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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

12 February 2002

Tall Ship Protecting the Marine Environment

Although the tall ship Windeward Bound may be re-enacting Matthew Flinders historic voyage of 200 years ago this isn't stopping it from using the latest in environmentally friendly anti-fouling paint on its hull.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp said the Commonwealth Government's Anti-fouling Program together with Watyl Paints is providing the Windeward Bound with the paint.

"Shipowners cover their vessel's hull with anti-fouling paint to stop organisms such as molluscs and algae from attaching themselves to the surfaces. This makes them faster, more fuel efficient and needing less dry-docking," Dr Kemp said.

"It's important to stop organism build-up on ships hulls as it spreads marine pests, parasites and diseases.

"Unfortunately, some anti-fouling paints contain toxic chemicals such as tributyltin (TBT) and can be harmful to the marine environment and toxic to some marine species. This is why the Government has decided to ban the use of TBT-based paints in Australia by 2006 or earlier if an international ban comes into effect.

"TBT-free paint minimises harm to the marine environment, while effectively protecting hulls against organism build up. It also prevents potential spread of marine pests around our coasts.

"The Government is working with industry on a further range of measures to test less toxic alternatives to traditional anti-fouling paints. More than $600 000 from the Commonwealth Government's $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust is helping the shipping industry to test less toxic alternatives to anti-fouling paints and monitor the impact on the marine environment.

"Australia is also playing a key role in implementing a new international treaty to ban harmful anti-fouling systems globally. The new Anti-fouling Systems Convention under the International Maritime Organisation adopted late last year, will soon see a ban on all tin-based anti-fouling systems.

"Anti-fouling painting of the Windeward Bound's hull is happening in Wollongong this week before the ship returns to Sydney to prepare for the start of its voyage in March.

"The Australian Shipowners Association and are also helping with the technical aspects of the anti-fouling of the Windeward Bound," Dr Kemp said.

The Windeward Bound is circumnavigating Australia to commemorate the bicentennial of Matthew Flinders voyage when he was the first to map the entire coastline of the country and call it Australia.

Media Contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia