Following the adoption of the 2023 Biofouling Guidelines, BIMCO and ICS in consultation with industry experts have undertaken a review of the existing Approval process for in-water cleaning.
n particular, BIMCO and ICS have publicised the Procedure for independent testing and certification of in-water cleaning companies which focuses on providing confidence in in-water cleaning systems’ capability to effectively capture waste substances with the intention of facilitating more access to in-water cleaning worldwide.
According to Aron Soerensen, Head of Marine Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark, biofouling management is a well-known and important issue for shipowners because biofouling has both the potential to transfer invasive aquatic species and to increase a ship’s drag in the water. This increased drag significantly reduces the hydrodynamic performance of a ship, which increases its fuel consumption, thereby impacting the ship’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The 2023 Biofouling Guidelines recently adopted by the IMO recommend in-water cleaning with capture when observing macrofouling and it is considered to be an important component of biofouling management. Access to in-water cleaning around the world is therefore becoming more of an imperative.
The Procedure for independent testing and certification of in-water cleaning companies updates the now retired approval process with the revision specifically focuses on providing confidence in in-water cleaning systems’ capability to effectively capture waste substances.
Subject to fulfilling all the requirements stipulated in the approval procedure, a cleaning company could be certified by a competent organisation to demonstrate it can clean different areas on the ship safely and efficiently without any negative impacts on the environment.
The procedure was updated based on experience with today’s practice of testing in-water cleaners with the overarching aims:
- To provide a quality indication for shipowners that when using certified in-water cleaning companies, to avoid the paint being damaged and the cleaning being effective
- To form an ambitious but practical way of testing in-water cleaners that capture waste substances during cleaning
- To prevent pollution and spreading of invasive species during cleaning thereby provide assurances to ports and thus lead to more states allowing cleaning within their waters.