The Maritime Advocate–Issue 766

Posted:

IN THIS ISSUE

1. Remember your friends
2. ‘Unjust’ demurrage fees
3. Arbitrators’ duty of disclosure
4. Does European ship recycling tick the boxes?
5. Assisting the assisters
6. New insurance facility
7. BIMCO to open London office
8. Cargo ventilation focus
9. Wellbeing survey
10. Tackling emissions
11. Arctic approach
12.Navigating the future
13.Women in SAR

Notices & Miscellany

Readers’ responses to our articles are very welcome and, where suitable, will be reproduced:
Write to: contactus@themaritimeadvocate.com

 


 

1.Remember your friends

By Michael Grey

Listening to some wrathful retailer raging on the radio about delays at Felixstowe which was going to seriously discommode the pre-Christmas shopping programme, I’m afraid my reaction was less than sympathetic. What with the pandemic, overstocking in anticipation of lockdowns and probable post Brexit chaos, there was a reasonable explanation for the problems. But the fact that they had anything to sell at all was due to the seafarers who have kept on going regardless and stopped the world starving, with its lights going out. But their contribution, naturally enough, wasn’t mentioned in the broadcast.
There was an excellent piece in the Guardian on “Black Friday”, which regrettably seems to have become lodged in our calendars, pointing out the crucial connection between this retail experience and the seafarers who have delivered all the stuff. Written by former UK shipping minister Nusrat Ghani and the ICS’ Guy Platten (a former seafarer), this was a stark reminder of the plight of the forgotten 400,000 seafarers who make civilised life possible, but who still struggle to leave and join their ships. If it hadn’t been for them, quite simply, there would have been nothing to buy.

As the old song goes, “when this blooming war is over….”  and life returns to normal, one would hope that there will be some sort of reckoning in which the maritime heroes of this pandemic can be properly discriminated from the villains. An enormous debt has been owed to the former, who kept the ships running regardless, but let us not forget the armies of jobsworths and box-tickers who have made their lives infinitely worse.

The latter will tell us that they were merely following regulations, which they were unauthorised to implement in a more pragmatic or flexible fashion, and that is probably true. The regulations, made in the heat of the moment or extrapolated from earlier and different sorts of crises, deal with the treatment of whole populations who must be locked down or forbidden things. A half dozen crew members who require repatriation, or an individual who needs to join a ship – they just fall through the regulatory cracks and don’t make sufficient waves to persuade officialdom to flex. There are heroes, of course, represented by those companies and managers, agents and ports which went that extra mile to look after their people and they should be honoured.

It’s the litany of miserable individual cases that will live on in the memory, as the shipping industry and those who work in it remember this awful period. The ports where it was impossible to land a seriously sick seafarer will be recalled, as will the implacable quarantine services that just refused to budge on crew changes, even where was a functioning airport in the vicinity. The rotten case of seafarers flown in from the other side of the world to join a ship, but who were not permitted to move from the airport to the docks without a fortnight in stupid quarantine, only to see the ship leave without them, was a not unusual experience.

The charterers who would not move an inch from the small print in the charter party, to make a crew change on “humanitarian grounds” possible, ought to be on somebody’s list.  We might wish to remember the miserable case reported in the Nautilus Telegraph of a woman cadet from Panama who spent an inordinate length of time on her lightening tanker off the US coast, unable get home through a US port because of inflexible visa conditions. Eventually, after twelve months aboard and all this official intransigence, she managed to get another ship to Canada, from where she was able to fly home. And we ought also to remember those managers and operators who seized the opportunity presented by the difficulties of repatriation to quietly trade on regardless, and pressurise the crew to accept their lot.

Said the ITF inspector Tommy Molloy, who has in his career seen plenty of examples of man’s inhumanity to seafarers, “those placing unnecessary hurdles in the way of overdue repatriations need to be identified and called out”. Seafarers should remember their friends, but as memories of the pandemic fade, they shouldn’t forget these blighters.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.


2. ‘Unjust’ demurrage fees

Freight body the British International Freight Association has been sounding off about demurrage fees resulting from recent port congestion.

Director General, Robert Keen says that freight forwarders and the shippers they work for are reeling from demurrage fees which he described as “unjust”.

