Representatives of repair yards and marine paint manufacturers have criticised the planned EU biocide regulation. At an event organised by the Verband für Schiffbau und Meerestechnik (German Shipbuilding and Ocean Industries Association – VSM) and the Verband der Lackindustrie (Association of the German Paint and Printing Ink Industry – VdL), the participants provided a stern warning regarding the planned rules. According to Michael Wilkens, Chairperson of the VdL Marine Paints working group, the high cost of the approval for marine paints, which is also required for all older products that are still permitted to be produced because they contain one of the ten active substances approved by the EU, is not affordable for SMEs. In addition to approximately EUR 50,000 for the initial registration in an EU member state, the approval in the other EU states would also apply. It is barely possible to recover these amounts in the market.
VSM’s Chief Executive Reinhard Lüken explained that the question as to which marine antifouling agents should be used in marine painting (antifouling paints) would best be regulated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in a convention, in order for the regulations to apply worldwide. If the EU is aware of other dangerous biocides, an effective ban on these substances can only be achieved by means of an appropriate extension of the IMO Convention. In addition, Lüken warned of possible economic damage, ‘because every docking is accompanied by extensive further repairs, in addition to the painting.’ Guido Försterling is also aware of the risk that, in the future, shipowners could look for shipyards outside the EU if the paints they want are no longer permitted to be used in the EU. The Managing Director of German Dry Docks (GDD), a repair and conversion yard in Bremerhaven, pointed out that more than 90 per cent of the customers of German repair yards come from non-EU countries. In most cases, these shipowners have a framework contract with paint manufacturers, which is why the shipyard has no influence on the antifouling paint to be used.
Inadequate antifouling protection increases emissions
Professor Volker Bertram from the classification society DNV GL stated that the lack of effective antifouling paints could have two undesirable ecological side effects. On the one hand, inadequate antifouling protection would lead to up to 20 per cent more fuel consumption and, thereby, to correspondingly higher emissions. On the other hand, the efforts of the EU and the world community would counter the introduction of invasive foreign varieties. ‘With a lot of effort, a new rule for ballast water management has been introduced for this purpose. However, this is only about 50 per cent responsible for invasive varieties. The other half occurs through the hull,’ says Bertram.
Sources: THB, VSM