Shipowning organisations seek delay to impending European hazardous material regulation

Some of the world’s largest shipowning organisations have written to Virginijus Sinkevičius, the European Commissioner for the environment, oceans and fisheries, urging for a delay of the Europe Unions’s impending shipping hazardous materials regulation.

As of December 31 2020, mobile offshore units and vessels sailing under an EU member states’ flag, or MOUs and vessels calling at a European port will be required to have an inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) onboard, a shipping regulation designed to make ship recycling greener that has been in the pipeline for the last seven years. 

Inspection capacity is being squeezed, lifting survey prices while the threat of port state control detentions and fines draws inexorably closer

The heads of Bimco, Intertanko, Intercargo and the European and Asian shipowners’ associations are among eight signatories in the letter sent this week asking for a 12-month delay citing the lateness in regulators getting the methodology fixed for what the IHMs need to contain as well as problems to fix site visits thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Law firm Watson Farley & Williams suggests that almost a third of the 35,000 vessels that will be required to comply with the EU regulation by the end of the year have yet to begin the work required to prepare and have certified an IHM. Typically, pre-Covid-19, the law firm suggests it takes at least three months to prepare and certify an IHM. 

“In addition to the global Covid-19 restrictions preventing site visits and in-person inspections to carry out the work required to compile IHMs, the sheer volume of vessels that will require expert assistance in this area means the risk of vessels failing to comply with the EU Regulation by the end of this year is very real,” the law firm warned in a recent update. 

“Shipowners are probably feeling the pressure now as inspection capacity is being squeezed, lifting survey prices while the threat of port state control detentions and fines draws inexorably closer,” a source in the ship recycling sector told Splash.  

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Ships sold to breakers before December 31 2020, the IHM must be on board. Since 2018 clasification societies have been charging millions of dollars for this document and no one heard any complaints about it.

Back to top button