“They should not be penalised by demurrage and detention practices when circumstances are such that they cannot retrieve containers from, or return containers to, marine terminals because, under those circumstances, the charges cannot serve their incentive function,” Keen says.

The US Federal Maritime Commission recently announced its findings after six years of investigation with all participants in the supply chain, which concluded that there had most likely been a long history of unjust and unfair demurrage and detention practices.

Whilst there are country and port-related variances, the FMC findings apply globally as demurrage and detention is a common and widespread topic of contention.

Keen adds: “If the FMC has identified demurrage and detention practices that are likely to be considered as unjust for the USA, these practices are also unjust and unreasonable for the rest of the world.

“It is wrong for container shipping lines not to respect the interpretative rule introduced by the FMC in May that sought to govern conflicts on the issue of demurrage and detention fees.

“Governments must therefore have greater scrutiny over demurrage and detention practices to ensure that they are considerate and reasonable for the good of their own economies. It is crucial to ensure fluidity and good function of the supply chain, in unprecedented times as illustrated by COVID-19 and the chaotic state of international container shipping at present.”

BIFA and FIATA are encouraging policymakers to consider the FMC’s non-exclusive list of factors for consideration when assessing the reasonableness of demurrage and detention fees.

Such guidance will promote fluidity in freight delivery systems by ensuring that demurrage and detention serve their purpose of incentivising speedy cargo delivery; and that the interpretive rule will also mitigate confusion, reduce and streamline disputes, and enhance competition and innovation in business operations and policies.

BIFA is urging decision makers to ensure a level playing field for all actors in the supply chain of the reasonableness of demurrage and detention charges. This includes consideration of the extent to which demurrage and detention practices are serving their intended purposes as financial incentives to promote freight fluidity.

All international maritime supply chain stakeholders should also benefit from transparent, consistent and reasonable demurrage and detention practices that improve fluidity in global ports and terminals for the benefit of fair, reasonable and ethical interactions between stakeholders in the maritime supply chain.

The FMC rule is therefore intended to stop unreasonable and unjust practices to which shippers and freight forwarders alike have been exposed for years.
 

 


3.   Arbitrators’ duty of disclosure

There has been widespread commentary by law firms on the result of the long-awaited judgment in Halliburton v Chubb, which considered the issue of whether an arbitrator should disclose circumstances that might give rise to doubts about his or her impartiality.

In a judgment in the Supreme Court on 27th November the Supreme Court judges unanimously dismissed Halliburton’s appeal and found that a fair-minded and informed observer would not conclude that there were circumstances that would give rise to justifiable doubts about the impartiality of the Chairman of the tribunal, Mr Rokison.

As DLA Piper explained in its account of the case it concerned one of several insurance arbitrations that arose following the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The rig was owned by Transocean Holding. The appellant, Halliburton, which provided cementing and monitoring services, had insured its activities under a Bermuda Form liability policy with Chubb Bermuda Insurance.

DLA Piper says the case provides some much need clarity on the issue of arbitrators’ obligations vis a vis disclosure.

Further details of the case are available at: https://www.dlapiper.com/en/uk/insights/publications/2020/12/getting-away-with-running-the-orange-light-halliburton-v-chubb/

The most important implications of Halliburton v Chubb for commercial arbitration practice in general are discussed in a related article on Arbitrator’s Duty of Disclosure and Apparent Bias – “Justice must be seen to be done”. Click here for more details.

Click here for a link to the Supreme Court’s decision in Halliburton v Chubb.

The London Shipping Law Centre will be holding a webinar to discuss the case on 8th December 2020. The event will be chaired by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and President of the LSLC. Panellists will include Jonathan Webb  and Cecilie Rezutka of  HFW
George Eddings of GMT Eddings Maritime & Offshore/ Arbitrator, and Nicholas Vineall QC and Andrew Stevens of 4 Pump Court.

