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Organotin ban in hull paint begins in September



Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of boat and ship vessels to prevent sea life such as algae and mollusks from attaching themselves to the hull, which would slow the yacht and increase fuel consumption.

Organotin compounds are very effective biocides. Unfortunately they are also very toxic to aquatic organisms such as mollusks (oysters, mussels, etc.) acting as endocrine disruptors.

The convention:
The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention) was adopted on Oct. 5, 2001 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as the United Nations' specialized agency with responsibility for safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

Under the terms of the Convention, it enters into force 12 months after 25 states representing 25% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage have ratified it. With the ratification by the Republic of Panama in September, the AFS Convention was ratified by 25 states, with a combined 38.11% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage.

When the Convention is in force, ships and yachts will no longer be permitted to apply or re-apply organotin compounds, which act as biocides in their anti-fouling systems. Yachts either shall not bear such compounds on their hulls or external parts or surface or, for yachts already carrying such compounds on their hulls, a coating that forms a barrier to such compounds will have to be applied to prevent them escaping from the underlying non-compliant anti-fouling systems. The Convention also establishes a mechanism to evaluate and assess other anti-fouling systems and prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in these systems.

The Convention will apply to all yachts flying the flag of a party to the Convention, as well as yachts not entitled to fly their flag but that operate under their authority and to all yachts that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a party.

In other words, either your flag of registry will require compliance, or the port where the yacht calls will require compliance by the September deadline.

For private and commercial yachts of 400 gross tons and above, an initial survey must be conducted by the flag administration for issuance of the International Anti-Fouling Systems Certificate (IAFSC). Any future changes or replacements after the initial survey must be endorsed by the flag administration on the IAFSC.

For private and commercial yachts more than 24 meters in length but less than 400 gross tons, owners have the option of obtaining an IAFSC or self-declaring the type of anti-fouling system used on the hull. This declaration must be supported by specific documentation issued by the paint contractor.

EVISA Resources

EVISA Link Database: Toxicity of organotin compounds
EVISA Link Database: Environmental pollution by organotin compounds
EVISA Link Database: Industrial use of organotin compounds
EVISA Info: The role of elemental speciation in legislation
EVISA Info: Regulation (EC) No 782/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 April 2003 on the prohibition of organotin compounds on ships

Related News

EVISA News, April 30, 2008: Human exposure to organotin compounds via consumption of fish
EVISA News, September 20, 2007: TBT-ban convention ratified
EVISA News, October 11, 2006: TBT from antifouling paint is still endangering marine life, says WWF ( 11.10.2006 )

EVISA News, January 23, 2004: Tuna is attuned to tin
EVISA News, December 15, 2003: Artifacts during the extraction of butyltin compounds from solid samples !
EVISA News, December 11, 2003: No degradation of TBT in seafood during cooking

last time modified: June 5, 2008

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