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Australia to implement mandatory biofouling management requirements

Published: 03 February 2022

From 15 June 2022, international ships arriving in Australia will have to comply with new requirements for managing biofouling. This will include biofouling reporting requirements prior to arriving in Australian territorial seas.

In about four months, Australia will require all ships that enter or intend to enter Australian territory to comply with its mandatory Biofouling requirements.

The Biosecurity Amendment (Biofouling Management) Regulations 2021, which come into force on 15 June 2022, will require ships to report information about biofouling management and the voyage history of the ship in the past 12 months through a ship’s pre-arrival report.

From 15 June 2022 to 15 December 2023, an education first approach will be taken, however, powers under the Biosecurity Act 2015 will continue to be used to manage unacceptable biosecurity risk associated with biofouling.

Ship operators will need to provide information on biofouling management to the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) prior to arrival.

According to Australia, the new policy is consistent with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2011 Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Biofouling to Minimize the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species. It is therefore anticipated that Australia will expect international ships to comply with the IMO guidelines including implementing a biofouling management plan (BFMP) and carrying records in a biofouling record book (BFRB).

Australia has also announced that information provided by the ships will be used to target and conduct physical inspections.

Ship operators may receive fewer physical inspections for biofouling if they comply with one of the following three accepted biofouling management practices:

Implementation of an effective biofouling management plan; or

Cleaned all biofouling within 30 days prior to arriving in Australian territory; or

Implementation of an alternative biofouling management method pre-approved by the department.


More information on the same can be found in the following links

  1. Mandatory biofouling requirements in Australia
  2. Australian commercial vessel biofouling guidelines
  3. Maritime Arrivals Reporting Scheme (MARS)


Ashok Srinivasan


Ashok Srinivasan

Manager, Maritime Safety & Security

Singapore, Singapore