In the COMPLETE PLUS project, the primary task of the research groups of the University of Helsinki and the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences was to demonstrate and test the multi-criteria decision support tool for biofouling management developed in the COMPLETE project. A series of sessions were organized with potential end-users representing different backgrounds and countries. In total, five on-line meetings were held with participants from Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Latvia representing authorities, shipping and in-water-cleaning companies. In these sessions, the main findings of the tool were presented, the demonstration and testing of the tool was performed and valuable feedback considering the benefits and drawbacks of the tool and possible development were collected.

The first version of the multi-criteria decision support tool developed was considered offering promising potential but there is still room for improvements to increase its practical usability. The tool interface, Hugin Researcher -software, was criticized for being difficult to understand for end-users without the logic structures of the program. In addition, options to study the whole fleet at once, and possibility to modify and update the tool easily by the end-user was recommended. However, participants stated that a more comprehensive understanding about the consequences of biofouling management actions is needed, and this type of tool would help to achieve this goal. The tool was considered the most optimal when analyzing the overall level of biofouling management. Some end-users even acknowledged that the tool has the potential to support the planning of a ship-specific biofouling management plan recommended by the IMO.

For more information on the online sessions and feedback, see the memorandum “Implementation of the Multi-Criteria Decision Support Tool for Biofouling Management” published in the COMPLETE PLUS website.

Text: Emilia Luoma (University of Helsinki) and Elias Altarriba (South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences)

The main coating types used in the Baltic Sea are Fouling release (FR), Self-polishing (SPC) and Hard, non-biocidal coating (HC). FR coatings can be used only in ice-free areas as the ice may break the coating, toxic copper is released from biocidal SPC coating and HC needs regular in-water cleaning. (Luoma, E., Nevalainen, L., Altarriba, E., Helle, I. & Lehikoinen, A. (2021). Developing a conceptual influence diagram for socio-eco-technical systems analysis of biofouling management in shipping – A Baltic Sea case study. Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 170, 112614, ISSN 0025-326X,