World Coatings Council Submits Paper on Cybutryne to IMO Subcommittee

Last month, the World Coatings Council submitted a paper to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environmental Protection Committee’s Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) Subcommittee for discussion at the group’s next meeting, to be held Feb. 17–21, 2020 in London. The paper, titled “Amendment to Annex 1 to AFS Convention to Include Controls on Cybutryne, and Consequential Revision of Relevant Guidelines,” is responding to the IMO’s efforts to ban cybutryne — a biocide used in antifouling coatings — through a process amending the organization’s Anti-Fouling Systems (AFS) Convention.

The World Coatings Council is actively participating in the evaluation of this substance for a possible ban under the AFS Convention. Its paper provides industry input and expertise on the use of antifouling paints containing cybutryne on ships and pleasure craft; function and availability of sealer-coats, which prevent leaching of cybutryne from underlying coatings; and cites guidance on the control of cybutryne-contaminated dry-docking wastes.

The global coatings industry has raised concerns over the proposed amendment to Annex 1, noting that cybutryne use is limited globally, and more environmentally benign and effective biocides are available. In its paper, the council notes that sealer-coats that prevent leaching of biocides, including cybutryne, from underlying coatings are commercially available from the coatings industry. Guidance issued in IMO Circular AFS.3/Circ.3/Rev.1 (2016) “Guidance on best management practices for removal of antifouling systems from ships, including TBT hull paints” provides practical advice on the safe management of removal activities including blasting and, where followed, should prevent environmental and safety risks resulting from removal of paints containing cybutryne from ships at maintenance and repair facilities.

The World Coatings Council paper aims to inform the PPR Subcommittee in its discussions on amending the AFS Convention, with the knowledge that current commercially available sealer-coats will prevent the loss of cybutryne from existing coatings. As such, the global coatings industry stressed that this will significantly reduce the need for full blasting following entry into force of any proposed amendments to Annex 1 of the AFS Convention.

The World Coatings Council provides a forum for information exchange and cooperation on the major issues and priorities facing the coatings industry worldwide. The council is comprised of members representing associations from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States. The Secretariat position is currently served by the American Coatings Association (ACA).

Notably, in 2008, the World Coatings Council (then IPPIC) was granted permanent NGO status at the IMO, the UN’s global standard-setting authority that regulates the safety, security, and environmental performance of international shipping and commerce, along with environmental issues particularly affecting the marine environment. Its main role is to create a governing framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, and which is universally adopted and implemented. The IMO’s regulatory reach extends to coatings used in the marine environment. Not only does the IMO address antifouling coatings under the AFS Convention, but it also has established demanding international requirements for certain protective coatings through the IMO’s Performance Standard for Protective Coatings (PSPC).

Contact ACA’s Rhett Cash for more information.

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