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Effects of using harmful anti-fouling paints in marine environment

Anti-fouling system – A coating, paint, surface treatment or device that is used on a ship to control or to prevent the attachment of unwanted organisms. The smoother a ship’s hull, the more efficiently she moves through the water. Anti-fouling paint is therefore applied to the hull in order to prevent the build up of marine growth which would otherwise reduce the speed of the ship and increase her fuel consumption.

However it has been proved that certain types of anti-fouling paints that include tri-butyl-tin (TBT) compounds can create adverse impacts on both the marine environment as well as to human health. These paints slowly leach out organotin compounds which act as biocides against certain marine organisms.

As a result the IMO have adopted the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships (2001). This Convention requires that from January 2003 all ships must not apply or re-apply (such as touching up) these paints. From January 2008 all such coating on vessels must either be removed or be given an over coating of another specialised paint. In the latter case the paint must in effect form a barrier to the compounds leaching from the underlying non-compliant anti-fouling system.

Vessels will therefore need proof of compliance and this will be in the form of an International Anti-Fouling System Certificate. These certificates will be issued by the Flag Administration or organisation duly authorised by it. In addition the Flag Administration will require a Declaration signed by the Owner/Manager stating that the coating is compliant with the Convention along with the types of coating and date of application.

Self-polishing anti-fouling paint – A paint coating which is designed to wear down smoothly while maintaining a bio-active interface between the coating and water. The coating thus provides protection against marine growth whilst minimizing hull resistance.

Shipping industry recognizes environmental protection as one of its highest priorities and that every effort should be made to conserve and protect the environment from marine, atmospheric and other forms of pollution.
Our articles are based on various shipboard activities,prevention of pollution,safe operation & maintenance procedure. We welcome any feedback from our visitors.

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