The Estonian government this week approved an international ban on the use of cybutryne-containing paints, which have been used on ship's hulls as an anti-fouling measure.
Kaupo Läänerand, deputy undersecretary at the Ministry of Climate, with the responsibility for maritime affairs and the marine environment, said: "Cybutryne had already been banned in the EU due to its hazardous nature. The renewal of the international agreements ensures that this substance will not be transferred from ships outside the EU also."
The substance is essentially a biocide, which, in addition to use in the shipping sector, has also been used on to prevent the growth of fungi and algae on the facades of buildings.
Anti-fouling paints are deployed to prevent marine flora and fauna from attaching to a vessel's hull, where they can propagate.
Over time, this can compromise the hull's profile and in fact slow up speeds, while leading to greater fuel consumption.
Their use also prevents alien species being transferred to other parts of the world, in the case of vessels making lengthy journeys.
However, there are safer alternatives than cybutryne which can be used to achieve this goal.
Ships that still use or have applied cybutryne-containing anti-fouling paint applied outside the EU must replace it with an environmentally safer alternative by December 31 2028 at the latest, the ministry says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Ministry of Climte