Photo: Illustration; Image by Navingo

Global alliance on combating biofouling gets two more members

South Korean shipping and marine supplier Tas Global Co., Ltd and water software development firm DHI Water and Environment have joined the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) for Marine Biosafety, an initiative launched in June 2020 by the IMO GloFouling Partnerships project.

The initiative works to promote collaboration with the private sector to address two of the most pressing environmental issues of today: invasive species and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The alliance aims to accelerate the development and dissemination of technological solutions to improve the management of marine biofouling, as well as facilitation of industry input into policy developments and a positive pull for reform processes.

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Biofouling is the build-up of aquatic organisms, such as algae or small animals, on marine surfaces that can lead to the introduction of potentially invasive species to new environments, where they may threaten native species and cause irreversible damage to biodiversity. 

Biofouling can increase the drag of ships by up to 40%, forcing them to burn more fuel to maintain speed and increase their GHG emissions.

The new members of the GIA join forces with an expanding group of leading private sector firms representing a wide range of maritime industries affected by biofouling, including shipping, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas and ocean renewable energies.

Con Strydom, Managing Director (Australia) of DHI Water and Environment, highlighted that “the cost of eradicating invasive marine species after they have established in a marine environment is far higher than preventing their invasion in the first place.”

“IMO’s GHG emissions strategy deadline of 2050 will approach fast and, therefore, we need to act now. Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosafety provides a platform for various industry members to come together and seek solutions to help achieve this goal,” said Strydom.

The GIA now has seven members. The founding members include CleanSubSea, ECOsubsea, HullWiper and Sonihull as well as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The first GIA Task Force meeting is planned at the end of October, where members will convene to discuss and kick-off the GIA work. More marine industry representatives are expected to join before the meeting.