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Marine Log

September 19, 2007

TBT-ban convention ratified

The international convention banning the use of organotins, such as TBT, in anti-fouling paints has finally been ratified by sufficient countries to bring it into force.

Panama signed up on Monday. That took the number of states ratifying the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention) to 25, with a combined 38.11 percent of world merchant tonnage and the convention will enter into force on September 17, 2008.

Currently, use of TBT-containing paints is constrained by a patchwork of regional and national rules.

With the AFS Convention in force, ships will no longer be permitted to apply or re-apply organotin compounds in their anti-fouling systems. Ships already having such compounds on their hulls will have to be sealed with a coating that forms a barrier to prevent the compounds leaching from the underlying non-compliant anti-fouling systems.

The AFS 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 ships flying the flag of a party to the convention, as well as ships not entitled to fly their flag but which operate under their authority and to all ships that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a party. It will apply to all ships, including fixed or floating platforms, floating storage units (FSUs), and floating production storage and off-loading units (FPSOs).