BIMCO announces biofouling survey and bunker clauses

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

14 November 2018


A survey of its shipowner members on management of biofouling has been announced by BIMCO.

In a statement launching the survey, BIMCO said biofouling is getting increasing attention and pressure for biofouling management is mounting. In order to advise the IMO on how shipowners are managing biofouling, BIMCO is launching a survey and strongly encourages its members to participate. A link to the survey can be found on the BIMCO website.

Biofouling management is an important issue for several reasons. Fouling on a ship's hull significantly reduces hydrodynamic performance and increases fuel consumption. Furthermore, biofouling impacts ships’ emissions and potentially transfers invasive species.

The industry has recently seen local and regional regulation that mandates the use of a biofouling management plan. One example is New Zealand, where all ships arriving in the country from 1 May 2018, are required to have a clean hull in accordance with the Craft Risk Management Standard for Biofouling (CRMS). Australia and the Unites States have also announced their own regulation covering biofouling management.

In response to growing concerns over the impact of hull biofouling on the marine environment, BIMCO and a group of industry partners have set out to create an internationally recognised standard on underwater hull and propeller cleaning. The group consists of eight different organisations, including paint manufacturers, ship owners and cleaning companies taking a holistic approach to establish an international standard that will work in practice. The standard is expected to be finalised in the autumn of 2019.

BIMCO has also produced a Hull Fouling Clause for Time Charter Parties, which sets out the physical circumstances and the point in time when the responsibility for hull fouling passes from the owners to the charterers when an extended period of idleness is due to charterers’ orders.

BIMCO has also confirmed that two time charter clauses it was drafting have been approved by the Documentary Committee at its meeting in Copenhagen on 13 November.

“It is very important that the new sulphur clauses are ready well in advance to allow the parties to prepare ahead of 1 January 2020,” said Peter Eckhardt, chairperson of the drafting committee and Head of Chartering and Operations at Reederei F. Laeisz.

The Global Marine Fuel Sulphur Clause for Time Charter Parties states that charterers are obliged to provide fuel that complies with MARPOL requirements, grades and specifications set out in the charter party, and it is a general compliance clause. It also states that charterers must use suppliers and bunker barge operators who comply with MARPOL and that shipowners will remain responsible for the fuel management.

The second clause discussed at the Committee meeting in Copenhagen deals with the transitional period from the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020. The two clauses will be published as one package. The clause focuses on cooperation between owners and charterers to minimise quantities of non-compliant fuel on board by 31 December 2019.

It states that any remaining non-compliant fuel on board after 1 January 2020 has to be removed no later than re-delivery or 1 March 2020 – whichever comes first. It also states that removal of non-compliant fuel must be done at the charterers’ cost, while tank cleaning must be done at the cost of the shipowners.