Mediterranean countries are undergoing IMO training on the impacts of anti-fouling systems and ships’ biofouling on the marine environment at a workshop in Valletta, Malta (12-14 November).
The event is raising awareness of IMO’s Anti-Fouling Systems (AFS) Convention and Biofouling Guidelines – what it means to implement them, and, in the case of the AFS Convention, the requirements and benefits of ratification and enforcement.
Biofouling is the build-up of aquatic organisms on a ship’s underwater hull and structures. It can be responsible for introducing potentially invasive non-native aquatic species to new environments and can also slow a ship down and impact negatively on its energy efficiency.
Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of ships to prevent biofouling. The AFS Convention, which has been in force for more than ten years, prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints and establishes a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems.
Fifteen participants from 8 countries* are taking part in the workshop, which included a site visit to a dry dock. During the visit, participants witnessed practical examples of niche areas and other exposed underwater parts of the hull of a ship that are important for biofouling management, including the effective application of anti-fouling systems.
The workshop, co-organized and hosted by REMPEC, is part of efforts under the GEF-UNDP-IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project, which aims to establish regional partnerships and cooperation agreements to address marine biofouling issues.
* Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Spain, and Tunisia