Loss Prevention 28 Feb, 2022

Australia - New Mandatory Biofouling Management Requirements for International Vessels

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (AWE) is implementing new requirements for managing biofouling on international vessels arriving in Australia, which will come into force on 15 June 2022.

All vessels will be required to provide information about their onboard protocols for managing biofouling before arriving in Australian territorial seas and will need to report to the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS). The pre-arrival report will require the following as per Biosecurity Amendment (Biofouling Management) Regulations 2021:

  1. Details of any inspections of the vessel for biofouling, cleaning of biofouling or treatment for biofouling undertaken before the vessel arrives in Australian territory;

  2. Details of any inspections of the vessel for biofouling, cleaning of biofouling or treatment for biofouling intended while the vessel is in Australian territory;

  3. Practices included in any plan of biofouling management for the vessel that is currently in use; and

  4. Details of the voyage history of the vessel in the past 12 months.

There are three acceptable biofouling management practices that will permit compliance with the new regulations:

  1. Implementation of an effective biofouling management plan; or

  2. Cleaned all biofouling within 30 days before arriving in Australian territory; or

  3. Implementation of an alternative biofouling management method pre-approved by the department.

The AWE has yet to advise on the accepted biofouling management practices, which they have announced will be available soon. Therefore, we recommend that the Members follow best practices as per IMO Resolution MEPC.207(62) - 2011 Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Biofouling to Minimize the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species.

Further advice on how to deal with biofouling, including the requirements in New Zealand, can be seen in our news article "Hull Coatings - A Slippery Subject". Additionally, AWE has produced guidelines on Anti-fouling and In-Water Cleaning.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention Department.