Asbestos Management

Why Is Asbestos on Ships a Hot Topic Right Now?

Due to the high content of asbestos products used in ships, shipyard workers are one of several occupations labelled as high risk for most frequently exposed to asbestos. Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of work-related deaths globally and is the leading cause of 90% of mesothelioma cases.

A detailed Asbestos Management Plan (AMP) can be implemented to ensure safe management and monitoring of asbestos-containing materials onboard, the AMP can also support any application for a temporary exemption status from the requirements under SOLAS from flag registry.

What Are the SOLAS Requirements for the Removal of Asbestos on Ships?

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 (as amended) is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships.

The main aim of the SOLAS Convention is to provide minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, ensuring safety to crews and the environment. Flag States are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag comply with the SOLAS requirements, and a number of certificates are prescribed in the Convention as proof of compliance.

Over the years, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has increased restrictions relating to asbestos-containing materials on vessels through the SOLAS framework.

Any ship built before 2002, must be presumed to contain asbestos (unless proven otherwise) and must have a hazardous materials’ register and management plan in place to cover any maintenance or repair work involving asbestos.

Under the SOLAS convention, asbestos found onboard a ship built between July 2002 and 2012, the vessel’s flag registry, in conjunction with its classification society, must issue a non-extendable exemption certificate, providing the owner with a three-year window in which to remove the asbestos, where necessary.

Since 2011, under International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea SOLAS (resolution MSC.282(86) amendment 2009 regulations, installation of asbestos-containing materials is prohibited on all ships, no exceptions. Any ships built after 2012 should not contain asbestos, however, this isn’t always the case.

What Should I Do if Asbestos Is Found on My Ship During My IHM?

The IHM survey may be conducted by a HazMat expert company, such as IHMExpert, which has the experience and resources to undertake a comprehensive survey and can provide reliable, independent results. Should asbestos be found during the IHM survey, engaging a specialist maritime asbestos consultant is key to ensuring you make the correct choices regarding removal and management of asbestos on your vessel.

With internationally recognised ISO 17025 accredited laboratories, and a specialist team of hazardous materials surveyors, analysts, and consultants strategically located across the globe, our team delivers trusted consultancy, surveying, testing and management for asbestos and other hazardous material management to fleets and vessels throughout the world.

What Is a Marine Asbestos Management Plan?

Ship or marine asset specific Asbestos Management Plans (AMP) provide details of how the asbestos on your vessel, identified or presumed, is to be managed during the period between identifiaction (during the IHM survey) and removal.

An asbestos management plan identifies and details the risk posed by asbestos present on a particular vessel or asset and sets out the procedures and persons responsible for controlling those risks.

What Should Be Included in My Ship or Marine Asset Asbestos Management Plan?

The management plan will typically include information on;

Roles & responsibilities
Policies and procedures for day-to-day operations, refurbishments, specialist works and emergencies
Risk assessments of each occurrence of asbestos
Action plan for monitoring of asbestos (re-inspections)
Training requirements for roles and personnel based on their responsibilities
The plan should be reviewed every twelve months (minimum) to ensure that changes in the organisation are considered and accounted for i.e. change in management structure, personnel and responsibilities.

How Can IHM Expert Help Me with My Ship Asbestos Management Plan?

Our HazMat Expert Consultants can support you in reviewing and developing your asbestos management plans for marine assets following updates in your management systems and ahead of system audits to ensure that they meet appropriate standards.

We can also provide advice and support services for implementing any actions in-line with the requirements of the plan i.e. scheduling plan reviews based on risk level, updating emergency procedures, and delivering any additional training for personnel, to ensure ongoing compliance with appropriate standards.