BIMCO and ICS publish first industry standard on underwater hull cleaning

According to the industry standard, at least 90% of the macro fouling must be captured by the cleaning company, and effluent water coming back into the sea must have removed organisms and materials down to a ‘microscopic size’.

Organisms growing on a ship can increase its drag through the water and reduce fuel efficiency of by as much as 35%, leading to higher fuel costs and higher CO2 emissions.

John Stawpert, Manager (Environment and Trade) at the International Chamber of Shipping, said the new standard ‘establishes a benchmark for safe and environmentally sound underwater hull cleaning, an issue that is of increasing concern to the international community. We hope that this first step by industry bodies will allow cleaning companies to demonstrate that their products protect the marine environment, and that shipowners can be confident that their ships are cleaned to a safe and effective level around the world.

‘With these industry standards port authorities can also have confidence that underwater hull cleaning can be completed with minimal risk to the environment by independently approved cleaning companies working to proven high standards.’

The standard and the accompanying approval procedure is now available on the BIMCO and ICS websites.

The next step is to implement the standard on a small scale and several shipping companies have already signed up to participate. The industry will also work to implement the standards with a number of stakeholders, including paint manufacturers, in-water cleaning companies, shipowners, ports, and classification societies.

The new standard covers all stages in between the planning of and actual hull cleaning as well as the management of the effluent. The document also includes an approval procedure for cleaning companies, minimum reporting requirements, and minimum requirements for inspection, service and cleaning reports.

The standard was developed by a coalition of companies and organisations including:  Akzo Nobel, BIMCO, C-Leanship, CMA Ships, DG Diving Group, Fleet Cleaner, Hapag-Lloyd, Hempel, HullWiper, International Association of Classification Societies, International Chamber of Shipping, Minerva Shipping, Portland Port (UK), the Port of Rotterdam and PPG Coatings.

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes