Asbestos has been discovered in gaskets on a number of ships built in Turkey under commission from Dutch purchasers. This problem has already been noticed on ships that have been repaired abroad. When paying a visit to a shipyard in Holland with a Dutch-flagged ship, gaskets were noticed which were suspected to contain asbestos. Work onboard was stopped by the Dutch Workers’ Union and after samples had been taken, it was confirmed that almost all the pipe systems had gaskets containing asbestos. Asbestos consists of mineral fibres which are so small and thin that they can penetrate into the body, and dust containing these fibres can enter the lungs and cause several serious lung diseases. In the investigation which was carried out later, it transpired that gaskets containing asbestos are still used in Turkey, China, India and Vietnam, among other countries. With only a few exceptions, it is not permissible to use gaskets containing asbestos in piping installations on ships built after 1 July 2002.