For a number of reasons, ships can present an increased risk of asbestos exposure.
The use of asbestos in shipbuilding over the years has been unusually high and has included a disproportionately large amount of blue and brown asbestos – the worst types. Second, some of the most dangerous asbestos application methods (e.g. spraying), have been particularly prevalent in ship construction.
Next to that, ships are not stable environments: they roll, pitch and vibrate, and in the engine room these issues are magnified by vibrating machinery. These conditions make friable asbestos far more likely to emit fibres. A UK study estimated an increase of 61% over the expected presence of asbestos in shipyard workers*.
A similar study in Trieste, Italy, showed that of 153 men who had died of malignant mesothelioma 99 had worked in shipbuilding, 19 had been in the navy/merchant marine and 7 had been dockworkers**.
Kiwa Oesterbaai Maritime & Offshore can assist and advice you when it comes to asbestos and other hazardous materials and substances. We have specialists active all over the world that will help you minimize your downtime.
* source: I. Doniach, K.V. Swettenham, and M.K. Hathorn (1975). Prevalence of asbestos bodies in a necropsy series in east London; association with disease, occupation, and domiciliary address. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 21.
** source: 2 L. Giarelli, C. Bianchi and G. Grandi (1992). Malignant Mesothelioma of the pleura in Trieste, Italy. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 22, Issue 4. Available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.4700220407/abstract