12 Nov 2020

Vessel-Check wins Australian Environmental Biosecurity Award

The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) is responsible for ensuring the biosecurity of Australia. Each year, DAWE recognises significant contributions to protect the Australian environment from biosecurity risks through the Australian Biosecurity Awards (ABAs).

DHI and our collaborator, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in Western Australia, have been recognised for an Environmental Biosecurity Award for Vessel-Check, the Cloud-based aquatic biosecurity decision support tool.

Biofouling: a key reason for invasion of marine pests 
Non-indigenous species (NIS), also known as marine pests, invade marine habitats largely through ballast water and the biofouling on a vessel’s hull. Australia’s unique marine environment is especially susceptible to NIS impacts given their reliance on seaborn trade, with close to 27,000 vessels entering Australian territory from 600 overseas ports annually.

Invasive marine pests are often introduced to marine environments through biofouling on a vessel’s hull. © Svetlana Yudina/ Adobe Stock

Biofouling is widely recognised as one of the most significant modes of introduction for NIS, potentially causing severe social, environmental and economic impacts globally. Prevention measures are considered the most cost-effective option for Australia’s marine biosecurity system. This is where Vessel-Check comes in. The web portal focuses on two areas:

  • the ability to rapidly and consistently assess the risk associated with a vessel’s biofouling based on its biofouling management practices
  • effective pre-border communication with vessel operators outlining indicative risk profiles, suggesting how their vessel’s biosecurity risk can be managed appropriately to as low as reasonably practicable

Vessel-Check can be used easily by anyone in the marine industry: regulators, vessel operators, owners and service providers – no special expertise needed. © DHI

Vessel-Check leverages the power of Cloud computing, vessel automatic identification system (AIS) data and machine learning to streamline the process for vessels to manage their biosecurity risk in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) guidelines. The portal provides an indicative risk assessment for a vessel based on its biosecurity management practices and facilitates communication from vessel operators to biosecurity regulators.

Learn more about Vessel-Check and see why it is the global answer to smarter biofouling risk management.