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Wednesday, 18 September 2019
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Standards ahoy: CEPE Marine Sector Group on their current focus

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Standards and class approvals are among the most topics for the Marine Sector Group. With regard to antifouling paints, a great concern for the group is the Biocidal Products Directive. Bjørn Tveitan, chair of CEPE’s Marine Sector group, speaks about the group’s recent projects.

Bjørn Tveitan on the Marine Sector GroupsÄs most recent projects. Source: Angelika Bentin -Fotolia.com

Bjørn Tveitan on the Marine Sector GroupsÄs most recent projects. Source: Angelika Bentin -Fotolia.com

1. What is currently on the agenda for the sector group marine coatings?

Bjørn Tveitan: Two major topics on the CEPE Marine Sector Group's recent agendas have been standards development / class approvals for paints and the future for antifouling paints in the EU under the regime of the Biocidal Products Directive. Standards and classification issues have a global impact, and development work takes place in IMO or ISO. Therefore, our involvement is organised via our industry's international umbrella - the International Paint and Printing Ink Council. A lot of work has been invested in IMO’s Performance Standards for Protective Coatings.

The same applies to defining how the various technologies for protecting ballast tanks from carrying invasive species are compatible with the coatings that protect these tanks. CEPE’s direct involvement has primarily been the classification aspects of these standards. We have cooperated with SeaEurope as an ally in our struggle to achieve mutual recognition of paint certificates and type approvals. A member of our Marine Sector Group last year attended the annual meeting in the EU Recognised Organizations Technical Board. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, he did not have success with respect to reducing our costs with having to buy the same certificates for the same products from every classification society. Our group has also closely followed the work in ISO with developing a standard for Measurement of Changes in Hull and Propeller Performance – ISO 19030. We believe that this standard will help customers with the choosing the antifouling protection that will best fit individual vessels’ operating patterns and trade and thereby greatly reduce vessels’ fuel budget and carbon footprint.

For antifouling, a classification issue has had a European twist since we met with the Commission to get their opinion on whether some class societies’ practices were compliant with Regulation (391/2009) requirements on harmonising procedures. Some have the practice that when issuing vessels with the compulsory International Anti-fouling System Certificate under IMO’s AFS Convention, they base this on a type approval of each individual antifouling paint. In the paint industry’s view, these recognised organizations exceed their mandate from each ship’s Flag State since this is a practice beyond the guidelines of the IMO Convention. We had strong support for our case, but unfortunately this responsibility was soon after transferred to another Directorate General and our contact person changed his responsibilities. We also learned that in order for the DG to take action, due to their resource situation, the paint industry would have had to develop and prepare a complete case with all the legal aspects exhaustively outlined.

On antifouling and the BPR, CEPE has engaged and supported selected national associations in an effort to help them explain the possible negative consequences of this regulation to national politicians. We believe that the departments of trade and industry in some member states - where ship or boat building and maintenance is economically important – are unaware of the potential impact. In the years to come, all antifouling products, that manufactures want to remain on the European market, will need an approval. We fear that the restrictive approach voiced by some of the Member States, that have been most active and vocal in developing the guidance under the BPR, will greatly affect the availability of efficacious antifouling paints in Europe. The consequence in that case will be that owners will chose to build and dry-dock their vessels outside the European Union. This may put half a million jobs in the EU at risk. The environmental benefit of a strict approach will be zero because foreign vessels will still be able to freely operate in European waters. Emissions from European shipyards can easily be controlled and their practices are regulated under the Integrated Emissions Directive.

2. What is state of the art in the risk assessment of anti-fouling agents?

Bjørn Tveitan, chair of CEPE’s Marine Sector group

Bjørn Tveitan, chair of CEPE’s Marine Sector group

Tveitan: Our risk assessment of antifouling paints will have to follow the rigorous requirements in the Biocidal Products Directive. Our concern, since our submission deadlines of those risk assessment are approaching, is the fact that several key issues are not yet clarified. Therefore, we do not know which products that may pass the risk assessment and we risk investing a lot of time and effort and expensive testing in products that may anyway not be approved.

A key issue will be where the Member States chose to set their so called "protection goal”. Should a busy harbour or a crowded marina have the same requirements for water quality as more pristine coastal waters or should they be regarded as technospheres and parking lots for boats? For the environmental risk assessment, the MAMPEC simulation program is important. It was developed with support from the EU, but since then CEPE has paid for the independent university scientists’ development and refinement of this tool.

3. What is state of the art in the risk assessment of anti-fouling agents?

Tveitan: We have had very positive feed-back from the authority persons that attended our shipyard excursion in Rotterdam harbour. They were overwhelmed by the dimensions, but also by the cleanliness and the shipyard’s presentation of the measures they take to collect paint waste and minimise emissions. We believe that a better understanding of how and where our products are actually used will benefit future discussion on the detailed aspects of the risk assessments we have to present to the authorities that will evaluate our applications for product authorisations.

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