Photo: Illustration; Image Courtesy: NGO Shipbreaking Platform 2012

BIMCO: COVID-19 impacting shipowners ability to comply with EU’s ship recycling regulations

Many shipowners are facing challenges in finalizing the Inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) required under the upcoming European Union’s Ship Recycling Regulations (EUSRR) due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, BIMCO, the world’s largest shipowner association, said.

Namely, as of December 31, 2020, the regulations will require ships of 500 GT and above flying the flag of an EU country, and all other ships regardless of the flag, to carry an inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) when visiting an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) port.

The association reached out to its members in May to see if the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak had presented challenges to shipowners, who were in the process of completing their IHM and obtaining the necessary documentation prior to the compliance deadline.

“The responses showed that approximately 137 (58%) of the 236 ships operated by the respondents would be affected by the new regulation. Out of the affected ships, 33 (24%) had completed the process, while the rest were at various stages of compliance. The IHM process of almost all the respondents had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” BIMCO said.

As a result, BIMCO and other shipping organisations have signed a letter addressed to the EU Commission, outlining the challenges posed by the pandemic and asking the commission to consider a time-limited implementation or grace period to enable shipping companies to complete the IHM process whilst coping with the COVID-19 restrictions and interruptions.

The letter also includes a set of Industry Guidelines on European Union Ship Recycling Regulation Compliance and Developing Inventories of Hazardous Materials that BIMCO members are encouraged to use.

“If the December 31, 2020 deadline cannot be met, BIMCO recommends the development of IHMs on the oldest ships first. Old ships are in general more likely to be recycled and such a risk-based planning will demonstrate how shipowners are working proactively in accordance with the spirit of the new EU regulation,” BIMCO added.

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