Following the 2009 Amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as Amended (Resolution, MSC.282(86)), the IMO Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009; SR/CONF/45) and subsequent IMO circulars, the installation of asbestos products into new vessels has been banned since 1 January 2011. Asbestos (and other hazardous products) detected on board the existing ship must now be listed within an ‘Inventory of Hazardous Materials’ to enable a safe environment for crew, passengers and visitors.

Focusing on existing ships Under the SOLAS asbestos regulations, existing ships are split into two main groups. Those built before 1 July, 2002, are allowed to have asbestos on board. Those built after this date are subject to the ban on most new installations and should only have very limited amounts of asbestos on board.

Asbestos found on board ships in contravention of SOLAS is required to be removed. Ship owners need to make sure that this is managed safely and carefully. The Circular allows a maximum of three years to remove the asbestos. An exemption certificate is required to continue trading during this time. If the ship has not had the asbestos removed after the three years, it must remain where it is until it has been removed.

Allium have a vast experience of working on marine vessels and can assist Ship owners with asbestos surveys, asbestos management plans for vessels and Inventory of Hazardous Materials production.