REGISTER TO ATTEND
 

 


4. Does European ship recycling tick the boxes?

An updated report on the European list of ship recycling facilities, commissioned by BIMCO, shows progress in increasing the number of active yards on the list, but the rules still don’t reflect commercial realities and lags behind on capacity to scrap large commercial ships, according to the trade association.
“It is positive that the EU list of approved recycling facilities has been expanded, but the fundamental problem persists: the capacity required for the large EU-flagged fleet simply isn’t there, which is especially evident when it comes to recycling Panamax-size and larger ships in accordance with the EU regulation,” says BIMCO Secretary General David Loosley.

According to the report, “Turkey is to all intents and purposes, the only country on the list that provides recycling that is targeting panamax sized ships.”

At present, Turkish yards are mainly busy with recycling cruise ships, and therefore not able to handle other ship types.

Lack of sufficient recycling capability puts shipowners in a situation where they are unable to recycle their ships at yards on the list, leaving them no alternative than to reflag their ageing ships to flag states outside the EU.

“The intention of protecting the environment and ensuring worker safety is spot on, but in BIMCO we would wish that the EU instead had aimed the good intentions toward ratifying the Hong Kong Convention,” Loosley says.

For in depth information, please read the full report: https://www.bimco.org/-/media/bimco/Ships-ports-and-voyage-planning/Environment-protection/Recycling/Updated-Report-on-the-European-List-of-Ship-Recycling-Facilities-December-2020-FINAL.ashx
 


5. Assisting the assisters

As the plight of migrants continues to be very much to the fore, the issue of responding to distress calls has put those providing assistance in a difficult position. Steamship Mutual’s Darren Heppel takes a look at the challenges facing the masters of vessels providing that assistance.

He says that whilst the difficulties experienced by migrants attempting to cross seaways are well publicised, the logistical and political consequences for those seeking to prevent catastrophe are less well known.

Check out the story on Steamship Mutual’s website: www.steamshipmutual.com
 


6. New insurance facility

Insurance Premium Finance Limited has announced the development of a new form of cross border marine premium finance facility.  The facility applies to a minimum annual premium spend of £50,000 or equivalent in other currencies over any class of marine insurance and is designed to assist insurance brokers, underwriters as well as marine assureds.

The CEO and founder of IPFL, Neil Barlow says “premium finance has been around for many years but no one has been able to support the insurance profession for cross border accounts where shipowners are domiciled in Panama and managed from Greece and with the security of Lloyd’s of London participating underwriters, for example”.

 Typically, a marine insurance premium is paid in quarterly instalments. The cost can be an expensive burden to assureds if the instalment due date does not correspond with freight receipts.  However, IPFL offers the policy holder 10 equal instalments thereby flattening the peaks and troughs of the cost of ship management.

This product will be attractive to  underwriters and brokers alike because they are paid their entire annual premiums and commissions in one go rather than being out of pocket for 11 months under the current deferred premium arrangements, the company says.  Moreover, the increasing costs of processing each premium instalment via the administration agencies, is also avoided.  There is also a corresponding positive effect on the market’s credit control costs.

The launch of this product has been planned with the 1st January 2021 renewal season in mind but is available immediately. For further details see the website www.ipfl.info
 


 

7. BIMCO to open London office

BIMCO is set to open its fourth local office in London, at the beginning of 2021. The new office will support the organisation’s regulatory affairs activities with Dr Bev Mackenzie taking up the role of BIMCO’s permanent representative at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) from 1 February, reporting to Deputy Secretary General Lars Robert Pedersen at the head office in Copenhagen.
“Opening an office in London is a logical next step for BIMCO. To serve our member’s interest the best we can, BIMCO needs to maintain even closer relations with people, companies and organisations in one of the world’s key shipping hubs,” says BIMCO president, Sadan Kaptanoglu.

The broader intention of the new presence in London is to enhance capacity in the increasingly important policy and regulatory field. Dr Mackenzie will ensure a more proactive relationship with the IMO secretariat in London and – additionally – will contribute to BIMCO’s marine environment team applying her marine scientific knowledge and experience.

“The agenda at the IMO is growing and becoming increasingly complex and political, and it requires more focus and effort to make sure that we always provide the practical input that BIMCO is known for,” says Lars Robert Pedersen, who is responsible for BIMCO’s regulatory activities.

