In less than 16 weeks, any EU-flag, or EU-calling vessel over 500gt will be required to carry a valid and certified Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) to be compliant with the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR).
Leading maritime law firm HFW is warning that shipowners would be at risk of non-compliance with charterers’ orders if they were to decline to dock at a nominated port due to fear of non-compliance, or if the time taken to comply with the IHM requirement were to cause unacceptable downtime. In other words, despite delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, non-compliance could potentially make shipowners liable to unexpected claims.
“COVID-19 has certainly added new hurdles for shipowners in meeting the deadline, and we know that shipowner associations have been making representations in this respect,” says associate Anisha Franklin.
HFW goes on to comment: “Nonetheless, the implementation date of this requirement under the Ship Recycling Regulation (EU) 1257/2013 has been on the radar since December 2018 at the very latest, and the DG Environment at the EU Commission is showing little sign of granting any leeway. Though it will remain for individual port and flag states to police compliance, we expect little prospect for the granting of any waivers for shipowners that cannot demonstrate that they have at least taken reasonable steps to achieve compliance with the regulations.
"Without any extension by the EU Commission of the 31 December 2020 deadline in sight, it is imperative that owners of EU-flagged vessels and owners of non-EU registered vessels trading into the EU area treat their IHM Part I obligations as a strict requirement and not simply a 'nice to have' document."
“Lucion's diligence and commitment to providing us with IHM fleet inspection services of high quality coupled with both integrity and honesty has been continuous, including throughout the COVID pandemic. As a leading international shipping and logistics company, finding an accredited supplier who understands our procedures and risks with such consideration and understanding has been refreshing.” -Gert Jakobsen, Vice President, DFDS Group
Organisations such as BIMCO, Intertanko, Intercargo, the European and Asian shipowners’ associations, Cruise Line International Association, International Chamber of Shipping, and International Marine Contractors Association lobbied the European Commission to delay the regulation by 12 months, to no avail.
“COVID-19 related travel restrictions have hindered progress for both IHM survey suppliers and shipowners but so far, the European Commission has ruled out an extension," commented Jon Chaplin of Lucion Marine, an internationally accredited provider of hazardous materials testing, inspection, and consultancy services to the maritime shipping an offshore industries.
"For those who have yet to start the process of IHM inspection and certification, it is now vital to get the ball rolling to protect yourself and your vessels from non-compliance. It is possible that if ship operators can provide some evidence that they have acted in good faith – e.g. correspondence with a class society to produce and / or certify their IHM for the vessel – then that will count in their favour.”
He added: “Our advice to owners is to be proactive and well prepared in order to remain compliant and avoid fines, detentions and charter breaches.”
To obtain the requisite certification by the deadline during the pandemic, owners must work with competent, trained and adequately resourced IHM specialists, Chaplin continued. “Lucion Marine, with its own full-time hazmat inspectors and largest laboratory in Europe, is particularly well-placed to help owners keep their crew safe and their ships compliant,” he said.
BACK TO BASICS: What is the Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM)?
As Marine Services Director at Lucion Marine, Kevan O'Neill heads all commercial, operational and growth initiatives.
Having previously acted as Senior Expert on educational projects with the European Commission, Kevan has delivered a multitude of workshops to ship recycling facility owners looking to achieve compliance with European Regulations in pursuit of inclusion on the European List of Ship Recycling Facilities.
Over the past ten years, as an associate member of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (AssocRINA), Kevan has gained knowledge and experience whilst working in the health, safety and environmental management of hazardous materials across all areas of marine, offshore and built environments, obtaining Certified Competent Person status from the British Occupational Hygiene Society ‘CCP (Asbestos)’, and Internationally recognised Prince2 Project Management qualifications.
In 2009 the IHM regulations were introduced as part of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Convention was developed with input from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and its members, addressing concerns about the standards of scrapping on the beaches in South Asia.
The Hong Kong Convention has yet to enter into force. However, from 31 December 2020, to be compliant with the EU SRR, any ship classed as 500gt or greater that enters EU ports, regardless of flag, will be required to carry a valid and certified IHM.
Aimed to ensure the safety of all those who could potentially be exposed to materials that are classed as hazardous to health—including workers in shipyards, on the ships and at recycling yards—the IHM is an authoritative guide to the hazardous materials on board.
What is a valid and certified IHM certificate?
Once the IHM report is completed and delivered to a recognised organisation, a valid and certified IHM certificate is issued by, in most cases, the classification society or ship registry. A valid certificate will only be issued after the successful completion of the IHM survey. The IHM certificate will be valid for five years from the issue date. After this date, owners are required to procure a new IHM certificate with a renewal IHM survey, ensuring all records and hazardous materials listed are correct and up to date.
At the request of the shipowner, the IHM survey may be conducted by a HazMat expert company. The sample analysis and reports should be delivered by a qualified, accredited laboratory. This ensures your IHM is accurate and avoids unnecessary potential risks to both individuals and the environment.
Introducing hazardous materials identification and risk management specialists, Lucion Marine.
With internationally recognised ISO 17025 accredited laboratories, and a specialist team of hazardous materials surveyors, analysts, and consultants strategically located across the globe, Lucion Marine delivers trusted consultancy, surveying, testing and management for hazardous material management to fleets throughout the world.
Servicing the global marine industry since 2002, Lucion has completed in excess of 600 IHMs on a wide variety of vessels including, passenger cruiseships, tankers, containerships, bulkers, FPSOs, ferries, PSVs, superyachts and offshore platforms. From hazardous material surveying, identification and management to asset recycling, dismantling and disposal consultancy, Lucion assists clients in all aspects of compliance with SOLAS, the Hong Kong Convention and the EU Ship Recycling Regulations.
Lucion are approved by the following members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS):
● Lloyds Register (LR)
● Bureau Veritas (BV)
● American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
Contact Marine Services Director Kevan O'Neill via email to discuss your project and compliance requirements.