Review Of Ship Discharges Sought | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 91 Issue 20 | p. 25 | Concentrates
Issue Date: May 20, 2013

Review Of Ship Discharges Sought

Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: polyisobutene, seabirds, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, ships, water pollution
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Gannets (in foreground) and guillemots are among the seabirds that died after being coated with polyisobutene.
Credit: Ian McCarthy
Two gannets (in foreground) and more than two dozen guillemots lie dead on a rocky beach. A dark goo can be seen on most of them.
 
Gannets (in foreground) and guillemots are among the seabirds that died after being coated with polyisobutene.
Credit: Ian McCarthy

Conservation organizations and shipping industry groups are seeking a review of international rules governing polyisobutene (PIB) releases from ships. The chemical, used as an additive for lubricants and fuel oils, was identified as the sticky substance coating seabirds along the southwest coast of England earlier this year. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSBP) estimates that more than 4,000 birds washed up on beaches along the English Channel in two incidents. PIB is not directly toxic to seabirds, RSPB says. But when in contact with water, the hydrophobic chemical coalesces into a waxy material. When PIB coats the plumage of seabirds, their movement is restricted, RSPB says. Under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, vessels can legally discharge small amounts of PIB. British conservation and shipping organizations are calling for the International Maritime Organization to review PIB releases.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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