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Old 03-31-2010, 02:46 AM   #1
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I think I’ve found another example of government imposing greater burdens of environmental responsibility on the least damaging of the culprits, i.e., small private yachts rather than large commercial vessels.

For the past four years Australia has been “trialling” biofouling management requirements. This “trialling” is being done to vessels under 25 meters arriving in Australian waters, at the expense of the vessel. One yacht reported that their entry was quite easy because they had the documents for their haulout the previous season in New Zealand, so they only had a 45-minute quarantine inspection. That inspection is charged to the vessel at an hourly rate of AUD $250.00!

Here are a few of the links:

Biofouling Fact Sheet

Operator guidelines, vessels less than 25 m arriving in Australia

Operator guidelines, vessels over 25 m arriving in Australia

The rant starts here.

Consider a 13 meter sailboat heading to Australia from New Caledonia.

When we did it I calculated that at a bit under 800 nautical miles, it would be an easy six-day passage almost dead downwind.

It was closer to ten days, with mostly light winds and boredom, and then nasty weather where we had to sail reefed down. I seriously wonder what biological fouling we carried with us across the Pacific that was not already drifting into Australia from the seas following the same route we followed, or carried in by the seabirds and whales of these waters.

A freighter, bulk carrier, any ship over 25 meters for that matter, is making significantly better speed than our puny 6-knot average. I don’t know if that means less time for foul biological critters to detach from a vessel’s hull, but I suspect that with a hull area more than 70 times that of a 13-meter yacht, if there is biological fouling of Australia’s waters, the bulk carrier is a more likely hazard to Australia’s pristine waters than a little 13-meter yacht.

If you read the Biofouling Fact Sheet you might rightly question whether what is being asked of small private yachts would or could ever be asked of any commercial ship entering Australia’s waters.

This strikes me as stereotypical political bombast – “look at what a great job we’re doing to protect your waters!” The Australian voting public will probably never meet or talk to the master of a cargo ship, but they will hear plenty from the cruisers to their shores about biofouling management requirements. From that they just might be fooled into thinking that their politicians are working to protect their beloved country.

Well? Do you believe that?
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:19 PM   #2
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Aye Jeanne,

This is where democracy shows its limitations. Once politicians are elected into power, their sole aim is to get reelected, the long terms issues, they may have campaigned for, are all on the back burner.

Democracy is the worst form of government with the exception of everything else that has been tried before. We are all in transition to something (hopefully)better.

Enough Philosophy for the night, a MaCallan should do the job very nicely.

Fair Winds,
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Old 04-14-2010, 09:26 AM   #3
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This might be going where angels fear to tread but I will risk it nonetheless.

Sorry folks but yachts have been conclusively implicated in the spread of marine pest species. Research done in New Zealand and Australia has quite conclusively shown that recreational yachts bring along more than just their owners when arriving in a new country.

The lower speeds and all the little nooks and crannies (thought admittedly not as many as on bigger ships) mean that our beloved treasures make quite a nice temporary home for lots of different marine pests. We all know how quickly antifoul gets overwhelmed by the slime, followed on by bigger beasties and weed -well that is how it starts.

This is not to say that large commercial vessels are not risks as well. I have seen large fishing boats literally transformed into moving marine reserves they have been so heavily fouled (cant imagine what it did to their fuel bill); slow moving barges and drill rigs are probably the worst of all with huge surface areas and lots of niche areas to colonise....

Dealing with biofouling is big business and its not just we the yacht owners (so wonderful to finally say that and mean it about myself!) that are hit and hit hard. For example, large vessels cannot do in-water cleaning in Australian waters -and can in fact be turned away if known to carry a risk pest. There are quite onerous tasks placed on vessel masters for compliance with ballast water regulations (BW also carries pests to new ports).

Yachts are a risk. Big commercial vessels are a risk. Fishing boats are a risk. Interestingly, the white fleets (cruise ships) are pretty good overall -but they get slipped and A/F'ed about every year... Essentially, we all have to do our part (and yes, it bites me in the wallet too!). 20 years ago we only just vaguely knew that marine pests were a problem- now we do

And perhaps time to put in a disclaimer here: I do not work for any regulatory agency but do work in the marine biosecurity field.

