Applicability: Shipowners, ship operators, ship managers, ship masters and existing ships that are required to have a valid Certificate/Statement of Compliance on Inventory of Hazardous Materials on board by 31 December 2020.

The EU Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR) requires all existing ships of 500gt or over calling at an EU port or anchorage to carry onboard an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) with a Certificate or Statement of Compliance, as appropriate, from 31 December 2020.

The European Commission has published temporary guidelines (2020/C 349/01) on IHM compliance under the EU SRR for vessels which will be calling at European ports or anchorages and have been unable to develop their IHM and/or gain the correct certification before 31 December 2020 due to COVID-19 related restrictions. 

The guidelines (2020/C 349/01), valid until 30 June 2021, outline two scenarios where it has not been possible to fully comply with IHM requirements by the deadline, and provide guidance to Port State Control (PSC) officers in the EU:

1. Vessels without a valid IHM and/or accompanying certificate/Statement of Compliance

Shipowners may be unable to fulfil the minimum requirements for survey and certification of their ships due to the travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. There are three possible situations under this scenario for ships being surveyed and certified by Lloyd’s Register (LR):

- An IHM has not been compiled and there is no certification in place.

- An IHM has been started, but not completed due to the contracted hazardous material expert being unable to access the ship and sample due to COVID-19 related restrictions. As such, a certificate/SoC has not been issued.

C - The IHM is complete, but the certificate/SoC has not been issued as a surveyor is unable to attend in person due to COVID-19 related restrictions or attend remotely due to no authorisation from flag. Note: If this is the case please inform your local office as soon as possible with your first anticipated port call date in the EU after the deadline so that we can prioritise any outstanding work accordingly.

In all three of the above scenarios the guidelines require that:

  • The owner will need to “provide evidence that all possible measures were taken to undertake the work and get the certification required. Such evidence of compliance efforts may include e.g. a service contract for sampling or a survey.”
  • In light of the evidence submitted, PSC officers may grant a four-month grace period from the date of the inspection to complete the IHM and have a certificate/SoC issued.
  • A warning will be placed on the ship in THETIS-EU.

2. Vessels with a semi-completed IHM with an associated approved Inventory Certificate or Ready for Recycling Certificate (for EU flagged ships) or the Statement of Compliance (for non-EU flagged ships), that does not contain on-board (either targeted or random) sampling

This will not normally be applicable to ships being surveyed and certificated by LR, as LR will not issue certification if the IHM is semi-completed, unless so authorised by the flag State.

Sampling for hazardous materials

The European Commission has taken a position on sampling for hazardous materials. LR’s understanding is that sampling is not mandatory, but EU SRR Article 5(3)(c), which refers to the IMO Guidelines (MEPC.269(68)), must be followed. These guidelines require sampling to be conducted where there is insufficient documentation from time of build to determine the hazards onboard a ship.

According to MEPC.269(68), sampling can be exempted and an item recorded as “potentially containing hazardous material” if there is a “comprehensible justification of the conclusion, such as the impossibility to conduct sampling without compromising ship safety and operational efficiency” (see Appendix 4 of MEPC.269(68)).

Where sampling hasn't been exempted, and is required (due to the absence of a complete paper trail from build), but has been unable to be completed, the IHM will not be in accordance with the IMO Guidelines and, as per footnote 7 of Commission Notice 2020/C 349/01, shipowners will then find themselves in situation 1B. (mentioned above).

What will this mean for shipowners?

Shipowners without completed IHMs and/or certificates or SoCs will need to be prepared to provide evidence to PSC officers in the EU, that all possible measures were taken to develop the IHM and for the required certification to be issued.


Further information
For more details on IHM certification, contact your local Lloyd’s Register group office or Statutory support.