The Alliance for Coastal Technologies (ACT) and MERC (in collaboration with the US Naval Research Laboratory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, California States Land Commission, US Maritime Administration, and Maryland Port Administration) are currently accepting preliminary applications from developers and manufacturers of ship in-water cleaning technologies to participate in independent performance testing. Commercial ship biofouling—or the colonization of wetted surfaces by aquatic organisms —presents significant problems for the maritime industry. The biofouling of vessels can interfere with operations and result in increased corrosion, drag, and fuel consumption and emissions. Ship biofouling is also a significant, if not the most dominant, vector for the global-scale transfer and introduction of non-native aquatic species, which can have enormous ecological and economic impacts on coastal environments. A number of in-water cleaning and material capture technologies and approaches have been developed over the past 10 years, focused mostly on hull husbandry to reduce drag and fuel consumption and to support the maritime industry. However, new innovations are now also targeting biofouling removal and capture from vessel niche areas, with biosecurity and environmental protection as an additional goal. There is now a critical need to provide thorough, independent evaluations of ship in-water biofouling cleaning systems to quantify their efficacy and reliability in removing fouling organisms, including the capture of debris and potential contaminants, from complex vessel structures.
The specific goals of this effort are to: (a) refine and customize procedures for evaluating the efficacy of in-water cleaning technologies to remove biofouling from underwater ship surfaces, collect removed biological debris, and remove chemical contaminants from the effluent, (b) provide independent evaluations of in-water cleaning technologies, and (c) provide rigorous, independent data on the performance of in-water cleaning systems that can be used to apply for permitted commercial use in ports around the world. This evaluation of in-water cleaning systems will focus on biofouling removal and debris capture efficacy and follow the ACT and MERC approaches for independent testing, including the establishment of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a Test Protocol Workshop, and field testing on MARAD ships in Baltimore Maryland and Long Beach California. The scope of this evaluation covers a variety of technologies, ranging from those applies to the general hull to those applies specifically to ship niche areas. As part of this evaluation, participating technology developers and/or service providers will conduct the in-water cleaning on test ships, with the testing team conducting underwater ship surveys and various related sampling (before, during and after), as agreed to in the final Test Protocols. Like all ACT Technology Evaluations, participation in this effort will be voluntary and free of charge (with some participation support available) for qualifying applicants, and results will be made available to the public in individual reports for each of the technologies or service providers that agree to participate.

To qualify for this evaluation, candidate technologies must be:
A. Commercially available, or
B. New, near-commercial technologies that are ready for the market with available quality testing data to support performance claims. Preference will be given to technologies that fall above a NASA Technology Readiness Level of 7 or higher (, and
C. Designed to remove biofouling from ship hulls and/or niche areas, collect and dispose or treat captured debris, biocide chemicals, and effluent water.

Full Request for Technologies -
Application Form -
Applications due December 22, 2017

For additional deadlines, dates or information see RFT or contact Drs. Mario Tamburri (, Lisa Drake ( and Greg Ruiz (


MERC Call for Applications to Evaluate Ballast Water Treatment Systems
MERC offers test and evaluation services to developers/manufacturers of ballast water management systems (BWMSs) designed to prevent the transport of non-native aquatic species and to meet IMO and USCG ballast water discharge standards, as well as other maritime environmental technologies. The goal is to further the efficient and effective transition of treatments and technologies from concept and prototype to certification and routine operational use.
MERC BWMS research services evaluate treatment and technology performance and efficacy against a range of environmental conditions (including diverse taxonomic and size categories of ambient organisms for BWMS testing) in the lab and at the land-based and full shipboard scales. BWMS Test Plans are designed to cover the requirements of both the IMO G8/G9 Guidelines and US EPA ETV Protocols.
MERC Independent Laboratory certification testing of BWMSs is carried out through NSF International and are subject to the terms and condition of the Independent Laboratory and US Coast Guard Regulations. MERC is also available to conduct testing of BWMS for Type Approval Certification by other Administrations beyond the US.
For more information on MERC data ownership and release policies [click here].
Test Facility
MERC offers testing on a Mobile Test Platform, that will allow ballast water treatment systems to be evaluated in Baltimore MD (salinity 5 - 12 psu), Norfolk VA (salinity 18 - 25 psu) and/or Sharptown MD (Nanticoke River, 0 psu) with one system installation. The MERC facility (pictured above) includes two 300 m3 tanks, two 300 m3/hr pumps and all other associated infractructure to complete G8/G9 and ETV testing. For examples of prior test protocols and final reports see MERC Reports.
For detailed specifications and information [click here] or please contact George Smith, MERC Facility Manager (
MERC also offers some selected system testing onboard the US Maritime Administration vessel Cape Washington.


    Contact Information:
    Direct any questions regarding test and evaluation services by e-mail to Dr. Mario Tamburri (