Australia joins New Zealand and California and requires international vessels to provide information on how biofouling has been proactively managed prior to arriving in its territorial seas. The aim of Australia’s new regulation is to protect marine biodiversity, but maintaining clean vessel hulls will also reduce fuel consumption and help operators to reach their emission reduction targets.

New mandatory biofouling management requirements in Australia

The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) has announced that, beginning 15 June 2022, international vessels trading to Australia will be required to provide information on how biofouling has been managed prior to arriving in Australian territorial seas. This information shall be reported through the Australian Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS).

According to DAWE, the information will be used to target vessel interventions and vessel operators will receive less intervention for biofouling if they comply with one of the following three accepted biofouling management practices:

• Implementation of an effective biofouling management plan; or
• Cleaned all biofouling within 30 days prior to arriving in Australia; or
• Implementation of an alternative biofouling management method pre-approved by the Australian authorities.

DAWE has further announced that it will be taking an educational initial approach to enforcing the new requirements between 15 June 2022 and 15 December 2023. During this period, focus will be on providing education and advice to ship operators with the aim of minimizing unintentionally incorrect pre-arrival reporting and improve the effectiveness of biofouling management plans. However, powers under the Australian Biosecurity Act 2015 will continue to be used to manage unacceptable biosecurity risks associated with biofouling.

The Australian regulations and associated guidance documents can be downloaded from the DAWE website: Managing biofouling in Australia. In addition, an import industry advice notice was issued on 17 May 2022.


The biodiversity threat

The introduction of invasive aquatic species (IAS) associated with global shipping has been identified as a significant threat to the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems. A multitude of species, carried either in vessels’ ballast water or on vessels’ hulls, are capable of surviving transit to new environments where they may become invasive by multiplying and out-competing native species. Not all species transported by vessels will become invasive, and not all survive the journey. However, it is difficult to predict which species may arrive and where and when an introduced species will start to spread by itself into new areas and damage the local ecosystem. Even species that originally do not seem harmful may become invasive if environmental conditions such as temperature and nutrients change. Management practices that prevent the introduction of IAS are therefore a far more efficient and cost-effective approach to the problem than clean-ups once an invasive species has established in a new area.

While the risk posed by IAS in vessels’ ballast water is now regulated internationally under the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention, the control of vessel biofouling remains largely voluntary. As a result, individual governments develop their own strategies and policies to reduce the introduction of foreign species from bio fouling of vessels’ hull. The most comprehensive biofouling management policies to date are those of New Zealand and the US State of California – and now they will be joined by Australia.

An underestimated cost for vessel operators and the environment?

Biofouling growth on vessels’ hulls is not only a threat to marine biodiversity but also a long-standing operational problem for the maritime industry. Its impact on vessel speed and propulsion, and ultimately fuel consumption and atmospheric emissions, is well documented. A recent report by the GloFouling Partnership Project even concludes that the perceived impact of ships’ biofouling on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is likely to have been historically underestimated by the shipping community. For example:
A layer of slime as thin as 0.5 mm and covering up to 50% of a hull surface can trigger an increase of GHG emissions in the range of 20 to 25%, depending on ship characteristics, speed, and other prevailing conditions.

For more severe biofouling conditions, such as a light layer of small calcareous growth (barnacles or tubeworms), an average length container ship can see an increase in GHG emissions of up to 55%, dependent on ship characteristics and speed.

Besides increased fuel costs and potential cost-intensive hull cleaning required by port authorities, there are also other biofouling-related economic implications for vessel operators. Extensive vessel biofouling can increase engine wear and affect intakes and internal seawater systems, requiring earlier and more frequent maintenance and asset management costs than would otherwise be needed. Some even argue that reduced vessel speed and longer voyages mean increasing crew costs relative to the distance of travel routes.

Regulations, standards and practices

According to a report published by the IMO in January 2022 (PPR 9/INF.24), inconsistency in biofouling and in-water cleaning policies creates a major challenge for the shipping industry. While the report identifies several regional, national and sub-national biofouling policies and practices already in place, it also concludes that comprehensive biofouling management policies are not widespread and those that do implement comprehensive policies, such as New Zealand and California, are not consistent.

