The IMO PSPC Regulation

The Perfomance Standard for Protective Coatings Resolutions MSC.215(82) and MSC.215(84) provides technical requirements for protective coatings in all ballast tanks of all new ships of greater than 500 gross tonnage, and double-side skin spaces arranged in bulk carriers of 150m (492 ft) in length and upward came into full effect from 1st July 2008.

'New' is defined as:

all building contracts placed on or after 1st July 2008; or
if no contract, keel laid on or after 1st January 2009; or
any vessel delivered on or after 1st July 2012

Although the PSPC highlights Ballast Tank Coatings, the standard also covers all Permanent Means of Access (PMA) when integral with the structural elements. The PSPC is also recommended for other portions of the PMA including independent platforms, ladders and guard rails.

The aim of the IMO PSPC is to ensure a minimum of useful coating life of 15 years for ballast tanks, as the quality of the coating condition has an influence on the level of corrosion and consequently can minimise the loss of life.

The IMO PSPC defines coating practices and:

highlights specifically primary & secondary surface preparation
a minimum dry film thickness (DFT)
predefines the DFT measurement requirements
ensures that accurate record keeping is maintained
a Coating Technical File (CTF) is produced.

In addition the PSPC requires an inspection agreement between the owner, shipbuilder and coating manufacturer, recorded and documented as part of the CTF, containing:

the coatings and coating systems to be used, together with Type Approval Certificates
areas to be coated
the appointment of a Qualified Inspector
the surface preparation, coating process, inspection and repair procedures to be used

The Coating Technical File must then be submitted for review by Class.

A general summary of the inspection requirements within the PSPC Coating Technical File for approval by Class

Yard to apply and record the Primary Surface Preparation (checked by the qualified inspectors)

initial cleaning to Sa 2.5
surface profile to be 30 - 75 microns or in accordance with specification
soluble salts <50mg/m2

Yard to apply and record the Shop Primer (checked by the qualified inspectors)

visible dust and surface cleanliness
dry film thickness

Yard to apply and record the Secondary Surface Preparation prior to any subsequent application of a coating system at both the block stage and the erection stage (checked by the qualified inspectors)

edge cuts and preparation of profiles (2mm min radius)
surface defects including welds, damaged primer, levels of corrosion
oil, grease, dust, burn through etc.
relative humidity and surface & dewpoint temperature
soluble salts - using the bresle method (or equivalent)
wet film thickness
dry film thickness for epoxy coatings minimum of 320 microns with 90/10 rule
walk on and cure times to be observed

Coating Inspectors must:

be qualified to NACE level 2, FROSIO level 3 or equivalent
report all inspections, defects and rework requirements and include all information in the CTF
measure dust quantity - to ISO 8502-09:1998
dry film thickness (DFT) for epoxy coatings minimum of 320 microns with 90/10 rule
record DFT readings, together with their location.

Each step of the coating process must be documented and collated for submission within the CTF.


  • minimises report writing
  • maximises on site inspection time
  • delivers significant cost savings

ElcoShip provides traceable real time information on the status of all coating inspections throughout the ship build automatically generating the IMO PSPC compliant Coating Technical File at the click of a button.

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Useful Downloands

Performance Standard for Protective Coatings for Void Spaces on Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers







The 90/10 Rule Explained

Nominal Dry Film Thickness (NDFT) for epoxy coated tanks to be 320 microns.

90% of all DFT readings must be greater or equal to 320 microns. All remaining thickness measurements must be greater than or equal to 288 microns (i.e. 10% of the NDFT reading)





The number of DFT measurements could be as much as 300,000 readings.


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