In-water cleaning in Australian waters

Guidance for vessel operators wishing to in-water clean in  Australian waters has changed.

In June 2013, the ‘Anti-fouling and in-water cleaning guidelines’ replaced the ‘Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council Code of Practice for Antifouling and In-water Hull Cleaning and Maintenance, 1997’.

The guidelines apply to vessels and moveable structures such as oil and other exploration rigs, floating dry docks, pontoons, aquaculture installations and navigational structures.

There are two parts to the guidelines:

• Part 1 is about application, maintenance, removal and disposal of anti-fouling coatings at shore-based maintenance facilities.
• Part 2 is about in-water cleaning. Where practical, vessels should be removed from the water for cleaning, in preference to in-water operations. However, the guidelines recognise in-water cleaning as an option to remove some types of biofouling, providing the risks are appropriately managed.

Owners and operators wishing to in-water clean are advised to contact the relevant state or territory authority for specific advice. For in-water cleaning in Commonwealth waters, please visit the Department of Agriculture in-water cleaning webpage for information.

In-water cleaning prior to departing for Australia

The guidelines state that it is preferable for biofouling to be removed in the location where it was acquired before departing or moving to a new location.

If you are intending to in-water clean prior to departing for Australia, you should check with local authorities. If in-water cleaning is permitted, you should ensure that the debris is disposed of in a manner that does not pose a threat to the environment.