1. Opportunity knocks
2. Energy saving technology
3. Launch of Maritime Professional Council
4. Carrying containers
5. Ageing FPSOs
6. Shipping safety
7. Relief fund hits target
8. Talking communications
9. Surcharge enquiry
10. Medal of honour
11. Seacon’s AHOY initiative
12.CTU Code guidance
Notices & Miscellany
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1. Opportunity knocks
By Michael Grey
The United States has one of the world’s longest coastlines, its landmass is penetrated by large numbers of navigable waterways, so you might think that it would be a world leader in initiatives that will move transport from congested roads to under-utilised water. Simple geography suggests that, given half a chance, the US coasts ought to be buzzing with modern marine transport moving every kind of freight around its periphery, easing the pressures on its interstate highways.
It’s not that the opportunities have not been recognised. At least once during every US presidency that I can remember (that’s quite a number) the US Maritime Administration has produced plans, projects and recommendations to get interstate freight afloat. A couple of presidencies past, MARAD even went as far as commissioning some first class designs for a range of ships that could be built in the US to serve as tools for this modal change. There were ro-ros and container ships and had this ambitious “marine highway” plan been acted upon, there might have been some sort of noticeable impact upon the traffic jams and pollution on the busy interstate highways.
We have a new-ish president and true to form, I read in the excellent Millers’ Maritime Newsletter that MARAD has this month announced six new projects which, suitably funded, might get some more freight afloat on both salt and fresh water. They are possibly rather less ambitious than earlier Marine Highway plans, involving some projects in US overseas territories, some proposals to boost traffic on the Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin, and an intercoastal barge service on the West Coast that will link California, Oregon and Washington. It seems modest enough, so it probably will work.
But it is sad that the US, with all its maritime skills and heritage, cannot work out how something more ambitious might revitalise coastal shipping around its long coastal seaways, other than schemes for tugs and barges, as opposed to “proper” ships. I’m sure that there are maritime people in the US who look across the Atlantic at the fleet of ships that are working around the European periphery and wish for something better in their own back yard. Just imagine what sort of impact big and efficient ships like those run by Grimaldi, Stena, DFDS or Cobelfret could make on the US coast. This indeed was what MARAD had been hoping to achieve with their earlier initiatives.
Why did this worthwhile effort not bear fruit? It is not difficult to suggest some reasons. For a start, any sort of movement from road to other modes of transport can only be made gradually – you cannot suddenly make available a huge new ship and expect the customers, accustomed to generations of dependence on road haulage, to change their preferences and habits. Ideally, as with the European Commission and their “Motorways of the Sea”, you provide some “seed money” to encourage an operator to open a route at a price the user can afford. The operator will sensibly cut his coat according to his cloth and charter a ship that isn’t going to drain money away as the route gradually builds up traffic. Then larger vessels can be commissioned, when there is a fighting chance that they can pay their way. It is a system that has managed to assert itself in Europe, despite some initial scepticism.
But sadly, in the US, there is no such option available, mainly because of the Jones Act, which will expressly prohibit the import of those useful chartered or second-hand ships which could introduce people to maritime opportunities. Thus, there was very little likelihood that those half-dozen designs advertised earlier by MARAD would have found a buyer, because the capital expenditure needed to build them could never have been justified. Suppose, after such expenditure, at the far higher cost of an American-built ship, the customers hadn’t turned up, or appeared in such small numbers each voyage was stupendously loss-making. It just didn’t add up. And if you can’t afford fine 20-knot ro-ros, or efficient and capable coastal containerships, you are reduced to tugs and barges.
Just as in every presidency, there is an attempt to revitalise coastal shipping, there is also an attempt to repeal the Jones Act, and that never gets much traction either. For whatever you might think about protectionism, it is there to protect and without it, there simply would not be any jobs for American citizens on US or any other ships. It would end up like Europe, with owners turning to the cheapest labour in the world to man their vessels, which is possibly fine for the users of ships, and their owners, but is not great for people like Brits, who cannot even find a ship that will give a cadet sea time. It’s all a matter of balance, or weighing one set of policies against another. Swings and roundabouts, really.
Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.
2. Energy saving technology
Legal issues relating to supplying and financing energy saving technology are considered by Watson Farley Williams following the report The Sustainability Imperative – ESG – Reshaping the Funding and Governance of Shipping which indicates a mixed response from the ship finance sector. Hardly any financiers were willing to contemplate a subordinate mortgage being granted and/or registered in favour of EST financiers. Their willingness to relax covenants to accommodate EST financing was also lukewarm.
This may reflect their experience and approach to date with the financing of retrofitting scrubbers, which has overwhelmingly been achieved by an up-sizing of existing facilities by the existing financiers, relying on their existing ship security (supplemented and amended as necessary to cover the additional exposure), rather than by the provision of new financing by third parties and/or the suppliers themselves.
3. Launch of Maritime Professional Council
Shipping is going through huge technological changes and the industry’s professional bodies say their expertise needs to be utilised more fully when policy decisions are made in this vital sector. For generations, professional organisations have provided a key source of expertise helping to maintain the right standards across industrial sectors. In the maritime sector this is often not the case meaning regulators and employers are missing out on years of experience leading professionals can bring to the table.
To make this easier a number of national and global professional associations based in the UK have formed the Maritime Professional Council (MPC) of the UK to make sure policy makers are aware of the considered professional opinions of those with the qualifications, expertise and experience to provide informed advice on the many policy decisions that need to be made.
The MPC will bring together the collective voices of the United Kingdom-based professional organisations for the British Merchant Navy and associated maritime industry. It will promote professionalism within the industry and offer expert opinion on maritime matters to the maritime community, industry, government and the media.
The founding organisations of the MPC are the Honourable Company of Master Mariners, The Nautical Institute, International Institute of Marine Surveying, Institute of Seamanship, and United Kingdom Marine Pilots Association. They say they realise that the government and government-aligned bodies charged with policy and direction of the Merchant Navy and associated sectors of the shipping industry need the best practical pool of experience to draw upon. The MPC’s experts will be able to contribute to policy discussions from an international perspective as well as sharing their in-depth understanding of the UK’s maritime industries.
While the individual maritime professional bodies are respected within the shipping industry, their knowledge and experience are rarely sought when decisions are made on key policy and legislative changes. The MPC believes that having a strong collective voice will be a game changer.
One area of great concern to the professional bodies is maintaining the quality of seafarer training and the MPC will provide guidance to regulators and employers on the professional training standards for maritime professionals.
More generally the MPC will be able to provide independent expert advice and guidance based on its combined professional knowledge and experience unhindered by any financial or commercial interests.
The formal launch of the MPC takes place on HQS Wellington at 1230 hours on Merchant Navy Day, 3rd September 2021. Numbers are strictly limited but anyone interested in attending should contact MPC by email at email@example.com. For media enquiries contact David Hughes (tel. 07481909310. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
4. Carrying containers
P&I Club Steamship Mutual says it has received a number of enquiries regarding the carriage of containers in vessels not primarily designed to carry them, such as bulkers and general cargo vessels. The club points to instances where carrying containers in bulkers has resulted in container stack collapses in the hold and a consequent return to port.
For further details and guidance concerning the risk presented by such operations, see the club’s website at https://www.steamshipmutual.com/downloads/articles.
5. Ageing FPSOs
Class society ABS has brought together leading companies in the FPSO sector to address safety challenges produced by a fleet where more than half the vessels are over 30 years old and a quarter over 40 years old. The working group includes a number of industry players including Chevron, Shell Trading, Petrobras, MODEC, and SBM as well as the Bahamas Maritime Authority, the Marshall Islands and the US Coast Guard. Five joint industry projects have already been created with the aim of using technology to tackle a range of FPSO safety issues.
