The IMO Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR 10), 24-28 April 2023, approved the revised Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species, following a comprehensive review of the Guidelines.
he Sub–Committee agreed to develop guidance on in-water cleaning at a future session. In this regard, the Sub–Committee recommended to MEPC 80 that the target completion year for the guidance should be extended to 2025, and that it should be renamed as Development of guidance on matters relating to in-water cleaning. The Sub-Committee invited concrete proposals on the separate guidance.
Do you know what biofouling is?
Biofouling is the accumulation of aquatic organisms on wetted or immersed surfaces such as ships and other offshore structures. Good biofouling management can help protect marine biodiversity by preventing the transfer of invasive aquatic species. Keeping a ship’s hull clean can also reduce the ship’s greenhouse gas emissions by improving fuel efficiency.
The 2023 Guidelines, which expand on and update the previous version, with a view to strengthening it and increasing its uptake, will be submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80) for adoption.
The Sub-Committee also invited Member States and international organizations to submit relevant information on best practices for biofouling inspections and cleaning actions to the Organization as it may become available in the future.
The Biofouling Guidelines were first adopted in 2011. The MEPC 72 session (2018) decided to initiate a review, to take into account best practices and experience as well as the latest research. In implementing this review, PPR 8 (2021) agreed that the Guidelines should be revised.
A separate guidance document provides advice relevant to owners and/or operators of recreational craft less than 24 meters in length. (Guidance for minimizing the transfer of invasive aquatic species as biofouling (hull fouling) for recreational craft – MEPC.1/Circ.792).
The GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project and the related TEST (Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies) Biofouling Project, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) support developing countries to implement the Biofouling Guidelines.