Because of this, we were involved in the development of the IMO guidelines from the outset, participating actively in working groups convened by the organisation through the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC).
These guidelines are not mandatory – but they do outline what best practice looks like for owners and operators wishing to stay ahead of the curve.
This looks like the smart choice, as many countries and regions are beginning to move ahead of the IMO and introduce their own biofouling regulations. For example, from May 2018, New Zealand will require all vessels that arrive in its waters to have ‘clean hulls’, with varying levels of fouling acceptable depending on the vessel’s itinerary. This region has also seen the world's first biofouling “casualty” as the bulk carrier DL Marigold was turned away having been deemed an invasive species risk.
The state of California has also tightened up its regulations on biofouling to include the mandatory biofouling management of a vessel’s wetted surfaces. Vessels are subject to California’s biofouling management requirements as follows:
- New Vessels: Upon delivery on or after January 1, 2018
- Existing Vessels: Upon completion of the first regularly scheduled out-of-water maintenance on or after January 1, 2018
The California biofouling management requirements include:
- Developing and maintaining a Biofouling Management Plan
- Developing and maintaining a Biofouling Record Book
- Biofouling management of wetted surfaces and niche areas
- Specific requirements for vessels with extended residency periods of 45 or more days
Through the American Coatings Association, AkzoNobel was actively and successfully involved in lobbying for California to adopt guidelines closely aligned to the IMO approach, as their original proposal was very different and would have been significantly more burdensome on ship owners and operators.