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Anti-Fouling Systems Convention In Force In The US

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

29 November 2012


US flagged vessels, wherever located, and foreign flagged vessels in the internal waters of the United States, in any port, shipyard, offshore terminal or other place in the United States must now demonstrate compliance with the provisions of the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, 2001, following the legislation's entry into force in the nation on November 21, 2012.

The AFS Convention prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships and establishes a mechanism to prevent the potential future use of other harmful substances in anti-fouling systems.

Anti-fouling paints are used to coat the bottoms of ships to prevent sealife such as algae and molluscs attaching themselves to the hull - thereby slowing down the ship and increasing fuel consumption. However, studies have shown that some compounds used in these paints kill sea-life and are harmful to the maritime environment. One of the most effective anti-fouling paints, developed in the 1960s, contains the organotin tributyltin (TBT), which has been proven to cause deformations in oysters and sex changes in whelks.

Under the terms of the AFS Convention, Parties to the Convention are required to prohibit and/or restrict the use of harmful anti-fouling systems on ships flying their flag, as well as ships not entitled to fly their flag but which operate under their authority and all ships that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a Party.

Annex I states that all ships shall not apply or re-apply organotins compounds which act as biocides in anti-fouling systems. This applies to all ships (including fixed and floating platforms, floating storage units, and Floating Production Storage and Offtake units).

According to guidance published by the US Coast Guard, "US flagged vessels of 400 gross tons and above engaging on international voyages (excluding fixed or floating platforms, floating storage units, and floating production storage and off-loading units), must demonstrate compliance with the AFS Convention through possession of an IAFS Certificate."

"All vessels 24 meters or more in length, but less than 400 gross tons engaged in international voyages, shall carry a Declaration signed by the owner or owner's authorized agent, which should be accompanied by the appropriate documentation (such as a paint receipt or a contractor invoice)."

TAGS: marine

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