JIPs will tackle composite materials repairs for offshore structures, life extension of wire ropes, gauging management software, applications of photogrammetry and 3D laser scanning as well as the role of artificial intelligence in corrosion analysis. “The offshore industry is faced with an evolving risk profile, with opportunities to enhance protocols and systems to address these risks,” says ABS chief executive Christopher Wiernicki. “The challenge surrounding maintenance and structural fitness of aging FPSOs is not just a Class concern, rather, it is an industry challenge that requires the involvement and cooperation of all the industry players.”
ABS data shows that a total of 55 FPSO units in the global fleet are reaching the end of their design life in the next five years, a further five already have life extensions in place, with a further 19 currently being evaluated for life extension. The efforts of this working group will produce outcomes that assist with the evaluation and potential acceptance of life extension.
Covid-19 vaccinations of seafarers are critical in solving the crew change crisis. As of August 2021, the Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator has been expanded to include the aggregate percentage of seafarers who have been vaccinated. Data from August shows that only 15.3% of seafarers have been vaccinated. In comparison, the share of the population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in large shipping nations in Europe, North America and Asia is at around 50%. This shows that despite progress in seafarer vaccinations, their rates are much behind those of large shipping nations.
“Seafarers must be recognized as key workers and given priority access to Covid-19 vaccines. This is key to protect seafarers’ wellbeing and the functioning of global supply chains,” says Kasper Søgaard, Managing Director, Head of Institutional Strategy and Development, Global Maritime Forum.
He adds: “Seafarers are starting to get vaccinated, especially those from developed countries. Programs in the US and some European countries are offering vaccines to international seafarers, but many more countries must follow suit to solve the crew change crisis.” Ship managers identify the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia, Venezuela and Latvia as the areas with the largest challenge in securing the supply of vaccines.
The August Indicator also confirms that the crew change crisis remains unresolved. The number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract has slightly increased from 8.8% to 9.0% in the last month and the number of seafarers onboard vessels for over 11 months has risen from 1% to 1.3%. The Maritime Labour Convention states that the maximum continuous period a seafarer should serve on board a vessel without leave is 11 months.
The latest data could indicate that the crew change crisis has started to stabilize since the significant deterioration in the previous months. But the crew change crisis is far from resolved. Travel restrictions persist, in particular for seafarers from the Indian subcontinent and China, and many inbound flights have been cancelled, especially to Australia and the Philippines.
Ship managers also highlight that continual high infection rates and subsequent domestic lockdowns are challenging crew changes and causing disruption to crew movements and stretching resources, especially in Eastern Europe. Furthermore, the Philippine government has announced a travel ban for seafarers traveling from the UAE, Oman, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, further disrupting crew movements.
The Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator builds on aggregated data from 10 leading ship managers: Anglo-Eastern, Bernhard Schulte, Columbia Shipmanagement, Fleet Management (FLEET), OSM, Synergy Marine, Thome, V.Group, Wallem, and Wilhelmsen Ship Management, which collectively have about 90,000 seafarers currently onboard.
7. Relief fund hits target
The Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF) has reached its goal of raising US$1 million to provide vital relief for seafarers and their families affected by Covid.
The target was reached thanks to a substantial donation from NYK Line, plus many other personal and corporate donors, including most recently the TK Foundation. The total raised by SIRF currently stands at US$1.17 million. Further donations are very welcome and will enable SIRF to extend its crisis welfare response to the pandemic.
The SIRF appeal was launched in May this year when the catastrophic scale of the latest wave of the pandemic in India became clear. Several leading seafarer welfare charities, including The Seafarers’ Charity, The Mission to Seafarers, ISWAN, Sailors’ Society and Stella Maris, as well as other shipping industry players, came together to explore ways to deliver urgent support to seafarers and their families. Together, they rapidly formed SIRF as an emergency relief initiative to raise funds to deliver rapid assistance, initially in India and with the potential to expand to other countries.
