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Tuesday, June 9, 2020 

The IMO, on World Ocean Day (8 June), has launched a new alliance bringing toether the UN-led GloFouling Partnerships with private sector stakeholders, to tackle what it says are two of the most pressing environmental issues of our time invasive species and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The new global industry alliance for Marine Biosafety (GIA) aims to accelerate the development of solutions to improve the management of marine biofouling. The GIA brings together private sector companies from various industries affected by biofouling, including shipping, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas and ocean renewable energies. These maritime champions will work together with the GloFouling Partnerships Project, a joint initiative between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the IMO. The work of the GIA will contribute to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Biofouling increases the drag of ships, forcing them to burn more fuel to maintain speed. The new global alliance is expected to promote solutions to improve the hydrodynamic performance of ships and thereby contribute to a significant reduction of the carbon footprint of the shipping industry.

The GIA was officially inaugurated during an online meeting attended by representatives of the founding industry members as well as IMO and UNDP.  

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “Under this new initiative, these industry champions, from different sectors, are coming together to address common challenges and move towards a more sustainable use of ocean resources.”

Four companies have become the founding members of the GIA: CleanSubSea, ECOsubsea, HullWiper and Sonihull. It is expected that more companies will join. 

Jose Matheickal, head of IMO’s Department for Partnerships and Projects, said: “This alliance is about the collective pioneering efforts by all maritime industries in undertaking the fight against invasive species and all the creativity and innovations that are being brought to the table to develop technological solutions. Forging such an alliance among the current four founding partners lays the foundations of a potentially very large global partnership among maritime industry players.”

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