The new BIMCO office is situated close to the IMO headquarters on the Albert Embankment in London. The office will also serve as a hub for BIMCO employees who visit London – when the pandemic abates. A fifth local office is under consideration so watch this space.
 


8. Cargo ventilation focus

While most industry players are aware of the dangers of enclosed spaces, fatalities continue to occur with alarming regularity, and recent tragedies like that in the port of Beirut have focused attention on improperly ventilated cargoes. Proper ventilation is essential to preventing damage to the cargo and to ensure the safety of the crew and vessel in bulk carriers. To provide masters and crew members with an understanding of different ventilation requirements for bulk cargoes, INTERCARGO, The Standard Club and class society DNV GL have launched a new ventilation guide.
 
The guide covers the main aspects on how and when to ventilate to control of humidity and to remove flammable and toxic gases released from cargoes. In addition, fumigation issues and the entry of ship’s personnel into confined spaces are addressed. The guide also sets out the regulatory requirements related to ventilation. Finally, several case studies illustrate practical examples on “what can go wrong” when correct ventilation and stowage procedures are not followed.

“Cargo ventilation is an often overlooked, but essential part of avoiding financial risk and danger to the crew and vessel,” says Morten Løvstad, business director  for bulk carriers, at DNV GL – Maritime. “With this guide we have worked together to examine some of the most common ventilation systems and provide some clear advice on how to deal with ventilation problems and hope this will help to build greater awareness of these issues within the segment.”

 In today’s market, ships carry a wide variety of dry cargoes, all with different ventilation requirements depending on the cargo characteristic, voyage, and the weather conditions.

“Ventilating the cargo is not merely allowing the outside air into the cargo hold, but it involves a precise process where a number of factors need to be considered,” said Yves Vandenborn, director of loss prevention, at the Standard Club. “Failing to adhere to the requirement may cause cargo damage and result in large losses.”

 He says the club continues to see high numbers of wet cargo damage claims, caused either by fresh water or seawater, but the most serious damage is due to condensation. Inadequate ventilation and poor stowage may result in caked and mouldy dry cargoes, or rusty steel cargoes. The guide aims to provide a clear and concise understanding of the ventilation requirements for various cargoes and will assist in preventing cargo damage caused by poor ventilation practices on board dry cargo ships.

A free webinar on the ventilation guide will take place on Friday 11 December (8am CET/9am UK time/5pm Singapore time), please use this link for registration: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1991997721862429709

You can download the full guide here: https://dnvgl.com/maritime/publications/Cargo-and-Cargo-Hold-ventilation-guidance-download.html
 


9. Wellbeing survey

An industry-wide survey on maritime workers’ well-being during Covid-19, led by Lloyd’s Register  in collaboration with the UK Chamber of Shipping, the Mission to Seafarers and Safety at Sea, has uncovered key insights which may be used to improve the safety and well-being of maritime industry workers keeping global trade moving during the pandemic.

The online survey launched on 25 June, the “Day of the Seafarer”, was conducted to understand the efficacy of COVID-19 measures put in place, to assess how the maritime workforce has been supported during this challenging period and to gather insights about the level of care and welfare provided in order to share findings with the entire industry.

Overall survey results indicate that many providing essential services in the ocean economy are feeling undervalued.  When asked whether they agreed with the statement ‘I feel valued in my role’, only 8% of seafarers strongly agreed, and just 13% felt they were performing an essential role during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked to rate support on mental and physical well-being during this pandemic: with 1 being poor and 10 excellent, the mean result was 6.29, suggesting that while a lot of companies have provided ample support during the pandemic, there is still room for improvement. There were marked differences in support for seagoing versus land-based employees and serious concerns were also raised over seafarer mental health, communications and disease management, with key findings including:

•    75% of seafarers stated the pandemic meant they were not receiving regular visits from shoreside personnel
•    62% of seafarers felt their health and safety was not being balanced appropriately with operational demands
•    54% of seafarers felt they were not being actively helped to manage stress and fatigue during the pandemic
 
With as many as 400,000 seafarers currently stranded on vessels, as a result of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, some for over a year, the issue of crew change reform was raised by several respondents with one commenting: “We work for each and every one of you to have food, water, fuel, cars etc. We need support in these tough times, but we have been forgotten and abandoned by everybody.”

