21 Sep 2022
Authored by: Simon Doran, HullWiper MD
The health of the planet’s ecosystem is at serious risk. Changes in land and sea use, exploitation, climate change, pollution and the introduction of invasive species are cited as the primary contributing factors by the Natural History Museum, a science research center in the UK. What are we – as individuals and as a collective – doing about it?
To encourage a green shift in how we treat the planet, there are many community-related programs which we can participate in. Even though it is impossible to support every environmental cause, a choice still needs to be made. You can either take part in at least one initiative and affect change, or you can sit idly by and watch what happens.
On a global scale, businesses, governments, and other organisations have begun implementing sustainable practices and regulations that, to put it simply, make the choice for us. And it’s one we should support as it is a necessary step toward a sustainable future.
For those of us in the shipping industry, you will be familiar with some published recommendations for the control of invasive aquatic species (IAS) such as the IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines and BIMCO’s guidelines on IWC (in-water cleaning) with capture. But, to date, there is no international regulation or standard for the effective removal of biofouling on vessel hulls. The Clean Hull Initiative (CHI) aims to change this.
Keeping it clean
The goal of CHI is to create and work toward the adoption of an industry-wide accepted standard for proactive hull cleaning in international shipping (thanks Runa Skarbø). The initiative was launched in 2021 by Norway-based Bellona, a non-profit environmental foundation, and industry partner Jotun, a leading marine and protective coatings manufacturer.
Frederic Hauge, the founder of Bellona, says that biofouling is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. It is expensive for the industry and is to blame for tens of millions of extra tons of shipping-related emissions.
CHI believes that proactive biofouling management should be a priority for regulators, shipping companies, ports, coatings manufacturers, technology and service providers, as well as academic and research institutions. The collaboration and agreement of key players in the maritime industry, governmental sector and civil society will be crucial success factors to achieve this objective. They will seek to collaborate with businesses and regulators to address environmental concerns on a global scale and to remove any legislative barriers preventing the problem of biofouling from being addressed.
The initiative also aims to reduce the difficulties for the further uptake of emerging proactive hull cleaning technology as a preventative tool and urges ship owners and operators to make proactive hull cleaning an essential part of their biofouling management plan. The value of a proactive approach to hull cleaning from an economic and environmental standpoint was one of the key messages delivered during a recent workshop held courtesy of Hapag Lloyd at their Hamburg head office.
Time and tide wait for no man (Geoffrey Chaucer, English poet and author)
We only have one shot at saving the earth, and if we miss it, we won’t have another.
Proactive has huge advantages over reactive, not least, the continued efficiency of your ship, and the confidence that your ship is welcome in most if not all ports globally because of your proactive attitude is a sign that the maritime industry is sitting up and taking action, did I already say proactive action?
Photo credit: Hapag-Lloyd AG LinkedIn post