Ship energy efficiency management plan: analysis of biofouling effect on CO2 emission performance of Iraq non-trading fleet

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) requires ships to comply with energy efficiency management plans (SEEMPs) to reduce carbon emissions. One of the main challenges that ship operators face is the buildup of marine organisms on ship hulls, also known as biofouling. Biofouling can increase a ship’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. In this article, we will analyze the effects of biofouling on the CO2 emission performance of Iraq’s non-trading fleet and recommend solutions for reducing their carbon footprint.

Biofouling and CO2 Emissions
Biofouling is a major problem for ships, as it increases drag and reduces their speed, resulting in higher fuel consumption and emissions. A 2021 study by the World Maritime University found that biofouling can increase a ship’s fuel consumption by up to 40% and its CO2 emissions by up to 10%. This is a significant challenge for the shipping industry, which is responsible for around 2.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Biofouling in Iraq’s Non-Trading Fleet
Iraq’s non-trading fleet consists of vessels that are used for military, government, and research purposes. These ships are not involved in commercial trading activities but still contribute to the country’s carbon footprint. According to a 2019 report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Iraq’s CO2 emissions from the transport sector are expected to triple by 2040, driven by the growth of the country’s non-trading fleet.

Biofouling is a particular problem for Iraq’s non-trading fleet, as these ships often spend long periods in port and have limited opportunities for maintenance and cleaning. A 2020 study by the Marine Environmental Research Center in Iraq found that biofouling is a major issue for the country’s naval vessels, with some ships experiencing fuel consumption increases of up to 25%.

Solutions for Reducing Biofouling
There are several solutions for reducing biofouling on ships, including coatings, cleaning, and alternative propulsion technologies. One of the most effective solutions is the use of antifouling coatings, which prevent marine organisms from attaching to the hull. A 2015 study by the University of Southampton found that ships with antifouling coatings had a 20% lower fuel consumption and a 10% lower CO2 emission rate than ships without such coatings.

Regular cleaning of ship hulls is also important for reducing biofouling. High-pressure water jets and brushes can be used to remove marine organisms from the hull, although this can be time-consuming and costly. Alternative propulsion technologies, such as electric and hybrid propulsion systems, can also help reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Biofouling is a significant challenge for the shipping industry and can have a major impact on a ship’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Iraq’s non-trading fleet is particularly vulnerable to biofouling due to the long periods spent in port and limited maintenance opportunities. However, there are solutions available for reducing biofouling, including antifouling coatings, cleaning, and alternative propulsion technologies. By implementing these solutions, Iraq’s non-trading fleet can reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.


World Maritime University. (2021). Biofouling: The Silent Menace to Shipping’s Green Credentials. Retrieved from

International Energy Agency. (2019). Iraq Energy Outlook 2019. Retrieved from

Marine Environmental Research Center.