EU Inventory of Hazardous Materials regulation
‘Don’t wait to be caught by the new EU Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) regulation’ is the message from Øyvind Sundgot of Metizoft.
This isn’t just news for the big ships; it’s also a requirement for a number of support boats as it applies to any European flagged vessel as well as those flagged elsewhere that aim to work in EU waters.
The IHM, which for existing vessels needs to be in place before December 2020, requires a detailed documentation of all potentially hazardous materials. As it will entail a breakdown of all potentially hazardous materials onboard, a simple inventory list just won’t cut it; not only will a company need to contact its suppliers, but possibly their suppliers too. In short, most owners will find it easier to bring in a specialist.
There is a further word of warning from Mr Sundgot on leaving this till the last minute. As he explained, if an owner is starting afresh with an existing vessel, “then the inventory will normally mean a hazmat expert coming onboard during drydocking, usually taking something like 200 samples to send off to a lab for analysis”. He added the closer to the cut-off date, the fewer hazmat experts there will be available “and if you wait till 2020 you will have a much more expensive hazmat job on your hands, so look into it earlier rather than later”.
Further, even if a vessel already has an IHM, “it’s a case of keep it up to date or lose it”, he said.
Therefore, some companies like Metizoft have put together a service which promises to take the entire burden off the owners’ shoulders. “We can do it more cost-effectively than the suppliers or owners can do it by themselves by having volume on our side,” said Mr Sundgot, and explained the company has been building a database with a comprehensive list of suppliers, components and the materials used, so for many vessels the digging has largely been done. “We still have some challenges getting the information, but it’s getting more and more watertight,” he added.
This one-stop-shop concept holds some benefits for owners: not only does it embrace certification, updates and so on, it also caters for changing requirements. Here, Metizoft’s knowledge has helped it stay ahead of the game: recently EU regulations presented two new groups of hazardous substances, PFOS and HBCDD, explained Mr Sundgot. “We saw it coming and have been including these since 2014.”
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