International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships
Adoption: 5 October 2001
A new IMO convention
will prohibit the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships
and will establish a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other
harmful substances in anti-fouling systems.
A new IMO convention will prohibit the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and will establish a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems.
The International Convention on the control of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships was adopted on 5 October 2001 at the end of a five-day Diplomatic Conference held at IMO Headquarters in London.
Under the terms of the new Convention, Parties to the Convention are required to prohibit and/or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships flying their flag, as well as ships not entitled to fly their flag but which operate under their authority and all ships that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a Party.
Ships of above 400 gross tonnage and above engaged in international voyages (excluding fixed or floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs) will be required to undergo an initial survey before the ship is put into service or before the International Anti-fouling System Certificate is issued for the first time; and a survey when the anti-fouling systems are changed or replaced.
Ships of 24 metres or more in length but less than 400 gross tonnage engaged in international voyages (excluding fixed or floating platforms, FSUs and FPSOs) will have to carry a Declaration on Anti-fouling Systems signed by the owner or authorized agent. The Declaration will have to be accompanied by appropriate documentation such as a paint receipt or contractor invoice.
Anti-fouling systems to be prohibited or controlled will be listed in an annex (Annex 1) to the Convention, which will be updated as and when necessary.
The adoption of the new Convention marked the successful outcome of the task set by Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 developed by the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development. Chapter 17 called on States to take measures to reduce pollution caused by organotins compounds used in anti-fouling systems.
The harmful environmental effects of organotin compounds were recognized by IMO in 1989. In 1990 IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted a resolution which recommended that Governments adopt measures to eliminate the use of anti-fouling paint containing TBT on non-aluminium hulled vessels of less than 25 metres in length and eliminate the use of anti-fouling paints with a leaching rate of more than four microgrammes of TBT per day.
In November 1999, IMO adopted an Assembly resolution that called on the MEPC to develop an instrument, legally binding throughout the world, to address the harmful effects of anti-fouling systems used on ships. The resolution called for a global prohibition on the application of organotin compounds which act as biocides in anti-fouling systems on ships by 1 January 2003, and a complete prohibition by 1 January 2008.
The new convention will enter into force 12 months after 25 States representing 25% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage have ratified it.
Annex I attached to the Convention and adopted by the Conference states that by an effective date of 1 January 2003, all ships shall not apply or re-apply organotins compounds which act as biocides in anti-fouling systems.
By 1 January 2008 (effective date), ships either:
This applies to all ships (excluding fixed and floating platforms, floating storage units (FSUs), and Floating Production, Storage and Offloading units (FPSOs).
The Convention includes a clause in Article 12 which states that a ship shall be entitled to compensation if it is unduly detained or delayed while undergoing inspection for possible violations of the Convention.
The Convention provides for the establishment of a "technical group", to include people with relevant expertise, to review proposals for other substances used in anti-fouling systems to be prohibited or restricted. Article 6 on Process for Proposing Amendments to controls on Anti-fouling systems sets out how the evaluation of an anti-fouling system should be carried out.
Resolutions adopted by the Conference
The Conference adopted four resolutions:
Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of ships to prevent sealife such as algae and molluscs attaching themselves to the hull - thereby slowing down the ship and increasing fuel consumption.
The new Convention defines "anti-fouling systems" as "a coating, paint, surface treatment, surface or device that is used on a ship to control or prevent attachment of unwanted organisms".
In the early days of sailing ships, lime and later arsenic were used to coat ships' hulls, until the modern chemicals industry developed effective anti-fouling paints using metallic compounds.
slowly "leach" into the sea water, killing barnacles and other marine life that
have attached to the ship. But the studies have shown that these compounds persist
in the water, killing sealife, harming the environment and possibly entering
the food chain. One of the most effective anti-fouling paints, developed in
the 1960s, contains the organotin tributylin (TBT), which has been proven to
cause deformations in oysters and sex changes in whelks. Source: http://www.imo.org/Conventions/mainframe.asp?topic_id=529