Some of the world’s largest shipowning organisations have written to Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries, urging for a delay of its impending shipping hazardous materials regulation.
As of December 31 2020, mobile offshore units and vessels sailing under an EU member states’ flag, or MOUs and vessels calling at a European port will be required to have an inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) onboard, a shipping regulation designed to make ship recycling greener that has been in the pipeline for the last seven years.
The heads of Bimco, Intertanko, Intercargo and the European and Asian shipowners’ associations are among eight signatories in the letter sent this week asking for a 12-month delay citing the lateness in regulators getting the methodology fixed for what the IHMs need to contain as well as problems to fix site visits thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
Law firm Watson Farley & Williams suggests that almost a third of the 35,000 vessels that will be required to comply with the EU regulation by the end of the year have yet to begin the work required to prepare and have certified an IHM. Typically, pre-Covid-19, the law firm suggests it takes at least three months to prepare and certify an IHM.
“In addition to the global Covid-19 restrictions preventing site visits and in-person inspections to carry out the work required to compile IHMs, the sheer volume of vessels that will require expert assistance in this area means the risk of vessels failing to comply with the EU Regulation by the end of this year is very real,” the law firm warned in a recent update.
“Shipowners are probably feeling the pressure now as inspection capacity is being squeezed, lifting survey prices while the threat of port state control detentions and fines draws inexorably closer,” a source in the ship recycling sector told Splash.