Of the many guidelines and industry standards relevant to biofouling management, the most wide-ranging are the IMO Biofouling Guidelines. These non-mandatory guidelines aim to provide a globally consistent approach to the management of biofouling and include best practice recommendations for minimising biofouling. A key component of the guidelines is the preparation of ship-specific biofouling management plans (BFMP) and biofouling record books (BFRB). There are also specific recommendations for what to include in a BFMP and BFRB, and a template for each. This documentation is also the cornerstone of many current and proposed national and sub-national biofouling management policies and practices, such as those of New Zealand, California, and more recently, Australia. Provision of this documentation is also expected to be a key requirement under US federal law once the new vessel discharge standards, proposed under its Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA), have been finalized and standards for implementation agreed.

It is also worth noting that:

• The IMO Biofouling Guidelines are currently being reviewed by IMO Member States and a new version is expected to be approved in 2023. The aim is to make the guidelines clearer by being more specific on the recommended biofouling measures, how to implement the measures, as well as on the procedures for inspection and cleaning. The next version of the IMO Biofouling guidelines will remain non-mandatory and will hence not provide specific international rules or standards for the regulation of biofouling management.
• Although there is an obvious relationship between the mandatory IMO Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems (AFS) on Ships and biofouling management, implementation of the Convention does not equate to having a biofouling management policy. The AFS Convention provides a framework to limit the impact of harmful AFS but does not regulate or set performance standards for the AFS.

The time to act is now

Finding the ‘right way’ to handle biofouling can present some challenges as the biofouling risk and management options will be different for each vessel depending on design, operating profile, and trading routes. However, with new biofouling regulations entering into force, and the IMO GHG reduction targets looming on the horizon, we encourage vessel operators to revisit and, if necessary, update their biofouling management procedures. Steps should be taken to ensure regulatory compliance with mandatory biosecurity requirements where in force. An additional benefit is that it will optimize operations in terms of fuel consumption, maintenance frequencies, and emissions into the atmosphere.

Although not all regional biofouling regulations are the same, compliance with the IMO Biofouling Guidelines will go a long way towards allowing access to ports with mandatory biofouling requirements. The establishment of ship specific biofouling management strategies and procedures in the form of BFMPs is key, as is proper onboard record keeping. An up-to-date BFRB will assist port officials to assess a vessel’s potential quickly and efficiently for biofouling risk and thus minimize any delays to its operation.

As individual ports may impose restrictions on in-water cleaning, depending on the methods and chemicals involved, we recommend that operators verify the applicable requirements with the vessel’s local agent well before arrival at the planned location for cleaning. Advice should also be taken from the industry standard on in-water cleaning of ships published by BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
Source: Gard,

Our oceans are a precious source of food, transport, and enjoyment. Clean, safe oceans are vital to our livelihoods, our recreation and to protect marine flora and fauna.

World Oceans Day on Wednesday 8 June is a reminder that marine litter presents a huge problem in our oceans. Plastic pollution results in harmful effects on marine life and biodiversity, as well as negative impacts on human health, tourism and fisheries.

Rules for your garbage

There are some important rules for disposing of garbage that all vessel owners and operators must follow under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). MARPOL is implemented though Australian legislation and Marine Order 95—Marine pollution prevention—garbage.

Vessels over 12 metres must display a garbage sign or ‘placard’ that clearly notifies crew and passengers of laws associated with the discharge of garbage. Placards should be displayed on the vessel where they can be easily seen by crew and passengers.

Vessels of 100 gross tonnage and above or certified to carry 15 or more people must have a garbage management plan that includes written procedures for minimising, collecting, storing, processing and disposing of garbage. Vessels that are 400 gross tonnage and above and every ship certified to carry 15 or more people on international voyages must also maintain a garbage record book.

Garbage must be stored safely on board and disposed of, or recycled, on shore. Contact your local port authority, marina, boat harbour, port or terminal to find out what waste collection and disposal facilities are available.

Protect our oceans. Report a tosser!

You can help keep our seas clean by reporting any illegal dumping of rubbish or waste products such as oil. If you see someone dumping rubbish there is some information you can collect to help our investigation of the incident. Useful information includes:

  • the name of the vessel responsible
  • the time, date and location of the incident (distance from land, GPS coordinates)
  • details of how much and what type of discharge, and
  • other witnesses or vessels in the vicinity.
  • If possible, take photographs or video images of the pollution, the vessel or person involved.


