The Merchant Shipping (Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships) Regulation (AFS Regulation) and the Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (Fees Amendment Regulation) were gazetted today (March 20).A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said that the AFS Regulation, which was newly made under the Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Ordinance (Cap.413), aimed to implement the “International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships, 2001” (the Convention) in Hong Kong.
The Convention was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to prohibit the use of organotin compounds in anti-fouling paints used on ships so as to protect the marine environment. The Convention entered into force internationally on September 17, 2008.
The AFS Regulation prohibits ships from applying organotin compounds in their anti-fouling systems. It requires all ships of 400 gross tonnage (GT) and above engaged in international voyages to carry on board an International Anti-Fouling System Certificate issued by the Flag State Administration after satisfactory completion of a survey to demonstrate that the ship is in full compliance with the Convention.
As for ships which are less than 400 GT but are 24 meters or more in length engaged in international voyages, they are required to carry a declaration on anti-fouling system signed by the owner or his authorised agent.
“As an international maritime centre and an associate member of the IMO, it is important for Hong Kong to implement locally the latest international maritime requirements.
The implementation of the Convention in Hong Kong will also contribute to environmental protection,” the spokesman added.
The Government also proposes a consequential amendment to the Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (Fees) Regulation (Cap.413L) to prescribe fees for survey and certification services rendered by the Marine Department under the AFS Regulation.
The charging of fees for the survey and certification services provided by the Marine Department is based on the cost recovery principle and will have minimal impact on the operating costs of ocean-going vessels.
The spokesman pointed out that stakeholders in the shipping industry, who had been consulted in the preparation of the legislative proposals, were supportive of the proposals for the implementation of the Convention.
The AFS Regulation and the Fees Amendment Regulation will be tabled at the Legislative Council on March 25.
Source: HKSAR Government