In less than three months, SIRF has raised more than US$1 million, all of which goes towards supporting seafarers and their families from the threat of COVID. The latest SIRF grants include funding for Stella Maris to provide food parcels to more than 1,000 seafaring families in Kochi, Kerala, plus funding for support workers to deliver post-Covid medical care, counselling, and therapy, including specialist care for children.
Speaking on behalf of SIRF, Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive of The Seafarers’ Charity, commented:
“We are thrilled to have exceeded our target of US$1 million. This was an ambitious goal, but one that reflected the catastrophic impact of the pandemic, particularly in India, where many seafaring communities have been badly affected, through lives lost and severe health impacts, as well as the personal costs for the livelihoods of seafarers. To have reached this goal in less than three months is a wonderful testament to shipping’s global community. All our donors, big and small, have mobilised in support of seafarers and every dollar has helped to deliver urgent, life-saving support to those most in need.
“We would also like to express our deep gratitude to NYK Line for its substantial donation, which is a wonderful expression of its support and solidarity for the world’s seafarers. It is no exaggeration to say that thanks to NYK Line and our other donors, including the TK Foundation, lives will be saved.”
Although the COVID situation in India is stabilising, many other parts of the world are suffering from further waves of infection, including other seafaring nations, such as Indonesia, South Africa, and the Philippines. SIRF is looking at how it can extend its support to seafaring communities in other countries and, as Catherine Spencer explains, it remains grateful for further donations to fund its vital work:
“The funds raised will continue to support our work in India, where thanks to our delivery partners, we have been able to respond rapidly to the needs of those at risk. This has included funding for oxygenators, Covid care kits, food aid, and post-Covid support, as well as supporting a vaccination drive for seafarers. However, the pandemic is far from over, and the situation remains bleak in many nations. SIRF is looking at what we can do to help support seafarers in other countries, but this relies on your help. The SIRF appeal remains open for donations and we continue to ask you to dig deep in support.”
The SIRF Fund is administered and overseen by The Seafarers’ Charity (formerly Seafarers UK), a grant funder with well-established governance mechanisms and processes for monitoring and evaluation to ensure efficiency and transparency. 100% of the SIRF donations will help seafarers and their families affected by Covid.
SIRF continues to welcome support from individual or corporate donors. To donate please visit https://donate.theseafarerscharity.org/sirf.
Alternatively, email email@example.com or call +44 (0) 20 7932 0000.
8. Talking communications
ICHCA International, the global cargo handling association and leading event organiser serving the port and terminals sector, TOC Events, have finalised an agreement aimed at greater communication and interaction within the industry in the post-pandemic era.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been welcomed by both parties as a framework to pursue cooperative projects of mutual interest specific to the dissemination of knowledge, best practice, analysis and commentary on the challenges and issues facing the global cargo handling community. It is intended that through the media of news distribution, publications and events, particularly of a digital nature, members and participants of both organisations will benefit from such interaction.
The first manifestation of the mutual understanding between the two bodies will come later this year when TOC Connect, an inaugural hybrid TOC event, takes place both digitally between 18th October and 5th November, and in its traditional ‘live’ format in Rotterdam (26th-27th October).
ICHCA members will participate by advising on the content and format of the innovative event and present during the programme of seminars and webinars.
9. Surcharge enquiry
The Federal Maritime Commission has launched an expedited inquiry into the timing and legal sufficiency of ocean carrier practices with respect to certain surcharges.
Eight ocean carriers are being asked to provide the Commission’s Bureau of Enforcement (BoE) with details about congestion or related surcharges they have implemented or announced.
BoE gave the ocean carriers until August 13, 2021, to provide details that confirm any surcharges were instituted properly and in accordance with legal and regulatory obligations.
This action was taken in response to communications received by the Commission from multiple parties reporting that ocean carriers are improperly implementing surcharges. The companies contacted are CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, HMM, Matson, MSC, OOCL, SM Line and Zim. Each ocean carrier was identified as having recently implemented or announced congestion or related surcharges.
