WASHINGTON - The Anti-Fouling Working Group of the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC), for which the National Paint & Coatings Association (NPCA) serves as Secretariat, is urging countries to ratify the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships. The workgroup officially adopted a resolution to advocate ratification at its inaugural meeting in Singapore in November 2006.
The treaty was adopted under the auspices of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) in October 2001 after a lengthy negotiation at the Marine Environment Protection Committee involving member states and non-governmental organizations from both the environmental community and maritime industries it affects.
The treaty calls for the elimination of the application of organotin acting as biocides effective Jan. 1, 2003, and the presence of organotins on ships effective Jan. 1, 2003. The treaty was adopted because of the concern over the long-term environmental impact of organotin compounds in anti-fouling systems and the recognition that less-toxic materials are now available to meet the same need. In addition to the ban on organotins, the treaty will establish a system for regulating anti-fouling systems that might be used on ships in the future.
The treaty will come into force when 25 countries with 25 percent of the world’s tonnage ratify it. As of Feb. 1, 2007, 19 countries with approximately 16 percent of the shipping tonnage had ratified the treaty. But many major flag states with significant shipping tonnage have not, including the United States.
The industry’s concern is heightened by the treaty’s looming January 2008 deadline for the elimination of organotin compounds from ships’ hulls or its effective containment on hulls. To effectively meet the date, work on the ships should be under way now.