Report from DE 49 - Performance Standards for Coating

The 49th Session of the IMO Sub-Committee on Design and Equipment (DE 49) has this week been considering a final draft of the new mandatory Performance Coating Standards. At the time of drafting these notes, the outcome has still to be made known. However, it can be anticipated that DE 49 will complete most of the basic requirements for coating application on ballast tanks, inspection of the application of the standard and the verification that Administrations will undertake. DE 49 has already decided on two different test procedures for existing coating systems and test approval for alternative coating systems respectively. It was agreed that the test procedures should be more stringent for alternative (new) coating systems. These tests will be done by accredited test laboratories which will issue a Type Approval Certificate for approved coating systems. To that extent, if shop primer is to be retained as a first means of coating protection systems, such a shop primer would also need to be test approved.  

One outstanding matter for discussion is the scope of the Coating Technical File (CTF) particularly to what extent the standard for coating of newbuildings should include records of maintenance during the ship’s life. INTERTANKO, shipowners' associations and the majority of Flag Administrations agree that the CTF should record technical details on the initial coating and thereafter data on significant repairs and re-coating works. A few flag Administrations, particularly Korea, China and the European Shipbuilders Council (CESA), insist that any recoating activity, including the touch-ups taken by mariners should be recorded together with details that are usually not recorded, such as humidity and temperatures when small repairs are undertaken. INTERTANKO anticipates that such detailed documentation would not be required. INTERTANKO has also asked shipbuilders to clarify the significance of such detailed records in the event that coating systems are deficient despite documented careful maintenance. 

Another difficult task DE 49 and probably the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) need to address is the adoption of a clear text of the new SOLAS regulation that would ensure an efficient implementation and enforcement of the use of the new standards. This and a few other outstanding issues will be further addressed by MSC 81 in May 2006. INTERTANKO hopes that MSC 81 will agree on a final text of performance coating standards for ballast tanks on tankers and bulk carriers in May 2006, thus enabling its adoption at MSC 82 in December 2006. Assuming such a schedule can be realised, the earliest enforcement of these new standards would be around 1 July 2008. 

DE 49 agreed to establish a correspondence group tasked to initiate the development of a performance coating standard to be used on void spaces with particular priority being given to void spaces on bulk carriers and tankers. 

INTERTANKO was actively involved on these developments and was represented by Mr. Eliasson of Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group and Dragos Rauta, INTERTANKO' Technical Director. A copy of the current draft text of the Performance Coating Standards will be made available in our next Weekly News. 

Contact: Dragos Rauta