The EU goes ahead with ban on TBT anti-fouling systems on EU ships from 1 July 2003

On 9 May the final version of EC Regulation 782/2003 on the prohibition of organotin compounds on ships was published in the European Official Journal. It entered into force the following day.

This Regulation bans the fresh application of TBT antifouling paints on EU-flagged vessels from 1 July 2003 and forbids the existence of TBT on all ships entering a port or offshore terminal of an EU Member State from 1 January 2008.

At the international level, the IMO Convention of 5 October 2001 on the control of harmful antifouling systems on ships (AFS Convention) will regulate tin based coatings. It initially proposed to ban the application of TBT anti-fouling paints from 1 January 2003 and the existence of it from 1 January 2008.

However, only a few countries have ratified the AFS Convention so far. The EU’s intention is therefore to encourage Member States to ratify it and to contribute to its earliest possible entry into force. To enter into force, the AFS Convention must be ratified by at least 25 states representing 25% of the world merchant fleet. On 1 May 2004 the EU will be enlarged to include new countries such as Cyprus and Malta and will then represent about 30% of the world tonnage. By applying Regulation 782/2003, the enlarged EU will make a decisive step towards an international ban on organotin compounds on ships.

The Regulation can be downloaded from INTERTANKO’s web site.

Contact: Tim Wilkins