920 - 11/13 - Polyisobutene (PIB) Re-classified as category X - Worldwide

Following several serious incidents including a large discharge off SW England in January 2013, the IMO has re classified Polyisobutene as Category X.

Category X:  Substances that present a major hazard to either marine resources or human health and, therefore, justify the prohibition of the discharge into the marine environment

For substances under category X, a tank from which a substance in category X has been unloaded, must be pre washed before the ship leaves the port of unloading. The resulting residues must be discharged to a reception facility until the concentration of the substance is at or below 0.1% by weight.

Polyisobutene  produced in the 1930’s  is a synthetic alternative to natural rubber being very similar in molecular structure to polythene and polypropylene the materials used for making paper bags and cling film. It is also used as an additive in lubricating oils and fuels. Over 850,000 tonnes are shipped around the world each year.

The amendment will be put forward for inclusion in the IBC code in 2014 and could be implemented in 2016.

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