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Agenda item 6



Discussion on Conditions for the Adoption of the Convention

Submitted by Brazil

Executive summary: This document, after considering a series of non-resolved issues
pending at the opening of the Diplomatic Conference on the Control
of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems, suggests new or modified texts to
be introduced into the draft Convention in order to solve the most
important of them. Among these are the questions on the
methodology for assessment and certification of new anti-fouling
systems and the definition for the Technical Group. In general, the
document intends to submit to the Conference well-defined criteria to
enable the Parties to conclude the work in due course, achieving a
long wanted solution or such relevant issue to the environment. The
ideas under the principle of the Precautionary Approach were taken
into consideration with the scientific significance that underlines it.
Action to be taken: Paragraph 8
Related documents: AFS/CONF/2/Rev.1, MEPC 44/3/5, MEPC 46/5/12, MEPC 46/5/13,
MEPC 46/5/16, MEPC 43/3 and MEPC 43/3/2


1 The international maritime community has shown significant commitment to complete

the draft text of the Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems during the
forty-sixth session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee.

2 Brazil, a country committed to the protection of the environment, with a special concern
with the large marine area along its extensive coast and numerous harbours, has also been a
contributor to this effort. It submitted to the Committee proposals concerning the requirements
for the selection of a TBT-free painting system (MEPC 44/3/5 and MEPC 46/5/13), suggesting a
precautionary scheme to certify new supposedly harmless and TBT-free anti-fouling products,
based on an approach similar to that adopted by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC),
For reasons of economy, this document is printed in a limited number. Delegates are
kindly asked to bring their copies to meetings and not to request additional copies.
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internationally in force since April 1997. In the same document, Brazil has proposed that
procedures for testing anti-fouling systems be adopted.

2 Introduction

2.1 The present document takes into consideration all the previous information and
documents submitted by several delegations about “Harmful effects of the use of anti-fouling
paints for ships”, and those discussed within the MEPC meetings.

2.2 In addition, it is based upon the work developed by the Instituto de Estudos do Mar
Almirante Paulo Moreira (IEAPM), Brazilian Navy, on the relevant current research in Brazil
and on the results from the Seminar on Biofouling, Benthic Ecology and Corrosion, held at the
Institute, from 30 July to 02 August 2001, which was attended by representatives of the scientific
community, researchers and universities concerned with life within the marine environment (a
brief report of these studies, researches and seminar is included in document AFS/CONF/INF.2
submitted to the Conference).

2.3 During the referred Seminar, technical aspects concerning the draft Convention were
discussed, which still require further clarification in order to enable a fair agreement among the
States, and lead to the adoption of a Convention that could be promptly accepted and ratified.

2.4 The current document follows the approach that, for every issue, we give:

a) a statement on the raised issue and the different views on the subject;

b) the proposed solution as an amendment to the draft Convention; and

c) an explanation of the solution, covering technical and practical considerations,

including those discussed in the previously mentioned seminar, giving the reasons
why it is believed to be the most adequate way to reach a fair agreement.

2.5 As a matter of principle, all proposals consider that a solution not based on a scientific
certainty, but expecting the market dynamics to resolve most of the uncertainties, cannot give,
under the terms of a convention, an incommensurate advantage to any single party in the
economic game, be it the shipping industry, the paint manufacturers, the shipyards or even the

3 Technical issues requiring solution

3.1 Sealant versus Removal


3.1.1 If the Convention comes into force as it stands now, over 33,000 ships will have TBT
removed (or over-coated) between 2003 and 2008. Due to the problems related to over-coating,
sealing and surveying, as well as testing the results, it appears that blasting is the preferred
solution available, capable of minimising false positive test results and compatibility problems.

