Germany. Shipping sector prepares for new IMO-convention on ship recycling

Monday, 04 May 2009

The new IMO-convention for "Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships" aims to prevent hazardous working conditions and to ensure environmental protection during ship recycling operations. It is going to be adopted at a diplomatic conference in Hong Kong this month. Expected to come into force in 2013, the convention will require approximately 50,000 ships worldwide to have a certified "Inventory of Hazardous Materials" (IHM) on board, listing hazardous materials present in structure and equipment. For preparing the IHM, shipowners will have to involve so-called Hazardous Material Experts (HazMat Experts). To ensure availability of these experts and enabling ship owners to comply early with the ship recycling convention, the first four-day seminar "Approved HazMat Expert" from Germanischer Lloyd was completed in Hamburg, Germany, last week.

The course has been specifically developed in order to facilitate effective implementation and easy compliance with the upcoming IMO requirements. Due to the huge number of existing ships worldwide, availability of HazMat Experts is crucial. Broad knowledge and detailed insight into the rules and regulations of the ship recycling convention, requirements for shipowners and the HazMat Experts were provided in the seminar.

Knowledge on ships, ship technology, materials and potential hazardous materials and legal requirements as well as related standards and working processes for preparation of accurate IHMs for existing ships were provided. This included all IHM preparation processes like desk preparations and the development of a "Visual Sampling and Check Plan".

The identification and documentation of hazardous materials forms another core part of the seminar, and the combination of theory and interactive case studies supported the learning process.

In the practical part the participants inspected a ship and took samples, prepared related documentation and further followed up the IHM development process by active participation in laboratory analysis work.

The whole IHM process had been completed by finalization of related documentation, calculation of analysis results, interpretation of results and summarizing the outcomes in form of the IHM required in near future. All requirements of the current IMO "Guideline for the preparation of Inventory of Hazardous Materials" were met and transfered into practical steps. The successful participation of the seminar has been verified by an examination and is confirmed with the title "GL-Approved HazMat Expert" for the participants.

"The demand for Hazardous Material Experts will be enourmous and is already increasing sharply today", said Henning Gramann, Environmental Engineer and expert for ship recycling at GL. "Roughly 50,000 ships will have to be certified after 2013 within 5 years." As shipowners depend on HazMat experts to get IHMs prepared for their ships within the limited time-frame, a possible bottleneck due to the lack of HazMat Experts has to be prevented by early training and rising awareness.

GL has developed many services in light of the upcoming ship recycling convention already, required steps had been defined in great detail such as effective training and certifications. Being at the forefront of these developments, also the responsibility is felt to serve the needs of shipowners globally. To manage the enormous amount of data and information needed, for new ships and existing ships, GL provides access to a software tool. Using a web-based application, IHMs can be prepared, maintained and updated efficiently, saving shipyards, shipowners and HazMat Experts both time and costs.

The IMO-convention for "Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships" is being developed to improve working conditions on shiprecycling yards as well as environmental standards during the recycling process.

Every new ship will have to enter service with a certified Inventory of Hazardous Material after the conventions enter into force. Recycling Facilities would need to comply with safety and environmental requirements to gain their authorization and e.g. handle and dispose of hazardous material safely. Ship Recycling States will be required to take effective measures to ensure that Ship Recycling Facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the convention.

The next GL Academy seminar "Approved HazMat Expert" will take place in September in Hamburg. Further worldwide seminars are planned as well.

Last Updated ( Monday, 04 May 2009 )