In a worrying sign for safety, only half of seafarer respondents (54%) were able to fully agree they had been provided with Covid-19-related PPE.  Some 5% of seagoing participants indicated that there were crew diagnosed with Covid-19 onboard.

 When asked about how their organisation has supported them throughout the pandemic, more ship staff (50%) than shore staff (32%) said they had access to a professional person through their job; someone who could provide personal advice and support.

Despite the higher ship staff percentage, the ratio of uptake was not dissimilar: 30% of ship staff used professional services and 17% of shore staff sought help. Reasons ship staff gave for not seeking help was the stigma surrounding mental health and its potential impact on employment. Others said they felt there was no need to or that they did not think it would be effective.

Read more on the survey.
 


10. Tackling emissions

Ports worrying about emissions should note that RightShip and the Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) have jointly developed a Maritime Emissions Portal (MEP), which will provide leading emissions inventory data to ports around the world.

RightShip has worked with the Pilbara Ports Authority to develop a successful pilot programme that allows ports around the world to review their emissions profiles and develop appropriate management strategies.

Now available for commercial use, the MEP has been designed as a tool to support port operators to better and more accurately understand ship-based emissions, and based on that evidence identify opportunities to develop management strategies.
 
Combining Automatic Identification System  movement data and RightShip’s vessel insight data, the MEP estimates ship-sourced emissions at specific ports and provides heat map indications of hotspots and opportunities to reduce environmental impact.
 
Using industry best practice guidelines from groups including the US EPA, California Air Resources Board and the International Maritime Organisation, the tool is believed to be the first of its kind and can monitor all vessel types including ocean-going vessels, OSVs, and tugboats; as well as all operating modes: anchorage, transiting, manoeuvring and hotelling.

The easy-to-use digital tool enables ports to better understand and assess their emissions inventory and local air quality and then to identify opportunities for management strategies via the produced heatmaps. Port authorities can use several filters including ship type, points of interest, vessel age and emissions type to develop a clear view of vessel activity while in port.

For more information about RightShip’s Maritime Emissions Portal, please contact info@rightship.com
 


11. Arctic approach

The Arctic Council’s Arctic Shipping Best Practice Information Forum held its fourth annual meeting recently with the virtual event attracting record attendance, the council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME) commented recently.

Addressing the Forum, Heike Deggim, the International Maritime Organization’s Director of Maritime Safety commented “This Forum is forward thinking, and a leading example of inclusivity in the implementation of important regulation for the protection of seafarers, the environment, and the Arctic’s inhabitants, as well as important significance for the Antarctic. It is a lesson for others in how to approach the implementation of regulation. It would be great to see support for its replication for other IMO Regulations and Conventions.”

The purpose of the Forum is to support the effective implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code).  This is accomplished by collecting and posting on a dedicated web Pportal authoritative information relevant to all those involved in safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping, including shipowners and operators, regulators, classification societies, marine insurers, and indigenous and local communities.

‘The Polar Code: Trending Towards Success” was the theme of this year’s meeting in recognition of the enormous progress made in the Polar Code’s successful implementation.  Presentations from a diverse group of experts addressed efforts to advance harmonized interpretations of the Polar Code, highlighted initiatives to enhance meteorological, oceanographic, and hydrographic products and services that support safe and environmentally sound Arctic shipping, and described training initiatives to strengthen the critical human element in polar navigation.  

The Forum’s Web Portal, accessible at www.arcticshippingforum.is, provides links to carefully selected, authoritative information from intergovernmental bodies and widely recognized industry, non-governmental, indigenous, and academic organizations that is critical to effective Polar Code implementation.

Michael Kingston, a member of the PAME Forum Organizing Committee, commented “We really do think that we are enhancing information for the implementation of the Polar Code for the Protection of the Arctic’s seafarers, environment, and inhabitants, through this collaborative approach. It is a pleasure to be involved with the organizing committee in working with such responsible, hard-working, and enthusiastic Forum Participants representing their organisations and members so well and it shows that, when we work together, we will always make a difference. I would like to acknowledge the enormous amount of work, skill in that work, and support of the PAME Secretariat to make this process work”.
 


