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Biofouling Management

Biofouling Management is a natural process whereby biofilms of various organisms form on artificial surfaces that are constantly submerged. It is one of the world's major environmental concerns and a problem that directly affects the maritime industry.

From an economic point of view, the main concern for the maritime industry is the increase in fuel consumption due to increased hydrodynamic drag, as biofouling decreases the vessel's ability to break surface tension.  Depending on the type of vessel, fuel consumption can increase by 40% per year over the usual expenditure, i.e. an increase of more than 120 million tons for a commercial fleet, which in US dollars can amount to more than 30 billion per year, in addition to the difficulties caused by global inflation.

From a technical point of view, biofouling also affects the maneuverability of the ship, as it occurs on the surface of the propellers and causes corrosion problems on the steel surfaces of ships, which also leads to increased maintenance costs.

 

In environmental terms, the main problems can be defined around two axes. One is the increased contribution of greenhouse gases due to the increased use of fuel. And the second is the transport of species, which causes serious alterations to ecosystems and even poses health risks, as exotic species can act as a means of spreading diseases.

The growing problem of biofouling has triggered international action with legal and research initiatives in constant introspection, with the aim of finding highly effective solutions. To this purpose, the International Maritime Organization IMO publishes in 2011 guidelines for the control and management of biofouling from ships to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species through resolution MEPC.207 (62).

 

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Currently, the IMO continues its efforts to guide better control and management of the problem of Biofouling Management, together with the efforts of various nations that are making progress in their internal regulations, such as New Zealand (Vessel Risk Management Standard for Biofouling Management CRMS, 2014), Australia (implementation of the regulation in 2015), and the United States (National Management Plans developed by the USCG Coast Guard, Incidental Release Act of 2018, EPA regulations and regulations at the state level, such as California.

BioMarine services joins the global efforts to control the biofouling problem and launches its underwater inspection program with the purpose of helping our clients to effectively manage biofouling by detecting, identifying and planning proactive and preventive actions.

Products and services:

- Biofouling Underwater Inspection

- Development of biofouling management plans for vessels.

- Underwater inspection for Underwater-cleanup companies.

- Assessment of ship hulls and offshore structures.

BioMarine Services closely follows development at IMO in an effort to amend the IMO Biofouling guidelines. We are also involved in R&D activities to understand Biofouling Management impact on fish farming and renewable energy.

Photo credit; IMO GloFouling partnership

Biofouling Management Guidelines MEPC378(80) PDF

1.Patel, D;  Solanki, J.D.; Patel, K. C. & Nataraj, M.;.2021. Chapter 13. Application of biosurfactants as antifoulinf agent. Green Sustainable Process for Chemical and Environmental Engineering and Science. Biosurfactants for the Bioremediation of Polluted Environments. Pages 275-289. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-822696-4.00004-8.

2. Ferreira-Vancato, Y.C.S.; Dantas, F., L.; Fleury. B. G. 2020. Chapter 13. Nanobiocides Against Marine Biofouling. Studies in Natural Products Chemistry. Volume 67. Pages 463—514. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-819483-6.00013-8.

3. Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). 2008. Marine Biofouling: An Assessment os Risks and Management Initiatives. Compiled by Lynn Jackson on behalf of the Global Invasive Species Programme and the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. 68pp.

4. AmericaBarAssociation (ABA). 2022. Maritime and Environmental Law Crossroads: The Intensifying Problem of Biofouling and Preventative Measures. TortSource Winter 2022: Admiralty and Maritime Law. Febreary 16, 2022 publication on Web Site.  https://www.americanbar.org/groups/tort_trial_insurance_practice/publications/tortsource/2022/winter/maritime-and-environmental-law-crossroads-intensifying-problem-biofouling-and-preventative-measures/#:~:text=in%20September%202021.-,Biofouling%20is%20the%20build%2Dup%20of%20organisms%20on%20the%20surfaces,the%20vessel's%20C02%20emissions%20increase.

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