3.1.2 If blasting is chosen as the requirement, it is highly likely that the abatement and waste
handling facilities will not be available in shipyards on a worldwide basis. This will have the
effect of further limiting dry-dock availability, and placing a premium on yards that can process
large volumes of blast material in an environmentally and economically acceptable manner.
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3.1.3 Studies show that a major source of TBT contamination results from poor dockyard
practices related to removal, treatment or disposal of the spent TBT paint residues. In addition,
most hull blasting will be done in places where dry-docks have no abatement facilities, and/or
waste treatment and disposal regulations. Although there is a need to decide which treatment
shall be given to such residues, it is doubtful whether this could be dealt with in this Convention,
or under the scope of IMO.

3.1.4 The coating industry claims that it is possible to provide non-polishing inert
sealer-coatings that provide an effective barrier to prevent TBT from leaching from an
underlying TBT anti-fouling paint. Furthermore, the cost of applying a sealer coating, on a
square meter basis (MEPC 46/5/12), is over 4 times less than that of re-blasting a ship’s hull.

3.1.5 The lifetime of TBT-based anti-fouling paints, when applied thickly, is accepted to be
about 5 years. Therefore, if the Convention enters into force in 2003, TBT-based anti-fouling
paints will no longer exist, or only a very thin layer will remain on the ship’s hull in 2008
(MEPC 46/5/16).

3.1.6 It is not possible to guarantee that detachment of sealant-coated areas (caused, for
example, by mechanical damage or coating adhesion failure) will not impede releasing residues
of TBT from underlying coatings.

3.1.7 Any false positive test, revealing the presence of an old TBT system on the hull, can
generate losses to the ship derived from lost operating time and reputation.


3.1.8 Annex I – “Controls on anti-fouling systems”

Brazil supports option B: “Ships either (1) shall not bear such compounds on their hull or
external parts or surfaces or (2) shall bear a coating that forms a barrier to such compounds
leaching from the underlying non-compliant anti-fouling systems”.

3.1.9 Addition to Article 10:

“2 bis Ships bearing the certification of a TBT-clear hull, obtained from a dockyard in
accordance with Regulation 2 of Annex 4, shall be exempted from hull
inspection, having only the documentation verified. For ships using an over-
coating, the State authorities can carry out a thorough inspection in accordance
with paragraph 1 of this Article.”

3.1.10 Addition to Regulation 1 of Annex 4 – “Surveys and Anti-fouling system requirements”

“1 bis No survey will be required of a ship that has had an anti-fouling system
prohibited under Annex 1 removed, and bears the International Anti-fouling
System Certificate stating that its hull is clear.

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3.1.11 Alteration to the Appendix to Annex 4 - “Surveys and anti-fouling system requirements”

International Anti-fouling System Certificate

In the International Anti-fouling System Certificate Form, between the entry “An anti-fouling
system prohibited under Annex I has never been applied on this Ship” and the entry “Details of
anti-fouling system(s) applied”, write the following text:

An anti-fouling system prohibited under Annex 1 has been applied on this ship previously, but
has now been removed by ____________________ (name of registered dockyard).

An anti-fouling system prohibited under Annex 1 has been applied on this ship but has been over-
coated with a sealant coat by ____________________(name of registered dockyard) on
____________________ (date).


3.1.12 A ship that had the TBT removed from the hull already faced two problems: the difficulty
in finding an available dockyard to remove the previous system and the cost associated with it.
However, it complied with the TBT ban in its entirety. It is reasonable, therefore, to be
compensated for having a TBT-free hull by being exempted from inspections, an advantage in
relation to ships that are sealant-coated. On the other hand, the ship that uses an over-coating,
although bearing a lower cost law compliance, will face the inconvenience of possible
inspections. The advantage of this system comes from the expectation that the transition from
TBT to TBT-free paintings would happen in a more smooth way, with no increase in dockyard

4 New Anti-fouling Systems: Tests and Regulation


4.1 Several Administrations developed legislation dealing with the admissibility and
application of substances believed to be harmless. However, it is necessary to develop universal
standards for testing and registering safer anti-fouling products, based on criteria for admission or
rejection of any substance to be used as anti-fouling paint, depending on it being or not
environmentally safe or considerably less harmful than TBT.

