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Ports sector called on to help fight against biofouling

A RECENT meeting of the GloFouling Partnership project’s Global Industry Alliance has called on the ports sector to help combat ocean pollution caused by micro-plastics, biofouling, chemicals and macro-organisms.

The GloFouling Partnership is an international project led by the International Maritime Organization. It aims to address the transfer of harmful aquatic species through biofouling in developing regions.

The project’s Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosafety currently comprises organisational members who aim to act on IMO efforts to protect marine biodiversity and decarbonise shipping

“Global Industry Alliance members have noted increasing evidence of biological material, microplastics and chemicals found in wastes generated by in-water cleaning of anti-fouling paints and coatings,” IMO said in a statement.

“This trend in pollution could negatively impact the marine environment if it continues to grow, prompting the Global Industry Alliance to make this an area of future work.”

Participants at the hybrid meeting also discussed the ongoing impact of ships’ biofouling on greenhouse gas emissions and the status of a short documentary to increase awareness of good biofouling management.

“Meeting attendees highlighted the need for greater participation by the ports sector in discussions about biofouling,” the IMO said.

“As ports control in-water cleaning of ships on their premises, they are key players in biofouling management and would bring greater expertise and resources to the work of the Global Industry Alliance for Marine Biosafety.”

Many of the topics discussed at the meeting are expected to be a focus on the second R&D Forum and Exhibition on Biofouling Prevention and Management for Maritime Industries, to be held in London in October.

The IMO said the Global Industry Alliance is currently seeking to recruit new members from within the ports sector.

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