Are IMO regulations tough enough to keep national governments from imposing stricter measures?

Only partly
No--expect a slew of regional regs!

Marine Log

September 4, 2007

ABS updates coatings guidance

ABS is issuing a completely revised and expanded edition of its Guidance Notes on Inspection, Maintenance and Application of Marine Coatings.

The new publication is intended to help shipbuilders, shipowners and operators prepare for the new IMO mandated Performance Standard for Protective Coatings (PSPC) (IMO MSC 215(82).

The IMO standards take effect on July1, 2008 and will apply to the dedicated seawater ballast tanks on all ships of not less than 500 gross tons for which the building contract is placed on or after July 1. 2008; or, in the absence of a building contract, whose keels are laid on or after January 1, 2009. They also apply to the double-side skin spaces of bulk carriers of 150m in length and upwards.

The ABS guidance covers both the technical requirements of the new regulations and the role of coatings in contributing to the longevity of the structure. They also take into account International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) Procedural Requirement (PR34) which specifically addresses the application of the new IMO standards.

The ABS Guidance Notes are recognized by NACE International as being quality introductory training material for marine coating inspectors. NACE is globally recognized as the leading professional technical society dedicated to the prevention of corrosion and governs the NACE Coating Inspector Program, which sets the benchmark for other coating inspection programs and is referenced in IMO MSC 215(82).

"Coatings comprise a significant proportion of the cost of a new ship," says Todd Grove, ABS Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff. "Both the IMO and class have recognized that the quality of the coatings directly affects the structural integrity of the ship, its environmental performance and, ultimately, its value .

Although the new standards place the primary responsibility for the proper application of the coatings on the shipyard, these new guidelines should help clarify the issues, and potential pitfalls, for all parties while clearly delineating the responsibilities of class for verifying that the applicable processes are complied with."

Shipyards are already gearing up to meet the new IMO standards as the ten members of IACS, late last year jointly agreed to advance the July1 2008 implementation date for tankers and bulk carriers subject to the new IACS Common Structural Rules (CSR). The new coatings standards apply to all CSR ships for which the orders have been placed on or after December 8, 2006. Construction of the first CSR vessel ordered to ABS class to which the new standards apply is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2008.

The updated ABS Guidance Notes address the fundamentals of coating technology as applied to ship structures, and the regulatory requirements for coatings in ballast tanks, void spaces, cargo tanks, cargo holds and outer hull anti-fouling systems. The chemistry and mechanics of corrosion are explained and methods of surface preparation are introduced along with safety guidance and a matrix detailing the advantages or disadvantages of each method.

Factors such as human error, environmental conditions, surface preparation, contaminants, film thicknesses and the method of application all play a role in determining a coating's effectiveness. The ABS Guidance Notes illustrate typical failures and provide advice on appropriate repair and maintenance strategies.

As the auditing of coating inspection procedures extends class responsibilities into a new area, ABS has begun a comprehensive training program (recognized by NACE) for its surveyors. The initial participants surveyors currently assigned to the major shipbuilding centers.

ABS offers a class notation (CPS) for those ships complying with the PSPC standards and procedures during the coating application process.

Still under discussion at IMO is the extension of the coatings regulatory regime to cover cargo holds/tanks as well as void spaces and the through-life maintenance of coatings.