Dan
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:31 PM   #4
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My complaint is primarily that the small private yacht is the first to have regulations and restrictions imposed, often many years before anything is enacted against the large commercial ships - the tankers, bulk carriers, etc.

This is what is now in place in Australia. According to Australia's own web site there are no regulations in place for ships over 25 meters. And Australia is "trialing" its procedures for ships under 25 meters - i.e., the private yachts. I doubt that megayachts are common visitors to Australian shores, so it is the small, probably under 15 meter, yachts that are being targeted. For the past five years, ships with a hull surface area of more than 2,400 sq. m are not regulated, but private yachts with a hull surface area of perhaps 58 sq. m are regulated. Where is the logic in that? One smallish Handymax bulk carrier has significantly more than 41 times the surface area, and "nooks and crannies" to carry pests into Australian waters.

I'm curious. What biofouling do small private yachts bring to Australia waters that are not brought there by sea birds and ocean currents? And sea turtles? From what I remember from reading Gerry Clark's "Totorore Voyage", there are a lot of critters hitchiking on sea birds.

That doesn't mean that I advocate doing nothing about the boats and ships arriving in Australian waters, but I believe that the larger the threat, the more effort should be expended, and that is not what I see, in Australia any more than in the US.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:09 PM   #5
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Ah then I missed the point somewhat. I think the difference is that it takes a long time to get international agreements in place to regulate commercial vessels (balancing legal issues and international trade conventions), whereas private boats are indeed 'easier.' to regulate (in some ways, less so in others).

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is currently working on guidelines around biofouling on commercials and there are already a number of international agreements in place to limit the spread of marine pests on these boats. This is going to be the topic of a session that I am convening at the first Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS2010; http://www.oceancoun...?page=overview) that is going to happen in Belfast in mid June. Interestingly, the Australian government has not ratified the Ballast Water Management Convention (see http://www.imo.org/c...p?topic_id=867), which imposes strict guidelines on what can and cannot be discharge into the territorial sea of a ratified state.

As for what can be brought in that is not coming in naturally -well that is the difference- it is the human-mediated transfers that quarantine officials are concerned about, not the natural vectors (am reminded of Monty Pythons quest for the grail- could a swallow (African or European?!?) carry a coconut from the south??!!).

The tropics pose a nice barrier to northern species reaching southern climes and vice versa- the water is just too hot for most temperate species to survive long periods, so there is a nice natural 'mountain' for an invader to climb. Now drop that little critter on a boat making 20 knots (ok maybe thats not my boat!) and maybe it can 'hunker down' for a few weeks while the temperature is high and voila- it has had the mountain squashed down for it and when it gets to a nice new port where the temperature is right it can go about its merry business. Even better, put it inside a nice ballast water tank where it doesn't have to deal with rushing water and nasty chemical paints, then when a vessel is loading in a new port the water (containing the critters offspring) gets pumped directly overboard into a nice welcoming environment. And look! None of the nasties that used to eat me back home are here! Woop woop- party time!!

North Pacific Sea Star, comb jellies, European green crab, Mediterranean fan worm, Pacific oyster, wakame, toxic dinoflagellates, zebra mussels, green mussel, tube worm.... the list of human mediated introductions (some intentional, some not) goes on and on...

Right gotta get to work (I am too easily distracted sometimes!)

Cheers

Dan
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Old 05-22-2010, 03:38 PM   #6
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That's funny .. I didn't notice Jessica Watson's boat being inspected by AQIS on entry ..
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yttrill' date='22 May 2010 - 02:38 PM View Post

That's funny .. I didn't notice Jessica Watson's boat being inspected by AQIS on entry ..
And you just made the point.

Fair Winds,
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canuckiwis' date='14 April 2010 - 09:09 PM View Post

North Pacific Sea Star, comb jellies, European green crab, Mediterranean fan worm, Pacific oyster, wakame, toxic dinoflagellates, zebra mussels, green mussel, tube worm.... the list of human mediated introductions (some intentional, some not) goes on and on...
How many living sea stars, jellies, crabs, mussels, etc an average yacht contains? I would guess somewhere between zero and nada.
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Old 07-10-2010, 10:49 PM   #9
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I grew up in Michigan. You know yachts are the smallest problem. Yes they move much slower which allows things to grow much easier. Though MOST yachties I know regularly dive the side to clean. As allowing the stuff to grow really slows the boat. NOW the commercial shipping has brought so many problems to the great lakes, we are still cleaning it up 40 yrs after we realized that the problem was serious and would not self repair (existing predators deciding the new critter was food).

