WASHINGTON - The International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC), holding a NGO consultative status with the United Nations, has held its first global forum on marine coatings in Tokyo. Since the shipbuilding and ship-maintenance industry has evolved into a truly global business, specific regulations and legislation require a worldwide approach. Consequently, this has a strong impact on the composition and application of marine coatings.

About 50 participants from Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific Rim represented the paint industry and its suppliers, paint associations, the shipbuilding industry and marine-related authorities. The forum was hosted by the Japanese Paint Manufacturers Association and chaired by J. Andrew Doyle, president of the National Paint & Coatings Association, Washington. Among the main topics were the trends in the global marine and marine-coatings industry, technical developments, as well as safety, health and environmental (SHE) issues. Within this framework, much attention was also given to specific regional dynamics, such as customer needs and SHE drivers.

Guest speaker Bryan Wood-Thomas from the Office of International Policy, U.S.-EPA, introduced the key subject of the forum: the IMO-AFS Treaty and its impact on marine antifouling coatings and shipping. This treaty is clearly recognized as a prime example of an environmental issue requiring a mutual global approach. Extensive attention was given to the new legislation and the response from the industry, the ratification process and further future steps. In this respect, IPPIC will apply for a NGO consultative status with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the U.N.'s specialized agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships.

The first Global Forum resulted in an agreement to promote a representative forum for discussion and decision-making on key international issues faced by companies engaged in the worldwide marine-coatings business. Ad hoc working groups will be formed under the umbrella of IPPIC to deal with issues as they arise. The first of these will be dedicated to monitoring and reporting back on future developments in antifouling coating and shipping issues.

For further information, contact Jim Sell at NPCA. Phone 202/462.6272 or e-mail IPPIC@paint.org.