Fleet Cleaner hull cleaning robot at the Port of Rotterdam. Image: Fleet Cleaner
A backlash against underwater hull cleaning risks increasing bunker consumption along with the associated emissions, BIMCO has warned.
"Today, underwater cleaning is only allowed in a few locations around the world, and there is a trend for coastal and port states to tighten their rules for underwater cleaning, as well as an increase in ports prohibiting it all together," says BIMCO, who is heading a working group of eight different organisations looking to establish an international standard for underwater hull cleaning.
"This may increase emissions from shipping as fouling increases the fuel consumption or in worst case force the ship to change its route."
Aron Frank Sørensen, BIMCO
a standard that is safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable, will encourage States to make more places for underwater hull cleaning
The group, that includes paint manufacturers, ship owners, and cleaning companies, aim to have the standard finalized in the autumn of 2019.
"We believe that a standard that is safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable, will encourage States to make more places for underwater hull cleaning available," says Aron Frank Sørensen who heads the working group and heads BIMCO's Marine Technology and Regulation.
"Everyone will benefit from it. The cleaning companies will benefit because they will have certain standards to live up to, the ports because they can rest assured that the environment is not polluted by cleaning residues, the paint manufacturers because reporting will be standardized, improving the quality of execution, and the shipowners because they will have more places available for underwater cleaning, once the entire process is regulated and safe."