Report illegal dumping of rubbish or other substances to us on 1800 641 792 (free call), 02 6230 6811 or lodge an online report.

Marine incident reporting

AMSA – Marine Safety Awareness Bulletin  Issue 8 — September 2018

Incident reporting is essential to maritime safety. When you report a marine incident to AMSA, you help shape the way maritime safety is improved.

Benefits of marine incident reporting
The information obtained from marine incidents enable us to:
 identify issues, patterns and trends
 respond to concerns
 share information with the maritime industry
 learn and improve maritime safety

Case study one
Faulty emergency generator
During routine maintenance onboard a bulk carrier, it was discovered that the emergency generator wasn’t working and needed replacing.

Case study two
Knowledge of rescue helicopters
Following a number of incident reports submitted to AMSA from vessels operating in remote areas around Australia, it became clear that the limited range of rescue helicopters was not widely known among vessel operators.

The incident reporting process

Report a marine incident that has affected, or is likely to affect, the safety, operation or seaworthiness of the vessel1. The alerts let us know that a serious event has occured. The incident report provides us detailed information about the incident, in particular the measures put in place to prevent reoccurrence.




AMSA – Annual Regulatory Plan 2018–19

Our regulatory plan is produced annually and contains planned changes to our regulatory instruments.

Our regulatory plan provides details of planned changes to our regulatory instruments, such as marine orders and the National Standard for Commercial Vessels, to make it easier for business and the community to take part in the development of those instruments.

The regulatory plans contain information on:

  • legislative or other action planned for the current financial year that could lead to changes in business regulation.
  • a five-year outlook of future action, including for specific industry issues, international developments, priorities for standards and legislative expiry.
  • changes to business regulation that occurred during the previous financial year.

We publish an annual regulatory plan early in each financial year. While there may be some regulatory activities that we are unable to forecast, these activities will involve consultation with affected parties and will be recorded in future regulatory plans.

