Inventory of hazardous material and superyachts

Superyacht – IHM, Will You Be Ready By 31 December 2020?

As some readers may be aware, articles 5 and 12 relating to ships Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) contained within EU regulation 1257/2013 on Ship Recycling (SRR) comes into force on the 31st of December 2020.  This applies to all ships, including superyachts, 500GT or greater, and affects both EU-flagged ships, and Non-EU-flagged ships calling at a port or anchorage of an EU Member State (MS).

The EU SRR facilitated an early ratification of the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC) 2009 which is not yet in force. The HKC objectives are to improve human health and safety and to protect the environment during the ships end-of-life and recycling.

“IHM will impact a majority of the superyacht fleet, Private and Commercial.”

Those aware are likely to have already started or completed the process to ensure compliance with the regulation by the end of the year, for those who may not be so well informed or have not started, I strongly suggest that you contact your management company, Flag or Classification Society (often delegated by Flag) to start the ball rolling.

Bear in mind that the collection of yacht specific information, sampling and testing and, final survey and issuance of certification, is time consuming and likely to take much longer on older yachts that have limited records and/or the builder may no longer be in business.  Older yachts are also more likely to have, within the vessel, hazardous material contained within Annex I and II of the SRR.

“It was highlighted in a recent DNV GL webinar that it can take up to three months to complete the process.”

Once you have completed the various stages of the process, including the final survey, you will receive a certificate, valid for 5 years, as follows: –

・EU-Flagged – Inventory Certificate (IC) plus, specific to your yacht, an Inventory of Hazardous Material as defined in Annex I + II of the SRR

・Non-EU-Flagged – Statement of Compliance (SoC) plus, specific to your yacht, an Inventory of Hazardous Material as defined in Annex I + II of the SRR


The typical method of enforcing compliance of maritime Conventions and Regulations has been through the Paris MOU and the EU Directive 2009/16/EC On Port State Control – this has been amended to include IHM within Annex IV list of certificates and documents. However, there are some vessels including pleasure yachts not engaged in trade that are excluded:

2009/16/EC Article 3.

4.Fishing vessels, warships, naval auxiliaries, wooden ships of a primitive build, government ships used for non-commercial purposes and pleasure yachts not engaged in trade shall be excluded from the scope of this Directive.

There was initially some debate and confusion as to the definition of pleasure yacht not engaged in trade (Pleasure Yacht) as one of the determining factors was whether the yacht had a Load Line (LL) certificate which, most yachts carried irrespective of status.  The definition and eligibility of Pleasure Yachts was clarified on the 23rd December 2013 when the Paris MOU issued guidance on the Eligibility Of Yachts To Port State Control which states:

4.1.1 Yachts may be operating as a pleasure yacht on a permanent basis. These yachts are not subject to port State control.

In essence, the Certificate of Registry as a Pleasure Yacht is normally sufficient to confirm the status of the yacht and whether it is subject to PSC.  However, it should be noted, that the guidance is not binding, the Port State Control Inspector (PSCO) may contact Flag state to confirm a yachts status and, may also use his own judgement as to whether to perform a PSC.

So, although Pleasure Yachts are, in general, exempted from PSC, they are not exempted from port State control under the SRR.  There are two inspection /control methods and record keeping systems: –

・Commercial Yachts – PSC under Directive 2009/16/EC on Port State Control and the records maintained in THETIS

・Pleasure Yachts – port State control under SRR (this could be a PSC inspector) and the records maintained in THETIS-EU

The initial inspection, in both cases, is limited to checking the IC or SoC and ensuring that the Inventory of Hazardous Materials is properly maintained and up to date.  If there are clear grounds such as missing certificates, discrepancies in the condition and particulars of the vessel, lack of procedures for maintaining the inventory, the vessel may be subjected to a more detailed inspection.

Further, if SRR non-compliances are found, an inspector will determine if they can be rectified in accordance with the SRR and, if they cannot be rectified, he can take action under Article 11.3 for EU-Flagged vessels and under Article 12.5 for Non-EU-Flagged vessels, including warning, detention, dismissal and exclusion from the MS port or offshore terminal.

So, if you are a superyacht 500GT or greater and intend to sail – berth or anchor – in EU waters after the 31st December 2020, you will need to obtain the necessary IHM certificate and, whether Private or Commercial, be prepared for an initial inspection either under PSC or the SRR port State control.


I have listed some useful links below where you can discover more: –

EU – REGULATION (EU) No 1257/2013 on ship recycling

EMSA – Guidance on the Inventory of Hazardous Materials

EMSA – Guidance on inspections of ships by port States in accordance with Regulation (EU) 1257/2013 on ship recycling

EMSA is the European Maritime Safety Agency and they also maintain the THETIS and THETIS-EU database

EU Directive – 2009/16/EC on Port State Control

Cayman Island Shipping Registry – Guidance Notice 02/2019 EU Ship Recycling Regulation “Inventory of Hazardous Materials”

Marshall Islands – Yacht Safety Advisory No 17-19  Inventory of Hazardous Materials Requirements

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