28 Nov 2019
HullWiper chaired expert panel discussions on biofouling, invasive marine species, the IMO Glofouling Partnership Project and biofouling solutions.
The annual Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) organised by the World Ocean Council (WOC) brought together the world’s leading voices on ocean sustainability with a focus on Corporate Ocean Responsibility in Paris this November. Among them was HullWiper Ltd’s General Manager Laurance Langdon who chaired an expert panel discussion on biofouling, invasive species, the IMO GloFouling Project and biofouling solutions.
The WOC, a global ocean industry leadership alliance, addresses cross-cutting issues affecting ocean sustainable development, science and stewardship of the seas.*
”We are in the midst of a shipping revolution, and change is visible on many fronts - ballast water management, sulphur cap, ambitious CO2 targets, new fuels, new regulations,” says Langdon. “Invasive marine species have been a cause for concern for the sector for hundreds of years, but it is only in the past 2-3 decades that we have begun to really understand its economic and environmental impact.”
One of the key focuses for discussion was the Glofouling Partnership Project, the ongoing International Maritime Organisation (IMO) led initiative to introduce a global guideline for management of biofouling. The active participation of many working groups and associations from throughout the industry clearly signals how important a subject for debate it is becoming.
Langdon stresses that the risk of irreversible damage to our oceans ecosystem is high. “In many places around the world, it is already too late, so it is important that all ocean stakeholders have a voice in the discussion to ensure the best solutions are put in place.”
There are already solutions available to the threat of invasive marine species and changes are being made in line with the IMO’s project. Coating companies are developing organic coatings, there are improved ship designs, in-water hull cleaning will become globally regulated, and ROVs like HullWiper are cleaning ships in ways that protect both the environment and human life (by not involving divers). Ports worldwide are demanding greater visibility from incoming ships to reduce the risk and are banning in water cleaning methods which do not capture the biofouling.
Platforms like the Sustainable Ocean Summit provide the opportunity to educate and allow cross-sector discussion, with high level speakers generating a wider interest and understanding of needs to be done to help the oceans and alleviate the burden human activity puts on them.
Photo caption - far right: Laurance Langdon, HullWiper General Manager.