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Invasive Species

New IMO Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships' Biofouling to Minimise the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species now approved

   Photograph courtesy of John Lewis,
   ES Link Services.

The new guidelines* which aim to reduce the risk of translocation of invasive aquatic species from 'biofouling' present on immersed areas of ships, are now approved and have been adopted as an IMO Resolution at the Marine Environmental Protection Committee (IMO-MEPC62), July 2011.




Why is guidance on biofouling needed?

Biofouling on the underwater hull and in niche areas of ships can be a significant contributor to the transfer of invasive species.

The now well established International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001 (AFS Convention) focuses on preventing adverse impacts from the use of TBT-based antifoulings, however it does not address the prevention of the transfer of invasive aquatic species.

It also follows on from the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) adopted in 2004 and emphasises the International Maritime Organisation's clear commitment to minimising the transfer of invasive aquatic species by shipping.

The proposals contain management practices for ships and the marine industry and if followed, should reduce the potential for transfer of invasive species via biofouling.

Watch our Regulatory Affairs Manager, Dr Julian Hunter, talk more about the guidelines, ratified at MEPC 62, July 2011.

"Through the International Paint and Printing Ink Council, official observers to IMO and its sub-committees, we have been involved in the development of the guidelines from the outset and have actively participated in working groups convened by IMO."

Dr Julian Hunter

* IMO BLG 15/19 (2011). "Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimise the transfer of invasive aquatic species"

Photographs courtesy of John Lewis, ES Link Services.

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