to contain less than 15 ppm oil before being discharged to the sea.

Traditionally this is a time-consuming process where the tanks need drainage prior to the separation. In worst case scenario, free oil entering the oily water separator (OWS) will cause a shut-down, demanding expensive replacement and disposal of filter media or absorption filters.

Instead, stop worrying about back-flushing of filter steps and generation of oily and whipped water. Experience problem free incineration without the extra sludge oil separator. Land sludge oil directly, without interruptions, and not water. Prolong the lifespan of your OWS and ultimately your vessel.

Finally, appreciate this without making an effort.

The Sludge Buoy handles itself. The easy installation, the instant and never ending separation of next to pure oil from the bilge water and minimal maintenance will make you forget about your earlier issues.

This is your bilge water separator's new best friend. Order your patented Sludge Buoy System today.

The movie

Observe the Turbulo Sludge Buoy in action and get acquainted with its functions.

This is Sludge Buoy

Sludge Buoy floats inside the sludge oil or bilge water tank. It follows every motion of your vessel making the separation of oil and water constant. Neither does it require maintenance nor takes up space in your engine room.

The Sludge Buoy System is easily installed aboard the ship inside an existing sludge oil or bilge water tank. The fastening device allows it to float in the liquid layer where the free oil is situated, without interruption from e.g. rough seas. The result is an instant and never ending free oil and water separation process that ultimately prolongs the life of your bilge water separator.

Read more

Sludge Buoy is developed to follow and perfect bilge water separator manufacturers' best practice handling bilge water: skim the free oil off the bilge water first. If not, free oil entering the bilge separator will in worst case scenario cause a shut-down, demanding expensive replacement and disposal of filter media or absorption filters.

The separation has traditionally been conducted via penetrations at different levels in the tank or by draining the tank before pumping out the free oil. Our hands-on experience has taught us that these are not effective solutions. The level in the tank is constantly changing and the penetrations are fixed at one side, making the skimming effect insignificant. It raises the risk of free oil entering the bilge separator. In worst case scenario the result would be a shut-down, demanding expensive replacement and disposal of filter media or absorption filters.

The Sludge Buoy however is fitted with a special fastening device that allows it to float freely on the immediate surface; it will follow all motions of the vessel and always stay at a 90° angle to the content inside the tank. 

Sludge Buoy works 15 - 20 mm from the top liquid layer ensuring water free oil being pumped out.

Therefor Sludge Buoy:

  • saves time: it does not require a possible demand for drainage of the tank prior to the oil and water separation.
  • will enhance the efficiency and extend the lifetime of bilge water separator units, as well as the vessel.
  • will extract oil completely without free water ready for incineration.
  • will not be disrupted in case of rough sea: the separation is constant.

The Sludge Buoy

The Sludge Buoy has a maximum capacity, depending on the fluid viscosity, of 6m³ per hour for separating free oil from water.

The Sludge Buoy Mini

The Mini is the obvious choice in tanks where the space is limited. The Sludge Buoy Mini has a diameter of only 460 mm but still a maximum capacity of pumping 4 m³ free oil / hour.

Minimal maintenance

Sludge Buoy requires very little maintenance. No additional maintenance beyond normal tank inspections is needed.

The only maintenance required is cleaning and changing of the suction hose annually or semiannually depending on the temperature inside the tank. The maintenance is recommended to be conducted at the same time when the tank is opened for scheduled tank cleaning and inspection.

High quality materials

The Sludge Buoy System is made of high quality materials to reach our standard of maximum performance and durability in the harsh environment. Additionally, low maintenance is required. 

We only use stainless steel 316 L and all parts are laser cut for a perfect fit.

All plastic parts are made from a special purpose fibre glass resin. The material is specifically chosen for its excellent mechanical properties combined with a high heat resistance to withstand the harsh environment inside the tanks.

Spare parts

In the designing of Sludge Buoy great care has been taken to keep down the number of components. The moving parts have been cut down to an absolute minimum in order to have a maintenance free system.

If however some spare parts or email contact is needed, the terminology with the corresponding numbers found in the support section is recommended to be used.


Fast and easy installation

Besides being extremely effective, the Sludge Buoy does not require any certificates and is easily installed.

Installation in existing sludge oil or bilge water tanks is easily done by the ship's own crew during normal inspection or cleaning of the tank.


The device is fitted with a Cardan type fastening device. If welding inside the tank is impossible, a special clamp is fitted instead with no welding needed. Existing piping systems are encouraged to be used as far as possible.

The Sludge Buoy is deliberately designed small enough to fit a tank's manhole.

High and double bottom tanks

Thanks to the Cardan type fastening device, Sludge Buoy will follow all motions of the vessel and remain at a 90° angle to the content inside the tank. The device is fitted to the tank ceiling, either by a clamp or by welding. We can provide different length of the Guide Rod, hence the Sludge Buoy will fit into nearly all types of tanks.

The Sludge Buoy uses gravity to extract the oil from the water in high tanks. In double bottom tanks however an external pump is necessary.

Please find examples of different installations below and read more in the manual.

High Tank Installations


Double Bottom Installations


Environmental enhancement

Enhance your environmental performance. The Sludge Buoy contribute to constant improvements according to ISO 14001.

In 2004, the product won the Royal Caribbean Cruises' Best Environmental Innovation of the Year Award.


The Sludge Buoy manual.