What has been common practice in public buildings for years is also casting its shadow in shipping: deviating information in Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHMs) and their influence on the property value. This is generally interesting with regard to financing, but takes on a completely different dimension when it comes to ship sales.
For new buildings - especially from Asia - there is still a risk that asbestos will be used. The legally required decontamination as soon as "illegally installed asbestos" has been discovered often causes considerable costs. Added to this is the loss of earnings due to unplanned or longer stays in the shipyard. Who bears the costs and for what exactly? In addition to asbestos, another 14 groups of hazardous substances must be documented on board.
In case of existing ships, the development of the IHM by so-called IHM experts must be considered. For cost reasons, many IHM experts have selected laboratories for sample analysis that have not used the required methods (prices for these vary by a factor of 5). What was sampled and what substance was checked for, or what estimates and PCHM classifications (“potentially containing hazardous materials”) were made. What consequences does this have for everyday life on board and safety measures for the crew?
Most IHMs were not ordered based on the quality or experience of the IHM expert. Even IHM certifications have so far not contributed to quality assurance.
The same problem occurs with the required IHM maintenance. After requests for IHM development for the existing fleet collapsed after 2020 as expected, many of the IHM experts now offer IHM maintenance as a service. However, this must be done according to fundamentally different principles. The result is that not only wrong or inefficient “services” are available, but that even originally high-quality IHMs become intransparent and thus useless over time.
IHMs for new builds and IHM maintenance is based on declarations from suppliers or manufacturers. They must request the relevant information from their own supply chain. Has this been done and was the necessary care taken, or were the declarations generated on the basis of "empirical values and estimates" or even an internet-based converter? It must be noted that false declarations by suppliers falsify the IHMs and that the supplier has to assume liability.
What are the risks if the required certified and maintained IHM is controlled in an EU port? How accurate is the IHM handed over to the new owner with the ship? How does incorrect information affect the ship's value?
In short, is the IHM compliant or was the famous "pig in a poke" bought? As a publicly appointed and sworn expert "IHM - Hazardous Substance Data for Ships", I can clarify these and other questions for you.