Australia has recently developed new draft guidelines for antifouling and in-water cleaning in Australian waters to replace the ANZECC Code of Practice (1997).
An implementation plan is now being developed to determine a national approach to the management of in-water cleaning across all jurisdictions.
Until the new guidelines are fully endorsed by the Standing Committee on Primary Industries (anticipated in 2013), the ANZECC Code will continue to apply.
In-water cleaning restricted in Australian waters
In-water cleaning of vessels is generally not allowed in Australian waters in accordance with the Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council (ANZECC) Code of Practice for Antifouling and In-water Hull Cleaning and Maintenance (1997) (currently under review).
In certain circumstances some states or territories may, under permit, allow propeller polishing and cleaning of sea chests, sea suction grids and other hull apertures. Vessel operators wishing to undertake such cleaning are advised to contact the relevant state or territory authority for specific advice.
Approval must be granted in writing by the relevant state or territory authority prior to the commencement of any work.
In-water cleaning prior to departing for Australia
Some other countries also do not allow in-water cleaning. 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.
Why isn't in-water cleaning allowed?
Marine pests can be spread by in-water cleaning of vessels.
In-water cleaning releases biofouling debris into the water column. This debris may contain live marine pests creating the potential for new populations to establish in the area around where the cleaning took place.
In-water cleaning of a vessel can also prematurely deplete antifouling coatings, causing the surface to rapidly re-foul and increasing the risk of the vessel spreading marine pests.