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Policy and Practice Reviews ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Mar. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00467

Vessel in-water cleaning or treatment: Identification of environmental risks and science needs for evidence-based decision making

  • 1Marine Invasive Species Program, California State Lands Commission, United States
  • 2Science and Risk Assessment Directorate, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand

The accumulation of aquatic organisms on the wetted surfaces of vessels (i.e., vessel biofouling) negatively impacts world-wide shipping through reductions in vessel performance and fuel efficiency, and increases in emissions. Vessel biofouling is also a potent mechanism for the introduction and spread of marine non-indigenous species. Guidance and regulations from the International Maritime Organization, New Zealand, and California have recently been adopted to address biosecurity risks, primarily through preventive management. However, appropriate reactive management measures may be necessary for some vessels. Vessel in-water cleaning or treatment (VICT) has been identified as an important tool to improve operating efficiency and to reduce biosecurity risks. VICT can be applied proactively (i.e., to prevent the occurrence of, or to remove, microfouling (i.e., slime) or prevent the occurrence of macrofouling organisms - large, distinct multicellular organisms visible to the human eye), or reactively (i.e., to remove macrofouling organisms). However, unmanaged VICT includes its own set of biosecurity and water quality risks. Regulatory policies and technical advice from California and New Zealand have been developed to manage these risks, but there are still knowledge gaps related to the efficacy of available technologies. Research efforts are underway to address these gaps in order to inform the regulatory and non-regulatory application of VICT.

Keywords: Biofouling, In-water cleaning, Copper, California, New Zealand, Vessels, risk, regulation, Marine non-indigenous species

Received: 14 Dec 2018; Accepted: 11 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Daniel Rittschof, Duke University, United States

Reviewed by:

Justin I. McDonald, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development of Western Australia (DPIRD), Australia
Eric Holm, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, United States
Sonia Gorgula, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Australia  

Copyright: © 2019 Scianni and Georgiades. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Chris Scianni, California State Lands Commission, Marine Invasive Species Program, Sacramento, CA 95825, California, United States,