Guidelines published for granting permission for inwater cleaning of ship hulls

First German guidelines for issuing permits for inwater hull cleaning as a result of the CLEAN project, partly funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, have been stated binding regulations for hull cleaning with the aim of reducing the introduction of pollutants into the waters of the ports of Bremen.

Underwater hull cleaning on faulty antifouling systems containing biocides, and even illegal cleaning operations, are unfortunately common practice in order to save costs, with the result that biocides are released into the water and the antifouling coating is frequently damaged or even abraded. Furthermore, failure to capture the abraded material properly leads to the introduction of biofouling, microplastics and contaminants (biocides) into the water.

To date there are no binding national or international regulations for granting a permit for underwater hull cleaning in ports.

The project elaborated the fundamental requirements for obtaining approval for underwater cleaning at the port, leading to the publication of the first German guidelines for granting permits for underwater hull cleaning at the ports of Bremen.

Drawing up and publishing these guidelines is intended to enable the use of underwater cleaning systems at the ports of Bremen. This creates a sound legal basisfor the development and use of innovative methods which satisfy the legal requirements and means that new cleaning techniques can be developed as part of proactive antifouling management.

This scheme is an important milestone in abandoning what has been to date largely uncontrolled underwater hull cleaning in other countries where no protective measures are in place in favour of establishing water-friendly cleaning processes which comply with legal requirements and meet high quality standards. It will simultaneously promote the use of biocide-free antifouling systems in the interests of preventive water protection.

For more information: DBU-Project: Underwater Cleaning of ships with non-biocides subtstances

For the ports of Bremen, this is the next logical step on its way to becoming a green port as it will enable underwater hull cleaning on biocide-free hard coatings at the ports in future, in addition to the environmentally friendly services that are already available there.