Arch Chemicals urges U.S. to ratify treaty banning harmful compounds in marine paints

(NORWALK, CT — November 6, 2007) Arch Chemicals, Inc. is calling upon the United States to join 25 other nations that have ratified the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships.  Having secured the minimum passage by 25 nations, the treaty will ban the use of tributyl tins (also known as organotins) as a biocide in marine anti-fouling systems on September 17, 2008 in those countries that have ratified the treaty by that date.  

Anti-fouling marine paints are used to prevent the growth of algae and other foulants on ships’ hulls, which can reduce ships’ speeds, increase fuel costs and require costly and frequent maintenance. Numerous international studies have concluded that the organotins that were traditionally used as anti-fouling compounds destroy valuable shellfish and other marine life in addition to algae.   

“Simply put, countries adopting this treaty are agreeing to the use of environmentally preferable coating compounds on the hulls of ships using their ports and waters.  Those approved compounds include Arch’s copper and zinc Omadine, which we have supplied to the marine paint industry for more than a decade,” said Frank Kicklighter, General Manager of Arch’s Industrial Biocides business. “We believe that a number of other countries, including the United States and China, should take a serious look at ratifying and implementing these vital standards in the next 12 months.”

In October 2001 the International Maritime Organization approved a treaty to prohibit the use of organotins acting as biocides in anti-fouling paints.  Now that 25 countries representing 25 per cent of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage have ratified the treaty, it will go into force in the coming year.

By Professional Mariner Staff