4.2 It was controversial, during the Anti-fouling Paints Working Group meeting at the
forty-third session of MEPC, whether a restricted list of acceptable products or a comprehensive
one should be compiled. The majority, however, favoured the limited approach, outlined in
document MEPC 43/3/2, under the justification that developing and managing a comprehensive
list would be time consuming and impractical. The delegate from the Netherlands then decided to
withdraw the proposal contained in their document MEPC 43/3 regarding the compilation of a
list based on registrations in States that established domestic legislation.

4.3 It is essential to prohibit the use of TBT in anti-fouling paints. Nevertheless,

development of international criteria for the selection of alternative TBT free paints must be
considered at the same time. There is a need to develop such criteria in order to avoid the risk of
using paints, which are more harmful to the marine environment than those containing TBT and
also to prevent unfair competition. Unless international criteria are agreed, application of
differentiated national criteria may create conditions that allow unfair competition within ship

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repair and paint manufacturing industries with advantages taken by those operating in States that
apply less stringent criteria.

4.4 Although many manufacturers claim to have produced paints that meet the performance
required by the maritime industry, any mandatory measure to be adopted internationally will
demand a minimum level of certainty about the efficacy of such replacement. Several shipowners
reported problems with the performance of alternative tin-free paints, and started using TBT
again. The legitimate environmental justification for this decision is less fuel burned, lower
emissions and less invasive species transported on their hulls. In addition, high performance
alternatives are prohibitively expensive (2-6 times TBT-based systems) and none provides the 5-
year efficacy level envisaged by many ship operators.

4.5 Additional concerns relate to:

a) non-existence, up to now, of a standard methodology for the assessment of new

anti-fouling systems, specified by means of a Protocol of Standardised Tests;

b) non-definition of the experimental design, which must be used by the paint

manufacturers’ laboratories, in order to set standards of assessment of the
contamination of living organisms at sea, under a new chemical product;

4.6 Furthermore, there is not, at this stage:

a) a definition of the level of assurance that a manufacturer of a new anti-fouling

system must provide, concerning the effectiveness of his product, before it can
be adopted;

b) a provision in the draft Convention concerning the liability on the part of the
paint manufacturer who unreliably claimed that his paint was efficient and
effective; and

c) a definition as to whether the Administration shall be responsible for providing

a Certificate with a relevant statement that the manufacturer of the new anti-
fouling paint has complied with the Protocol of Standardised Tests.


4.7 Alteration to Article 4 – ‘Controls on anti-fouling systems”

Re-write Article 4 as follows:

“1 In order to approve the application of a anti-fouling system, Administrations shall:

a) require a previous registration, which will include a technical specification of

the product given by the manufacturer, covering as far as possible the
information mentioned in Annexes 2 and 3 to the present Convention;

b) comply with the requirements of the Protocol of Standardized Tests, to be

issued by the Committee within twelve months from the adoption of the
Convention, designed to verify the performance of the new anti-fouling paint.

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2 In accordance with the requirements specified in Annex 1, each Party shall

prohibit and/or restrict:

a) the application, re-application, installation or use of the harmful anti-

fouling systems on ships referred to in article 2(1)(a) or (b); and

b) the application, re-application, or use of such systems, whilst in a Party´s

port, shipyard, offshore terminal, on ships referred to in Article 2(a)(c),

and shall take effective measures to ensure that such ships comply with those

3 An Administration can issue a Certificate of Exemption of Compliance with this

Convention, to be accepted by all Parties to the Convention, to the ships under the
control of that Administration if none of the manufacturers or suppliers, when
registering a new anti-fouling system, offer an effective warranty, to be conferred
to the shipowners, regarding the effectiveness of that system in relation to the
protection given during a 5-year operation between scheduled dry dockings, and
the non-toxicity to the marine environment.”


4.8 The introduction of these rules will contribute to enhance the quality and control of
anti-fouling products. At the same time, they will give the manufacturers and shipowners an
equivalent burden and advantages to allow the correct functioning of the market laws. Several
manufacturers have claimed to produce paints that meet the performance required by the
maritime industry.

