Biofouling management

Overview

BIMCO's position on "Biofouling management" has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.

Background

In October 2001, the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It sets forth requirements to prevent direct adverse impact on the environment from use of anti-fouling systems on ships. In July 2011, IMO also adopted a set of Guidelines to provide a globally consistent approach to managing biofouling reduction. In 2019, a revision of the IMO Guidelines was initiated.

High levels of fouling on a ship's hull and propeller significantly increases its drag resulting in poorer hydrodynamic performance and increased fuel consumption, which has a negative effect on a ship’s GHG emissions. There is therefore a strong economic as wells as an environmental incentive to combat biofouling.

Anti-fouling systems cannot maintain a fouling-free surface, so in-water cleaning between dry-dockings is required. There is a lack of in-water hull cleaning facilities worldwide. Some countries have adopted local regulations on hull cleaning prohibition, thus making in-water hull cleaning very difficult if not impossible. 

In January 2021, an industry group led by BIMCO published the "Industry standard on in-water cleaning with capture" and the "Approval procedure" for in-water cleaning companies. The documents help  to increase the quality and safety of in-water cleaning and ensure  in-water cleaning is carried out in an efficient and environmentally sustainable way.

BIMCO’s position

  • BIMCO is concerned about the increase in unilateral initiatives to legislate on biofouling, as they open up for potentially discriminatory and impractical regulations for the industry.
  • BIMCO supports the development of mandatory IMO regulation on biofouling based on the IMO’s guidelines provided ships can be ensured access to in-water cleaning.
  • More areas enabling environmentally sustainable in-water cleaning of hull and propeller should be allowed by coastal and port states.
  • BIMCO supports the development of innovative technologies such as ultrasonic anti-fouling and nano-structured surfaces.
  • BIMCO supports the GloFouling project funded by the UN and executed by the IMO to help implement the IMO guidelines on biofouling in developing coastal states.
  • BIMCO recommends the use of its Hull Fouling Clause for Time Charter Parties 2019. The Clause suspends the owners’ speed and performance warranty after an agreed period of time sitting idle on charterers’ orders until the hull has been inspected and, if necessary, cleaned at the charterers’ expense.

 

Rasmus Nord Jorgensen
in Copenhagen, DK

VPS Bunker Alerts

Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.

The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

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