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      The countdown of asbestos forbidden on the ships

      The countdown of asbestos forbidden on the ships

      International Maritime Organization (IMO) passed NO. MSC.2829860 resolution about the asbestos application on the ships and further adjusted this issue, required that all ships should forbid using the material with asbestos since January 1st 2011. China Classification Society reminds the ship manufacturers that the rules about asbestos forbidden on the ships from international convention become effective soon, European and American countries focus on the issue about asbestos forbidden too much besides this issue will be regarded as the emphasis of port state control, China is a big shipbuilding and ship-repair country, we should especially concern it.

      It’s said that asbestos were widely applied in the ship building before July 7th 2002, IMO continuously expanded the strength of restricting asbestos application because asbestos is harmful to the environment and the human health. 2000 year’s amendment of International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) passed by IMO required that the new equipments、new devices and new material with asbestos are forbidden on the ships except for the water tight joint & lining under the high temperature/pressure、special blade and insulation device under the high temperature since July 1st 2002. 《Ship Scrapping International Convention for safety and harmless environment》passed in May 2009 and NO. MSC.2829860 resolution in June 2009 clear claimed that all ships should forbid using the material with asbestos on the ships.

      Nevertheless, the rules of asbestos forbidden are not powerfully implemented in the ship industry, the current condition of asbestos forbidden is not optimistic. At present, there are 3500 kinds of material with asbestos as we know, some of them are used in the ships, asbestos can be seen in the driving cab、living quarter、store room、kitchen、passenger compartment、mechanical equipment and high temperature/pressure canal, however the asbestos material can be inspected the component with the professional test equipments. The report from the Dutch maritime competent authority claimed that since July 2010 they surveyed 300 arrived ships and found that 95% of ships exited asbestos material, thereinto the ships that were built after July 1st2002 and had the non-asbestos statement exited.

      Considering the severe condition of using asbestos on the ships and the non-efficient forbidden measures Dutch submitted the bill to the committee of ocean safety, drafted the first MSC circular letter, claimed the competent authorities、shipbuilding enterprises and the interested parties to further focus on the asbestos issue, emphasized the importance of strengthening training to the inspectors and inspecting practice, forbade using asbestos material on the ships in the future, advised that the competent authorities should take necessary measures after ships obeyed rules of SOLAS. China Classification Society expressed that this MSC circular letter has much possibility to be passed, from then on asbestos issue will be regarded as the emphasis of port state control in many countries especially in Europe and America. Therefore, the related government departments、ship enterprises and ship equipment enterprises must focus on the rules of asbestos forbidden in the ships, in order to avoid the negative affects to our country’s ship industry after the new rules take effective.

      China Classification Society expressed that asbestos are divided into chrysotile、griqualandite、amosite、amphibole asbesto、tremolite asbestos and actinolite asbestos. These 6 kinds of asbestos can be rapidly inspected with the polarization microscope、electron microscope and X-ray diffractometer. As soon as the new ships are inspected the gasket has asbestos, the transformation time is long, the transformation cost is high----takes up to 10% of the shipbuilding cost. Therefore, ship manufacturers never have the fluke mind, as the duty subjects of showing non-asbestos statement, they should initiatively take measures, strictly control the supplying and outsourcing of shipbuilding material and equipment products, avoid forcing scrapped to lead the economic loss and legal risk, besides prevention first.

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