Seminars and Meetings

Apart from its regular meetings, the Forum does, from time to time, host seminars and special meetings to address particular problems. It has also acted as a co-sponsor of Environmental Issue Seminars with the Shipbuilders and Shiprepairers Association and in 2000 was a joint sponsor of a major conference at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, “ENSUS 2000” (Environmental Sustainability).

There have been two further ENSUS conferences, the most recent of which, ENSUS 2005, attracted delegates from all corners of the globe. The range of topics covered was extensive and diverse, extending way beyond the original concerns arising from the use of biocidal anti-fouling products.


In 1999, the Chairman was invited by the HSE to become a member of the Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing Health & Safety Consultative Committee (SSHSCC) to represent the Marine Painting Industry and was subsequently invited to join the Engineering Industry Noise Task Group (EINTG) to enhance the representation thereon of the Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing industries (the Chairman had some years of experience working on ship noise reduction). Both these bodies were considered to be National Interest Groups (NIGs) and had representation from the HSE, employers organisations (SSA, Engineering Employers Federation), employers, trades unions, and consultants. The SSHSCC was particularly productive in drafting appropriate and practical Health and Safety Guidance and in considering and promulgating the lessons learned from accidents and from other incidents. Unfortunately, staff reductions in the engineering sector of the HSE led to the demise of these bodies.

The Marine Painting Forum is now on lists of DEFRA’s and SEPA’s ‘Consultees’ for appropriate aspects of Pollution Prevention and Control. The Forum has also been approached for assistance with certain Occupational Hygiene studies.

Recent Projects

It will be useful to describe a few of the projects undertaken by the Forum, not all of which have been attended by total success. Apart from project work, useful discussions and negotiations have been held with regulatory authorities outwith the forums mentioned above.

One very early example was the series of discussions held with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) when the “Chief Inspectors Guidance Note” was being prepared for implementation of Schedule 1 of S1472 of the Environmental Protection Act (1990).

This Schedule classed as a Part A process for Agency control “the application and removal of a coating material containing one or more tributyl tin or triphenyl tin compounds, if carried out in a shipyard or boatyard where vessels of a length of 25 metres or more can be built or maintained or repaired”

In the early days of what became the TBT drama, The Forum was active in many spheres of activity, with regulators, the paint industry, shipowners, ship-repairers and many others.

A related example of useful collaboration with regulatory authorities followed a call by the Health & Safety Executive for data for operator exposure to TBT-based anti-fouling paints. The Forum, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence (the Chairman was, of course, an MoD employee at the time), organised and ran a seminar of interested parties at the Institute of Naval Medicine and established protocols for the work required and facilitated the undertaking of this work.

A further example of collaboration with the HSE was the facility extended by the Forum for the measurement of Hand Arm Vibration levels experienced by the operator of a UHP water jetting/blasting lance. While HAV levels were found to be within acceptable limits, the noise of the process was not!

When Rosyth Royal Dockyard was in membership (unfortunately, no longer the case) their representative enthusiastically drove a project to establish a rational and practical procedure for defining and measuring dry-film thickness requirements. This procedure has recently been promulgated in the Defence Equipment & Support Agency’s ship painting publication entitled “War Paint”.

Draft Guide to the Measurement and Use of Dry Film Thickness Data on MoD (N) Vessels

Some years ago, it was recognised that ‘generic’ engineering National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) were not especially relevant to the skills required by many shipyard trades. Eventually, a Marine Qualifications Working Group was established under the auspices of the Engineering and Marine Training Authority (EMTA) (EMTA merged with the Science, Technology and Mathematics Council during the course of the project, becoming SEMTA).

The Forum’s Chairman was a member of the Working Group, drafting, with the assistance of Forum members, those NVQs appropriate to surface preparation, painting and similar or related activities. Over the course of some two years, the Working Group produced Level 3 NVQs and Level 2 NVQs. These NVQs have been endorsed by and promulgated by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA).

Two projects concerned blasting abrasives. The first, enthusiastically driven by one of the members, examined the salt contamination of commercially available expendable abrasives used in shipyards, and the transfer of contaminants to the blasted surfaces. Twenty-one samples were tested. It was established that some samples were significantly contaminated, probably from being washed with sea-water.

Water Soluble Contamination from Gritblasting Abrasives

The second such project examined Recycled Glass Abrasive, which was being promoted as a shipyard abrasive by WRAP. As he source of such glass is, in effect, random, typical examples were examined for contamination (particularly organic substances). Further work was undertaken using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM) to compare the surface characteristics of samples of steel blasted using RGA, Aluminium Oxide and Chilled Iron Grit. The samples prepared using RGA revealed a low surface profile and contamination by minute particles of glass and by particles of lead. The preparation of the samples using RGA was accompanied by excessive generation of dust.

Glass Abrasives Summary CAPCIS Glass Abrasives - Surface Analysis

A project which seemed to progress well was that to produce a series of photographs to support ISO/CD 8501-4 (Preparation of steel substrates before application of paints and related products – Part 4: Initial surface conditions, preparation grades and flash rusts grades in connection with high pressure water jetting). Unfortunately, the photographs generated did not find favour with the ISO sub-committee chairman.

A current project concerns practical guidance to the industry. A publication, “Design for Preservation and Corrosion Control Guide”, prepared by the Chairman and issued in 1994, considered by BVT Surface Fleet to be useful, has been revised and updated by the BVT Surface Fleet North members with assistance from other members. It is intended that the revised guide, entitled “Guidance Information on Design for Preservation and Corrosion Control for Steel Hulled Vessels” will be published by the Forum and made widely available. Recent articles in the technical press reinforce the need for such guidance to be heeded.

Design Guidance for Preservation and Corrosion Control In Steel Hulled Vessels


Annual membership is £1,000 and the fees fund the operation of the Forum and the undertaking of projects.

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