Ocean carriers are subject to specific requirements related to tariff changes or rate increases, including providing a 30-day notice to shippers and ensuring that published tariffs are clear and definite.
In reviewing ocean carrier responses, the Commission will determine if surcharges were implemented following proper notice; if the purpose of the surcharge was clearly defined; if it is clear what event or condition triggers the surcharge; and is it clear what event or condition has been identified that would terminate the surcharge. The Commission can initiate enforcement actions for improperly established tariffs.
10. Medal of honour
Rosita Lau, a partner in Ince’s Hong Kong office, has been awarded the Medal of Honour in Hong Kong’s 2021 Honours List. Rosita is the first and only maritime lawyer to be awarded this prestigious honour since its inception in 1997.
This Medal of Honour recognises Lau’s work as a maritime lawyer as well as her personal contribution to actively promoting the development of all aspects of Hong Kong’s maritime industry locally, in Asia, and internationally, since the 1990s.
The Hong Kong Government commented: “Ms Lau is awarded the Medal of Honour in recognition of her contribution to the development of the maritime industry and reinforcing Hong Kong’s status as an international maritime centre.”
Lau has also enhanced Hong Kong’s status as an international maritime centre in her position as an ambassador of Hong Kong’s maritime industry in missions to overseas countries. These included promoting the all-encompassing maritime services that Hong Kong offers, speaking at and moderating international maritime forums, tightening the links and strengthening relationships between Hong Kong and other international maritime centres, and assisting in inviting overseas investors to invest in Hong Kong’s maritime industry. She carried out all these under various public duty appointments in a personal capacity, including her role as an appointed member of both the Hong Kong Maritime Industry Council from 2010 to March 2016, and the Maritime and Port Board of the Hong Kong Government since April 2016 to the present.
“I am very honoured to receive this award and am grateful for the recognition by the Hong Kong Government. I have witnessed Hong Kong going from strength to strength as an international maritime centre and this is the rewarding result of not only my efforts but also those from the Government and many players in all the sectors of the Hong Kong maritime industry. Over the past few years Hong Kong has experienced new opportunities given China’s various international and regional initiatives. I will continue to help Hong Kong as best as I can to make it even more important and influential in the global maritime arena,” she said.
11. Seacon’s AHOY initiative
For over half a century, the Seacon Group has been supporting its customers’ needs by offering door-to-door transport solutions on the river Thames and beyond. The company was recently inspired by the work of the AHOY Centre Charity to offer its support to the transformations AHOY provides for young people.
A charity based in Deptford, the AHOY Centre uses the mediums of rowing, sailing and other water-based activities to support young disadvantaged youths and disabled adults. This enables people from all walks of life to participate in activities on an equal level whilst developing essential life skills and gaining recognised qualifications.
An important part of AHOY’s mission is a 15-month apprenticeship programme, which provides opportunities for young people to learn transferable skills and gain recognised qualifications whilst working toward gaining an NVQ Level 2 in Activity Leadership.
Having seen first-hand the difference AHOY makes and the opportunities it provides for young people, Seacon proposed a five-year sponsorship which will support the funding of AHOY’s apprenticeship programme, helping more young people to learn, re-engage and develop their own pathway to employment through the support of AHOY and their innovative activities.
“As fellow members of the Port of London community, we have got to know AHOY over the last few years,” says James Roth, Chairman of Seacon Group. “We are proud to support this amazing charity and the great work they do investing in young people and making a real difference.”
“We’re extremely grateful for the commitment shown from James and the Seacon Group to AHOY, funding is always a concern within the charity sector and a regular battle to secure year on year,” says Dan Sullivan of the AHOY Centre. “Having a long term relationship with supporters such as Seacon provides a reassurance that our activities can continue to operate at the level we wish. This is particularly true of our apprenticeship programme, which at a time where young people’s education and futures have been widely affected because of the pandemic is needed more than ever.’’