So while I can agree on the need to do Preventative Maintenance Checks & Services to keep ones home (boat or other wise) in top operating shape, that should apply in triplicate to commercial vessels as they really do pose a much more serious threat. It is the lack of intestinal fortitude by elected members of government and the need to make it look like they are doing something while finding additional avenues for funding themselves; while in reality doing very little.

Sorry for the rant, but I grew up with red tide, lamprey's, Zebra mussels, two varieties of Shark are making their way in as well as a host of other problems that you have to look to find. I have watched beaches and tourism suffer horribly and entire fisheries damaged by it. So while we need to keep our stuff clean yachties are by far the least of the offenders. Now start looking at who funded and how the "research" was done that lays the burden on us and i will put a rather large amount of money you will find vested interests of companies that don't want their profit margins touched and politco's/academics who have a hate on for what they see as rich wasteful lifestyle.

End of rant before my blood pressure goes any higher or breathing gets to be more of a problem.

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Old 07-11-2010, 07:08 AM   #10
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I think wires have become crossed a little here.

There are two problems associated with merchant shipping, one of which is also associated with yachting.

The first and perhaps major problem which is not associated with yachting is that of ballast water. The second and more general problem is that of anti-fouling.

Ballast water

A ship, say a 100,000 ton bulk carrier may have discharged coal in a Black Sea port. Without cargo in her she will be floating high and uncomfortable in a seaway. More importantly unacceptable stresses will be placed upon on the hull. She must therefore be ballasted to increase her draft and reduce bending moments and shear stresses. She is ballasted by filling double bottom and wing tanks with water from the port in which she is in.

In fact, she may need ballasting during cargo handling operations to keep her hatchways from fouling the gantries used for discharge. (I experienced this problem in Curtis Bay, Baltimore where we were loading. We needed full ballast to get under the loading gantry) In taking aboard tens of thousands of tons of ballast, the ship will also take onboard many small marine organisms, from plankton to small fish. These will then be transported from our hypothetical port in the Black Sea to the ship's next port which may, for example, be Saldahna Bay, Soth Africa where she will ,oad iron ore. There, of cours, the ballast is dropped from the wing tanks and pumped out from the double bottoms together with the marine life which, if conditions are right, will flourish frequently to the detriment of the indigenous maritime populations.

Anti fouling

Anti fouling kills. That's it! It does not introduce new life forms but it may permit less sensitive life forms to thrive whilst others, more prone to the effects of the anti-fouling, suffer as a consequence.

One may claim that pleasure craft have less influence than merchant ships concerning anti-fouling problems but this is not really true. Merchant ships frequent large harbours but spend most of their time at sea. Normally speaking, a ship only makes money for its owner when it is at sea. Keeping a ship in port costs a lot and makes no money. Pleasure craft, on the other hand, spend much time in small marinas and berths where the water is often shallow and are therefore leaching their anti-fouling into the most sensitive areas.

In my opinion, we must all do what we can to encourage politicians and scientists to find the best and most environmentally friendly way of keeping our hulls clean.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 07-11-2010, 08:04 PM   #11
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I agree with Stephen completely on the points made. Than comes the questions of what re the best ways to go about solving the problems. Doing so without creating even more red tape and more jobs dependent on what boils down to political graft.

Unfortunately there are not a lot of materials that do the job well and many of them are very toxic when they build up in an area. Also some very effect tools have been taken off the table in the name of safety support by some very shoddy research. While I agree it is better to be conservative when estimating impacts and always favor the balance of life over comfort. I do have a problem with what is looking in the Australian case to be finding a way of milking folks for money and setting up a industry of cleaning, inspection, and waste removal. having read the law and how they "plan" to put it in action. Also looking at what they want to set as fees and what they are suggesting as fees for the required certified services. This is what I find offensive.

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