New biofouling mgmt rules for ships visiting Australia

International ships arriving in Australian waters will see a change in how they manage biofouling in 2022.

Illustration. Image by IMO

A change in biofouling policy would have flow-on effects for international shipping, according to Andrew Tongue, Deputy Secretary at Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

“Biofouling is the term we use for organisms – like clams, crabs, mussels or plants – that attach to ships and grow in places like the hull, propellers, bow thrusters and rudders,” Tongue said.

“In order to reduce the risk of marine pests establishing themselves in Australia, changes have been made to the Biosecurity Regulation 2016. On 15 June 2022, all vessels subject to biosecurity control will be required to provide information relating to biofouling management practices before they arrive in Australia,” he added.

Australia will phase the introduction of new requirements. From 15 June 2022 to 15 December 2023 an education first approach will be taken for the Australian biofouling management requirements. However, powers under the Biosecurity Act 2015 will continue to be used to manage unacceptable biosecurity risk.

“Just by introducing this small requirement, we can incentivise best practice to manage biofouling for all ships coming to Australia, and allow the department to focus our resources on managing risks.”

“Simple steps can make a huge difference in how we can manage biosecurity in Australia. Biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility, and we all have a role to play in keeping Australia safe from pests, weeds and disease,” Tongue concluded.

The introduction of the new rules will bring Australia into line with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2011 biofouling guidelines.

The guidelines are intended to provide a globally consistent approach to the management of biofouling.

Related Articles