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Paint Manufacturers – Put the Tributyl-tin containing Antifoulings To Bed

Interlux, a world leader in antifoulings, says it’s surprised to find companies are still promoting the harmful organotin compound for use in and on American waters. Prompted by such irresponsible activities, the company issues the following update & advice:

On September 17, 2008 the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships (“AFS Treaty”) was enacted on a global basis (for all countries that have ratified the treaty), banning the presence of Tributyl-tin (“TBT”) on boats. While ratification by the US Congress is still due, this global ban does affect many American boat owners.

Key Facts:

  • The harmful environmental effects of organotin compounds were recognized by IMO in 1989.
  • In 1990, IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted a resolution recommending that governments establish measures to eliminate the use of antifouling paint containing TBT on hulls less than 25 meters in length.
  • In 1999, IMO adopted an Assembly Resolution that called for a global prohibition of TBT-containing antifouling by January 2008.
  • In October 2001, the AFS Treaty was adopted.
  • On September 17, 2008, the AFS Treaty was enacted. The treaty provided that boats shall not have TBT-antifouling or such compounds on their hulls and external parts and surfaces or shall bear a coating that forms a barrier to such compounds leaching from the underlying, non-compliant antifouling system.
  • To date (March of 2011), 50 parties have ratified the AFS Treaty representing over 78% of the world’s shipping tonnage.
  • The AFS Treaty bans the sale, application and presence of TBT-based antifoulings.

Considerations for American Boaters


  • Forget to carry paperwork onboard to show compliance*.
  • Try and transport your boat using International Boat Shipping services without confirming and declaring antifouling compliance for the destination port. Port Authority Control can decline entry and/or issue significant fines for breach of Treaty!
  • Let other paint companies tell you TBT-containing paint is the right choice. With today’s technology, it is not.
  • Forget that Our World is Water

But Do:

  • Select the high performance replacement technologies that work (without the TBT), such as the Self-Polishing Copolymer technology that provides longevity and peace-of-mind. The Interlux product is Micron® 66®.
  • Consider the environment and the condition of your local waters. International Paint used TBT in antifouling paints until 2001 when we revolutionized the market with the break-through of the first,
    copper-based , true Self Polishing Copolymer (SPC) Technology.
    We found a replacement and we voluntarily withdrew TBT from all
    our manufacturing sites world-wide, prior to the ban. A responsible
    company is a pro-active company.
  • Refuse stocking or purchasing of TBT-containing antifoulings with the objective of environmental improvement. Great performing
    replacement technologies are available. Would you paint your
    kitchen with a lead-based paint, knowing what we know today?

The AFS Treaty covers all ships regardless of size but in order to ensure compliance to the treaty only ships over 400 gross tonnage will be
required to carry a Certificate showing the current coating is in compliance with the treaty. Ships greater than 24 meters but less than 400 gross
tonnage shall be required to carry a Declaration signed by the owner along with an appropriate document such as a paint receipt to show

To fully understand the treaty you can obtain a copy of the AFS treaty from IMO or it can been seen and downloaded on the web site, www.imo.org


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