Quality Criteria for HazMat Expert Parties Involved in IHM and HazMat Surveys

The environmental hot topics in shipping industry these days are the emissions of ships, the ballast water management and the third one which is the one to be analysed below, is the Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Life Cycle Management and Recycling. Although the Hong Kong Convention is not yet in force as it is known, there is a lot of experience collected from Germanischer Lloyd classification society, in scope of the quality criteria for HazMat Expert parties involved and the HazMat Surveys.

2013.08.15 - Quality Criteria for HazMat Expert Parties Involved in IHM and HazMat Surveys Figure 1

2013.08.15 - Quality Criteria for HazMat Expert Parties Involved in IHM and HazMat Surveys Figure 2

What is the amount of Hazardous Materials on board of a ship? After some documentary research and experience added from projects, a chart has been created providing a general orientation. It shows the average content of Hazardous Materials of a medium size vessel. There is a variety of materials and some of them are already prohibited. An important aspect of this is that the recycling cost of these materials can easily make up 20 % of the vessel’s selling price.

In the long list of Hazardous Materials, the most difficult and most interesting one is Asbestos of course. It is the main concern in existing ships and new ships as well.

The next chart shows one type of criteria that could be taken as quality criteria, in order to judge about the HazMat Expert report. It shows HazMat Expert reports certificated by GL, and prepared by seven different HazMat experts. It is based on numbers of samples of course. If you do a HazMat expert survey, you go on board, take samples and carry them to a laboratory. As an average, you can see it fluctuates between 50 and 170 samples. There may be some reasons for this, as you should take different kind of samples considering the size of the ship or the age of the ship for instance, it should not fluctuate so much though.

2013.08.15 - Quality Criteria for HazMat Expert Parties Involved in IHM and HazMat Surveys Figure 3

If you study this a bit more thoroughly, you will considerate the main reasons for this differentiation and what is required definitely is clear guidance on expert qualifications. As you may know, the Hong Kong Convention provides a framework for such kind of business and there is plenty of space for interpretation and, according to the figures and our experience, it would be a good thing to create a commitment for a good medium sized standard level. It is our intention to generate such a commitment, but there is also focus on the streamline of the entire process.

An important issue to achieve a proper quality standard is to provide some training. So far, the shipping industry has not discussed this in detail. The laws and regulations are always very special for the maritime industry, the international and national laws respectively. The proper knowledge of ship structure and equipments is also required. It is not a very good idea to ask a HazMat expert who has never seen a ship before, to conduct a HazMat survey. For example, there is quite a big difference in comparison to a HazMat survey for buildings, although the materials are the same. The expert should be familiar with details on the requirements for the Inventory preparation of existing ships and should be aware of information on the properties of the hazardous materials.

It is not sufficient to conduct only trainings in the classroom; it is also required to have some practice sessions on board of a ship, as theoretical and practical knowledge on how to take samples on board ships is needed. Health and safety needs also to be considered and we have to define the role of the Expert for IHM and finally, if there is a case something needs to be removed, the HazMat expert should also be in the position to provide some general information and guidance regarding Removal Management. Summarizing all these items, GL is introducing a special HazMat training and Approval scheme, containing a training course, one-day practice onboard, HazMat Company Approval, HazMat Lab Approval and finally software called IHM Green Server Tool.

Regarding the capacity building and advanced Standards for IHM, enhancement of awareness on HazMat management on board of ship will be needed. There is no harm to gain proper knowledge, because only if you know the details and the truth then you can react in an appropriate and a streamlined way. We should further develop IMO IHM Guidelines according to latest experiences. The entire industry is gaining experience and while new knowledge is being received, these guidelines should be updated. For the time being, there is a strong discussion about threshold levels for example. Some people consider the items of the ship as waste, and other people for new building project for instance, consider it products. Last of all, we should generate commitment within shipping industry for standardized methods on global scale. All things considered, it makes no sense to come to European national solutions, as it could be a good approach to have a joint globally.

Above article is an edited version of Mr Gerhard Aulbert’s, Global Head of Practice Ship Recycling, Germanischer Lloyd, presentation during the 2013 Green4Sea Forum.

Click here to see relevant video.

The article was initially published in SAFETY4SEA.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: