The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding skippers, as well as vessel owners and operators that a new standard for biofouling on vessels arriving in New Zealand will apply from May 2018 – less than a year away.
The standard means that all vessels must arrive with a 'clean hull' as part of efforts to reduce the threat of marine pests and diseases to New Zealand's marine environment.
MPI Director Plants, Food and Environment Peter Thomson says clean hull requirements will vary depending on a vessel's itinerary.
"For vessels coming to the country for fewer than 20 days, some slight fouling will be acceptable, while for long-stay vessels, the requirements are stricter. It's important to remember that the hull includes niche areas such as sea chests and bow thrusters too.
"Skippers and vessel owners or operators should make sure they're familiar with the new standard before it comes into force in May 2018. Vessels that don't comply may be required to be cleaned, or directed to leave New Zealand waters. The costs associated with these, and any changes to a vessel's itinerary, must be met by the operator."
The requirements can be met by cleaning or treating the hull prior to arrival, or carrying out continued maintenance which includes applying an antifouling coating to the hull and niche areas. Documentation of these steps will be needed to verify compliance.
Detailed guidelines on managing biofouling are also available from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and operators who follow these will meet the new requirements.
As well as preventing the spread of harmful organisms, a clean hull can also reduce a vessel's fuel consumption and increase stability.