TEST Biofouling


Accelerating Transfer of Environmentally-Sound Technologies (TEST) through demonstration pilots to reduce biofouling and related emissions (TEST Biofouling) 

An IMO-Norway Programme to Support Implementation of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines 

The “Accelerating Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies through demonstration pilots to reduce biofouling and related emissions” (TEST Biofouling) Project will assist developing countries to build their knowledge on control and management of biofouling and showcase effective approaches to biofouling management and the mitigation of environmental risks associated with the transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species (IAS) through biofouling by means of demonstration projects at both regional and country level. The project has a duration of 4 years (Jan 2022-Dec 2025) and a contribution of approximately US$ 4 million.

The Issue

Scientific research is increasingly showing that biofouling of ships is a major vector for the transfer of invasive aquatic species from one marine ecosystem to another. The Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) therefore have developed and adopted an international instrument to address this issue, the Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships’ Biofouling to Minimize the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species (IMO Biofouling Guidelines, 2011). These Guidelines are not mandatory, but they offer a set of best management practices to manage biofouling and minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species. They complement IMO’s action in addressing another major vector for the transfer of invasive aquatic species: ship’s ballast water. 

Despite this policy effort to address ships’ biofouling, studies undertaken by IMO Member States highlight the limited uptake of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines and, in the absence of control measures, invasive aquatic species continue to be introduced into new marine habitats, which can result in serious environmental consequences and ecosystem imbalances.        

Complementarity with the GloFouling Partnerships

The TEST Biofouling project will closely cooperate with and build on the achievements of the GloFouling Partnerships project and maximize its impact in an efficient manner, focusing on the existing beneficiary countries and areas where additional support is most beneficial and can have the highest impact. More specifically, the TEST Biofouling project intends to build on achievements, networks, and knowledge built by the GloFouling Partnerships project and will focus on topics and geographic areas that complement its actions, especially with the aim to augment the impact of technology demonstration activities related to biofouling management.  

Technical Implementation through the MTCCs

In the delivery of technology demonstration activities and capacity-building activities in relation to the implementation of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines, TEST Biofouling will be supported by the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCCs) set up under the EU-funded Global MTCC Network Project (GMN). Priorities for regional technology pilots and cooperation will be coordinated and set in line with priorities expressed by LDCs and SIDS and as such supported by those MTCCs whose geographical scope includes most LDCs and SIDS, notably MTCC Africa, MTCC Caribbean and MTCC Pacific.

The Project

The core of the TEST Biofouling project will be testing novel technologies and new sustainable methods of biofouling management through demonstration projects, which can be effective ways to showcase to developing countries the availability and possibilities of new technologies and the environmental and energy efficiency benefits their use could help achieve. The TEST Biofouling project will aim at achieving this through 12 national demonstration projects, which can benefit GloFouling LPCs (12 GloFouling LPC countries, as Demonstration Lead countries), as well as undertake 3 regional demonstration pilots on the most cutting edge technologies and on their use, with the support of knowledge partners (countries that have best practices established in respective technology testing and operation), which will focus on regional needs of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific, as such also prioritizing regions with the most Least Developing Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). 

The main components of the TEST Biofouling project will include:  

  • capacity building and training on implementation of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines and complementing in this regard the GloFouling Partnerships project, expanding to more countries in the selected regions and providing more capacity-building in Partnering Countries; 

  • additional demonstration of practical solutions showcased in selected ports, shipyards and around the world, with regional exchanges on technological solutions and best practices;  

  • links established with relevant IMO and other GloFouling Partnerships related initiatives and projects;  

  • setting up an effective project management and governance system to ensure that the project achieves its intended outcomes. 

Sustainable Development Goals 

IMO and Norway are actively working towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at its heart. Read more about IMO and the Sustainable Development Goals by clicking this link.

The TEST Biofouling project will substantially contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal SDG 14 – Life below water, and its Target 14.2: “sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems and avoid significant adverse impacts”. With its focus on reducing the transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species, the project will further contribute to achieving SDG 1 – “Eradicate extreme poverty by 2030” and its target 1.4 by securing ownership and control of men and women on economic and natural resources as well as on appropriate new technologies and financial services. It will also contribute to SDG15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems […] and halt biodiversity loss, and its Target 15.8: “introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of IAS on land and water ecosystems […]." Lastly, noting that biofouling management can also be an effective tool to enhance ships’ energy efficiency and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from ships, positive impacts are foreseen in relation to SDG13 – Urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. 

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For more information on the TEST Biofouling project, please email Ms. Yeongjoo Baek, Project Manager, TEST Biofouling project, at YBaek@imo.org.