Asbestos Vessel Cruising to London? 

by Laurie Kazan-Allen



Concerns regarding the purchase by a UK company of an asbestos-laden passenger ship from Portugal were raised at a meeting of the Parliamentary Asbestos Sub-Group in the House of Commons on December 12, 2018. The Group was informed that news had been received from Carmen Lima, the Coordinator of the new Portuguese asbestos victims’ group – SOS Amianto – that a Portuguese ship named MV Funchal (IMO no. 5124162) containing “about 100 tons of asbestos in a friable state, namely composed of the fiber types chrysotile, amosite and tremolite,” identified as per the Hazardous Substance Identification Plan, had been purchased on December 5, 2018 at auction in Lisbon for €3.91 million (US$4.43m/3.52m) by the company “Signature Living,” – a UK-based hotel group – without, Ms. Lima said, “the asbestos-containing materials having been previously removed.1 The Portuguese Maritime Authorities had been alerted to the situation.


Pursuant to an email sent to Signature Living about this matter on December 15, 2018, David Wood confirmed that the company had “been made aware that there is an amount of Asbestos on board the MC Funchal. Our surveying team will calculate and decide what amount and the best way to deal with this.”

In the meantime, maritime authorities, the Health and Safety Executive, trade unions, the Mayor of London and other UK authorities are being alerted. According to news reports, the company plans to move the “vessel from Lisbon to Central London where it will be berthed permanently as a hotel vessel.”2 For the time being, however, it seems that the vessel remains docked off a port near Lisbon.

December 17, 2018


1 Email received from Carmen Lima, December 12, 2018.
Wikipedia. MV Funchal. Accessed December 13, 2018.

2 Funchal Poised to Become Hotel Ship in London. December 7, 2018.



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