EU forces the pace on organotins

New EU restrictions on the use of organotin-based marine anti-fouling paints will take effect shortly under a Regulation agreed by Transport Ministers in December.

The Regulation will prohibit the use of organotin coatings on ships flying the flag of a Member State at an as yet unspecified date before July. It will then be extended to all ships from January 2008 - effectively requiring vessels still carrying organotin paints to have them covered with a barrier coating if they are not to be barred from EU ports.

The measure is intended to encourage countries to ratify a convention on anti-fouling paints adopted by the International Maritime Organization in October 2001. The convention has the same deadlines, but will not enter into force by then unless it is ratified by 25 states representing 25% of the world's merchant shipping tonnage (ENDS Report 321, pp 50-51 ).

The Regulation complements a Directive adopted last summer which banned the marketing of organotin coatings for use on all vessels within the EU from 1 January 2003 (ENDS Report 330, p 54 ).

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