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New anti-fouling shipping regulation now in force

Posted inRegulationbyYasmin Talbot

On 18 April 2024, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced that they were implementing new legislation for the UK that governs anti-fouling systems on ships. This was introduced following a consultation that took place in November and December 2023.

Anti-fouling systems, also known as AFS, are types of paint used to coat the hull of a ship; this in turn keeps it clean and free from marine life such as algae. Although anti-fouling helps ships travel through the water faster, therefore consuming less fuel, the biocides used can be harmful to important marine organisms.  

The new regulation which came into force on 10 May 2024 helps to support a global response and as such, the MCA’s Merchant Shipping (Anti-Fouling Systems) Regulations 2024 now disallows the application of marine paints that contain cybutryne; other harmful organotin compounds continue to be prohibited as well.

 These new rules apply to all UK flagged ships, whether sailing in the UK or abroad. Similarly, this also applies to non-UK flagged ships visiting the UK or in controlled waters.  

The goal of this new regulation is to help protect the marine environment and reduce or remove pollution related to these damaging substances.  

Find out more about the background around anti-fouling systems and read what MCA Chief Executive, Virginia McVea had to say in the GOV.UK press release