4.9 Since the Annexes 2 and 3 will be used as part of the process to ban anti-fouling systems
that can bring harm to the environment, it is perfectly reasonable to use the same requirements in
these annexes to analyse new systems intended not to be harmful to the marine environment. This
process will not create additional work for the countries that have developed their own legislation
with respect to the admissibility and application of new substances. It can be an easy way to
establish universal standards for testing and registering safer anti-fouling products for all IMO

5 Technical Group


5.1 The composition and organisation of a Technical Group (Art.7 of the draft Convention) is
not properly defined, although it is determined that a new technical group shall be created for
each comprehensive proposal received.


5.2 Add a new paragraph 10 to Article 3

“10 - “Technical Group” is an institutional board of experts nominated by the interested

Parties, which are representatives of laboratories or institutions that the said Parties
recognize as being dedicated to anti-fouling system analysis.”

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5.3 Alter paragraph 1 of Article 7 to read:

“1 The Technical Group shall be established whenever a comprehensive proposal is

received pursuant to Article 6 of this Convention. In circumstances where several
different proposals are received concurrently other Technical Groups may be


5.4 A mechanism of such an importance created by the Convention cannot be accepted as an

ad hoc group. The change introduced at the MEPC 46, from Expert Group to Technical Group,
did not solve the problem pointed out by the United States (MEPC 46/5/1). The proposed
definition of the Technical Group will make it clear that it is not only a group of specialized
individuals but they rather represent an institution and will further constitute an institutional
mechanism under the Convention, to review the technical matter submitted in accordance with
Article 6.

6 Future Ban of an Approved System


6.1 Whenever a product or a system is rightfully applied to a ship’s hull and is later banned in
accordance with the procedures of Article 6, it is not clear how the ship will be treated under the
terms of the Convention.

6.2 There is no definition and no agreement has been reached so far on the methodology the
Committee members will apply to approve/ratify the additional banned new substances to the
Treaty list.


6.3 Additional paragraph 4 to Article 4

“4 – A ship treated in dry dock with an accepted anti-fouling system that is later
considered to be harmful by the Convention will be allowed to retain it until the next
scheduled dry docking.”

6.4 Add paragraph 7 to Article 6

“7 – The technical basis for the Committee’s decision will be taken from the results from
the analysis undertaken under the Protocol of Standardized Tests referred to in
Article 4 (1)(b)”.


6.5 Shipowners need to have a minimal guarantee that the product they are applying will
remain in the hull for a reasonable period.

6.6 As stated before, it is very important, for the sake of consistency, to adopt a Protocol of
Standardized Tests and use its results.

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7 Dissemination of Information


7.1 There is a remarkable lack of information on alternative anti-fouling systems, a subject to

which Brazil proposed specific solution in MEPC 46/5/13. Up to now, little information on the
efficacy and environmental effects of alternatives has been made available to IMO from
independent sources. For many ship operators, it is unclear which alternative systems are
accepted, approved or licensed, in which countries, what their performances and characteristics
are, the environmental effects of the biocides used, which products are already banned and
where, which are under planning to ban and where. It is necessary to provide a mechanism that
will make information available regarding alternative systems to all IMO Members.


7.2 Add a new paragraph 2 to Article 9, after renumbering paragraph 2 as 3:

“2 –The Parties undertake to annually communicate to the Organisation information

about all anti-fouling substances approved or prohibited in each of their States”

7.3 Alter current paragraph 2, renumbering it as 3:

“3- The Organisation shall make available electronically or through other means as
appropriate any information received under paragraphs 1 and 2 of this article to all


7.4 Several countries have their own biocide/pesticide testing and approval systems. This
may eliminate the pressure on IMO to conduct such testing, if the information and results are
shared with all IMO States

Action requested of the Conference

8 The Conference is invited to take into consideration the above discussed aspects, in order
to verify the long unresolved points, which if not effectively solved can hinder the adoption of
the Convention or its entry into force.



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