AMSA – Annual Regulatory Plan 2018–19

Marine order Description Consultation Proposed date
Marine Order 5 (Alcohol and Drugs) 2020 Proposed new Marine Order to prescribe the kinds of alcohol and drug tests for seafarers and pilots under the Navigation Act 2012, Chapter 2, Part 6. Q1 2020 1 July 2020
Marine Order 11 (Living and working conditions on vessels) 2015 Implement 2016 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) amendments related to bullying and harassment. Q4 2018 8 January 2019
Marine Order 27 (Safety of Navigation and Radio Equipment) 2016 Full review and implement International Maritime Organization (IMO) Resolution MSC.450(99) replacing INMARSAT as the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) service provider with the term ‘recognised mobile satellite service’. Also reference IMO Resolution MSC.434(98) in Schedule 2 (enters into force 1 January 2021). Q3 2019 1 January 2020
Marine Order 31 (Vessel surveys and certification) 2015 Full review to clarify and incorporate the existing survey and certification requirements for government vessels (currently in Marine Order 62). Proposed change will cover all vessels including special provision for vessels under 7.5 metres. Repeal Marine Order 62. Q1 2019 1 June 2019
Marine Order 44 (Safe Containers) 2002 Full review and reissue to modernise drafting style under the Navigation Act 2012. Replace schedule 24 of Marine Order 4. Q4 2018 1 April 2019
Marine Order 47 (Mobile offshore drilling units) 2012 Review and reissue the Order under the Navigation Act 2012 and modernise the drafting style. Amalgamate with Marine Order 60. Replace schedule 25 of Marine Order 4. Q1 2019 1 June 2019
Marine Order 52 (Yachts and Training Vessels) 2016 Review to determine whether the new Red Ensign Group Code (combining the Large Yacht Code 3 and the Passenger Yacht Code), which comes into effect on 1 January 2019, affects the Order. Q4 2018 1 January 2019
Marine Order 60 (Floating Offshore Facilities) 2001 Review and reissue the Order under the Navigation Act 2012 and modernise the drafting style. Amalgamate with Marine Order 47. Replace schedule 36 of Marine Order 4. Q1 2019 1 June 2019
Marine Order 62 (Government Vessels) 2003 Repeal this Order following the review of Marine Order 31. Q1 2019 1 June 2019
Marine Order 63 (Vessel Reporting Systems) 2015 Implement IMO Resolution MSC.450(99) replacing INMARSAT as GMDSS service provider with the term ‘recognised mobile satellite service’. Amendments to the Australian ship reporting system ‘REEFREP’ reporting area. Q3 2019 1 January 2020
Marine Order 97 (Marine pollution prevention – air pollution) 2013 Amendment to cover adoption of IMO Resolution MEPC.304a(73) banning use, and carriage for use, of fuel oil with sulphur content >0.5%m/m. Enact the exemption provisions in Regulation 13.5.4 and 13.5.5 of Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Q3 2019 1 January 2020
Marine Order 503 (Certificates of survey – national law) 2018 Apply float-free EPIRB requirements to certain kinds of new, transitional and existing vessels required to be in survey. 31 October 2017 – 2 February 2018 1 January 2019
Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency – national law) 2013 Review to simplify the qualifications framework. The NSCV Part D will be incorporated into Marine Order 505. Q4 2018 1 July 2019
HideRegulatory program of National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV)
NSCV Description Consultation Proposed date
NSCV Part B – General requirements Amendment to definition of ‘smooth waters’ and ‘partially smooth waters’ to recognise waters designated as such by laws in force in a state or territory, to support the implementation of a new Ordinance under the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 to designate the waters in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands lagoon as ‘partially smooth waters’ (Category D). 25 May – 1 June 2018 27 July 2018
NSCV Part C2 – Watertight and Weathertight Integrity A new standard to specify requirements for watertight and weather tight integrity (removing existing references to the Uniform Shipping Laws Code). Q1 2019 1 July 2019
NSCV Part C5B – Design and Construction—Engineering—Electrical Full review to incorporate AS/NZS 3004—Electrical Installations—Marinas and Recreational Boats. Q3 2018 1 November 2018
NSCV Part C7A – Safety Equipment Review of Scale D, E, F medical kit guidance notes in view of codeine becoming prescription-only medication. Deal with any outstanding issues from ‘transitional’ changes to require all vessels to comply with contemporary safety equipment standard. Q3 2018 1 January 2019
NSCV Part D – Crew Competencies Review to simplify the qualifications framework. NSCV Part D will be incorporated into Marine Order 505. Q4 2018 1 July 2019



AMSA Pre PSC Audit



While in an Australian port, your ship may be subject to inspection. If your ship is found to have deficiencies, it may be detained until the issue is resolved.

The AMSA is looking for pre-existing deficiencies that are not reported prior to a vessels arrival or at the time of initial port State boarding.  The increased scrutiny is resulting in a significant increase in AMSA detentions.  The AMSA inspector will ask if there are any deficiencies and if the inspector finds pre-existing deficiencies, and appropriate corrective action has not been initiated, they will assume the owner/Master intends to sail with the deficiencies un-addressed and will issue a detention.

To prevent a vessel detentions and avoid costly delays owners, operators, DPA’s should require Master’s and crew to report any inoperable equipment, system, etc., and ensure corrective action has been initiated, in accordance with the company’s Safety Management System.

The following are examples of pre-existing deficiencies that resulted in detentions and could have been avoided had they been reported in advance and corrective action initiated:

  • Failure to report Sewage treatment plant as defective
  • Failure to report cargo holds ventilators cover and gooseneck ventilators unable to close watertight.
  • Failure to report fire dampers, fore peak vent heads, fire detection repeater, defective.
  • Failure to report lifeboats, rescue boats and  on load release arrangement defective.
  • Failure to report problems related to Emergency generator.
  • Failure to report Radio and communication equipment defective.
  • Bridge officers are using unapproved ECDIS for navigation

For your information AMSA has and will detain a vessel if:

  1.  It does not have up to date charts, and navigational publications, repeated use of scanned charts from previous voyages and
  2. The crew cannot successfully demonstrate the operation of the:
    1. OWS,
    2. ECDIS, and
    3. Emergency fire pump.

SHIP IP LTD – can prepare your vessel(s) for such an inspection – In case you have vessel(s) calling at Singapore soon please get in contact with us so we can arrange on-board attendance  !


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Phone ( +359) 24929284
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