12. Navigating the future

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown into sharp focus the world’s dependence on shipping. More than 90% of global trade is carried by sea, yet few outside the industry appreciate its scale, dynamism and technological progress, or the opportunities it offers for an exciting and rewarding career.

The Nautical Institute has joined forces with ITN Productions to produce a film that aims to raise awareness and understanding of the vital role played by the maritime sector. The film, Navigating the Future, was launched at the CrewConnect Global virtual conference by The Nautical Institute’s CEO, Captain John Lloyd.

In the first of the programme’s three segments, Captain Lloyd outlines how technology is transforming the industry – particularly by making shipping greener. Oceangoing ships are already among the least polluting forms of transport per tonne-km, but new fuels and innovative propulsion systems will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next few years. As the industry undergoes rapid change, The Nautical Institute is there to provide support through its journals and publications, a global network of maritime experts, and its CPD programme, Lloyd explains.

The Institute’s commitment to professionalism and improving safety standards is shared by the ice pilotage and navigation specialists at Martech Polar. In the film’s second segment, CEO Duke Snider – a former Nautical Institute President and author of Polar Ship Operations – reveals that navigating safely through the beautiful but dangerous polar waters is both challenging and hugely rewarding. Global warming has increased the risks, as ice is now being encountered in waters that used to be ice-free.

Just like Martech Polar, business analyst S&P Global Platts uses a combination of science, technology and experience to help companies find a safe passage through the ever-changing currents of international trade. For example, market data and efficient ship management can help companies reduce outlay on bunkers and plan for future fuels, while Covid-related global container shortages also highlight the importance of using accurate information and innovative solutions.

Watch the Navigating the Future film at https://www.nautinst.org/
 


13. Women in SAR

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has launched the next stage of its #WomenInSAR initiative, supported by a generous grant from Trinity House, a maritime charity and one of the UK’s statutory general lighthouse authorities.

The IMRF launched its #WomenInSAR initiative at its World Maritime Rescue Congress (WMRC) in June 2019.  The project aims to increase the representation of women in the maritime sector and specifically to raise the profile of women working in maritime Search and Rescue (SAR).

The initiative supports the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Empowering Women in Maritime initiative which seeks to address the sector’s huge gender gap and significant under representation of women in all roles and all sectors, including maritime SAR.

Since the launch of #WomenInSAR, the IMRF has introduced the IMRF #WomenInSAR Award, one of the annual IMRF Awards and organised the very first all-women maritime SAR training in Morocco in conjunction with the IMO.
The Trinity House funding will allow the IMRF to develop the initiative significantly further, delivering valuable information and taking the initial steps to address the gender gap.

The first step is to establish the current situation and to do this, the IMRF has launched the #WomenInSAR Survey, asking all its members and anyone working in maritime SAR to answer some questions about their role and working situation.  The survey will be open and promoted through the winter and the resulting report will be published in Spring 2021.

 If you have any questions and/or would like further information about the #WomenInSAR initiative, please contact Caroline Jupe: c.jupe@imrf.org.uk

To complete the #WomeninSAR survey, just click here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WomenInSAR
 


Notices & Miscellany
 
Carols for the City – Tuesday 8th December at 5.30pm GMT

All are welcome at this unique traditional carol service being organised by retired Thomas Miller employee, Mark Holford. There is a strong line-up of participants including The Lord Mayor of the City of London, HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG KCVO, Dame Mary Berry DBE, the Governor of the Bank of England and the Bishop of London. You can sing along to the  carols and other music sung by VOCES8, one of the world’s leading a cappella groups – by watching live or on catch up anywhere in the world.
Tickets are only £5/US$7.50. There is also a great business package (starting at £250) to treat your employees, clients etc. Full details, including booking and donations, on the website. www.carolsforthecity.org

Bridge resource management
The UK Chamber of Shipping’s Bridge Resource Management Task Force will launch a new publication examining Bridge Resource Management and enhancements in safety shortly. The launch will be taking place on 14 December at 2pm, looking at some of the key elements of the guidance and hearing from operators and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency on its importance in avoiding single points of failure.
Sign up Here