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Asbestos at Sea – an unexpected problem

Posted on: 20 March 2020

Less than one year remains for the owners of any ships above 500GT calling at EU ports or anchorages to arrange surveys, required by the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, to identify if hazardous materials including asbestos, are present on board.
The regulation allows the EU Member State detecting an infringement to warn, detain, dismiss or even exclude non-compliant vessels from the ports or offshore terminals under their jurisdiction.

There is therefore a risk that shipowners will be unable to comply with charterers’ orders if they are turned away from a port or if they are detained and unable to depart. Such non-compliance could well put shipowners in breach of charter, giving rise to significant claims.

If the survey reveals the presence of asbestos or other hazardous materials on board, then shipowners should consider whether they can claim against the yard, third party supplier or certifying Classification Society or the seller of the vessel if they did not purchase as a newbuild to recover all or part of their losses.

Can owners be confidence of relying on “asbestos free” when built certification?  The answer for some owners may unfortunately be no.

Download the full briefing here or visit HFW website for more information.

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