Industry leaders to focus on GHG reduction potential of biofouling management

The first meeting of the Global Industry Alliance (GIA) for Marine Biosafety Task Force has identified the four work streams that will govern its actions during the next years with a view to address two key global environmental issues: the loss of marine biodiversity and climate change. Thus, the GIA will aim to improve and provide clarity to the regulatory, technical, environmental and operational aspects of biofouling management, with the overall objective of promoting innovative solutions that can improve how marine biofouling is handled.

Within this framework, participants in the meeting further agreed that the first GIA activity will focus on analysing the impact of biofouling on the hydrodynamic resistance and energy efficiency of ships. Biofouling is the accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae, or small animals on ship hulls, that increases surface roughness and its frictional resistance, and ultimately increases fuel consumption and total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With this initiative, the GIA aims at providing clarity on how improved biofouling management measures can contribute to the energy efficiency of ships and estimate its GHG abatement potential for the shipping industry.

The GIA is an initiative of IMO’s GloFouling Partnerships project, that brings together private sector companies from a wide range of ocean-based industries such as shipping, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas, that are willing to lead their respective sectors towards sustainable and practical solutions that can facilitate the implementation of biofouling management regulations.

During the meeting, held on 20 October, Mr. Jose Matheickal, Chief of IMO’s Department of Partnerships and Projects, highlighted the importance of the work to be carried out by GIA for Marine Biosafety “the work is of great importance to the biosecurity and GHG strategies of IMO. I am very confident that this will be a very fruitful cooperation and bring amazing results. I am also confident that it will become the most important private-public partnership for addressing marine biosecurity issues.”


The newly elected Chair of the GIA, Mr. Darren R. Jones of Sonihull - NRG Marine Ltd., highlighted the importance of partnerships like the GIA in contributing to the solutions required to decarbonize the maritime transport sector, describing these types of alliances as an innovative approach, with the ability to provide great support to IMO in the implementation of the Initial GHG Strategy.


Mr. Jones emphasized the importance of the GIA in catalysing change within all maritime industries. “It is important that we look to reduce the cost of biofouling management by following good biofouling management practices and contribute to improved business models. I am delighted that the GIA will work to identify the gaps and the best solutions to achieve this goal.”


More marine industry representatives are called to join the GIA and contribute to the efforts of this group of pioneering private sector leaders. Follow the link for more information: https://www.glofouling.imo.org/gia

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