Update on developments on the Coating Performance Standard

As reported in our Weekly News of 15 December 2006 (WN 49/2006), the IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee at its 82nd Session (MSC 82) has approved the new SOLAS Regulations II-1/3-2 and XII/6 which mandate the Performance Standard for Protective Coatings for dedicated seawater ballast tanks in all type of ships and double-side skin spaces of bulk carriers (PSPC). Under the IMO regime, the new regulation, and thus the PSPC, will be enforced in ships with a building contract on or after 1 July 2008.


However, the Council of the International |Association of Classification Societies (IACS) has decided that PSPC will be mandated for oil tankers and bulk carriers contracted on or after 8 December 2006 under the new IACS Common Structural Rules. Shipyards have said they are not yet equiped with the necessary knowledge and understanding of PSPC and have requested IACS and the industry to provide greater clarity of the language to pre-empt possible future conflict between the yards, the ship owners and class.


As a consequence, IACS has produced its Procedural Requirement (PR) 34 aimed at providing procedures to IACS Societies to promote uniform understanding and application of the requirements of IMO PSPC MSC.215(82).


In addition, a few classification societies have already issued guidance on the application of the PSPC and have made it available as part of their Class Notations for Coating/PSPC. For example, such guides/class notations were issued by ABS (click here), and RINA (click here) (for RINA the relevant section is PART F, Chapter 10, Section 12, which came into force 1/7/2006). LR is introducing a new series of ShipRight notations based on anti-corrosion systems. Other class societies such as DNV and GL, which had class notation for coating, have upgraded these to the IMO PSPC.


However, other bodies have issued guides or drafted guidelines with their interpretation of methods of applying the IMO’s PSPC in practice. The Japan Ship Technology Research Association (JSTRA) has recently circulated such a draft. Another guide has been issued by a ship owner representative, Panos Zachariadis of Atlantic Engineering, who was involved in the IMO’s work to develop the PSPC.


All these guides give good advice and valid interpretations but, as their number grows, the industry could be faced with different views on how the PSPC should be applied. Therefore, the industry has recently agreed to set up a Joint Working Group to develop an industry best practice guide which should thereafter be accepted and followed by shipyards, class and owners.


This Joint Working Group is working on its terms of reference and it has been suggested that the kick-off meeting takes place at end of April 2007. Industry best practice will focus on the practical application of the PSPC for ship owners, shipyards and paint manufacturers. The development of such a guideline will help to ensure consistent application of the PSPC and could form part of the IMO Goal-Based Standards (GBS) Tier 5 industry guidelines and best practices.


Contact: Dragos Rauta