Saturday, January 26, 2008

Treaty Transmittal: International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships

On Tuesday, the President transmitted to the Senate, for its advice and consent to ratification, the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships. The transmittal package (Treaty Doc. 110-13) is here. As noted by the President's Letter of Transmittal, "The Convention aims to control the harmful effects of anti-fouling systems, which are used on the hulls of ships to prevent the growth of marine organisms. These systems are necessary to increase fuel efficiency and minimize the transport of hull-borne species; however, anti-fouling systems can also have negative effects on the marine environment, including when a vessel remains in place for a period of time (such as in port). To mitigate these effects, the Convention prohibits Parties from using organotin-based anti-fouling systems on their ships, and it prohibits ships that use such systems from entering Parties' ports, shipyards, or offshore terminals. The Convention authorizes controls on use of other anti-fouling systems that could be added in the future, after a comprehensive review process." The Convention was adopted in October 2001, and signed by the United States on December 12, 2002. It will enter into force for its parties on September 17, 2008. Legislation (a revision and replacement of the Organotin Anti-Fouling Paint Control Act of 1988) will be required to fully implement the Convention in the United States.