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A full ban on ACM’s (asbestos containing materials) has been in effect since 1999 in the UK. So would you expect to find asbestos when surveying a vessel built in 2010? The answer is yes! The booming economies of India, Indonesia, China and Russia are still using asbestos, and the shipbuilding giant that is South Korea only issued a full ban in 2011. Because of this, asbestos can be expected to be found in ships built in these countries until fairly recently. Even though asbestos is not permitted on board vessels built after 2002, “spares/or replacement materials” (such as the gaskets pictured) acquired in ports in which countries still permit the use of asbestos is a genuine risk to the ship being asbestos-free, and thus is not helpful when implementing & maintaining a ships “Inventory of Hazardous Materials” (IHM).

We were recently commissioned to carry out asbestos surveys on Chinese built supply vessels; gaskets containing Chrysotile (white asbestos) were observed and sampled on all vessels, but only found in engine room work-shops as “spares”.

It is vital asbestos surveyors bare in mind the historical and political information, regarding the global usage of asbestos, before conducting asbestos surveys on board ships or offshore installations.