For further information about corporate partnerships with The AHOY Centre, please contact Jonny Grady, Corporate Fundraiser: Jonny@ahoy.org.uk
12. CTU Code guidance
In striving for greater awareness and usage of the CTU Code in order to improve safety in the intermodal supply chain, the Cargo Integrity Group (CIG) has published its Quick Guide to the Code, and its accompanying Container Packing Checklist, in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
The production of a Quick Guide to the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code), along with a Checklist of actions required of those packing cargo in freight containers, is pivotal to achieving safe and secure transport.
Now the Quick Guide and Checklist have been translated from the original English into each of the other United Nations official languages and are available for download HERE
In announcing the news, Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director of insurer TT Club commented, “We must have higher standards of cargo integrity, if we are to arrest safety deficiencies in the supply chain – most vividly demonstrated by the too frequent occurrence of container ship fires. This means those in warehouses and manufacturing facilities who pack and secure cargo in containers, as well as shippers and forwarders preparing documentation and declarations that describe the goods in detail, must take responsibility to ensure adherence to safety guidelines.
The CTU Code covers such roles and practices and one of the primary aims of CIG is to promote its universal use. The Quick Guide has distilled the Code, our multi-lingual versions will help disseminate it.”
Notices & Miscellany
Stephen Spark has sent us the following comment on MA issue 784.
I thoroughly endorse Michael Grey’s call for vaccination of visiting seafarers. I have been trying to get the message across since late 2020, though to singularly little effect – ‘voice in the wilderness’ and ’emptying bladder into a Force 11′ spring to mind. One exception was my local MP, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (Lab, Tooting), who was good enough to reply positively not just once, but twice. As an A&E doctor at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, she knows better than most MPs the realities of Covid and the value of vaccination.
If each one of us reading Michael’s article wrote – and persuaded our friends, family and colleagues to write – to our representatives on the matter, perhaps something would actually happen.
A new bespoke marine consultancy has been set up in Singapore. After 30 years working for leading firms, Nick White, master mariner, has established Glaven Marine to provide a personal, dedicated consultancy service to the shipping and offshore industries. White is well known and respected in SE Asia and indeed globally, having acted on behalf of P&I Clubs, Admiralty lawyers, hull underwriters and many other interests in a wide variety of maritime incidents. He specialises in the investigation of groundings, collisions, charterparty disputes including unsafe berth & port and seaworthiness claims, salvage, wreck removal and towage incidents. He has given expert evidence on many occasions. With a strong pedigree in casualty investigations, towage, marine warranty surveying and also a member of Lloyds SCR panel, Nick can handle a wide range of cases from the day-to-day to the most complex.
Visit Glaven Marine at https://www.glaven-marine.com.
Law firm M Taher & Co has moved its office to the Leadenhall Building, also famously and informally
known as the “Cheesegrater”. This is in line with the firm’s business strategy and growth plans, and also to readily adapt to and embrace the new era of increased remote work in a very different business world.
The Leadenhall Building is located next to the Lloyd’s Building, so, from postcode to commute, much remains the same, Maryam Taher tells MA.
Ince will be hosting a number of events as part of London International Shipping Week, taking place between 13 to 17 September 2021. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. REGISTER HERE
London Shipping Law Centre in association with 36 Stone will be holding its arbitration roundtable debate next month. These webinars will address: Part 1 – Wednesday 15.09.21 (13.00 – 14.30) “London Maritime Arbitration – costs and time are the thorny issues for users – Who is in control?” Part 2 Thursday 16.09.21 (13.00 – 14.30) Reality Testing in London Arbitration – does the system serve the needs of users?
The UK Chamber of Shipping, will be hosting three events as part of London International Shipping Week. The events will consist of three sessions over the course of the three days on 13th, 14th and 16th September.
Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings: email@example.com
(With thanks to Paul Dixon)
Drawbacks to Working in a Cubicle
Being told to: “think outside the box” when you’re in a box all day long.
Not being able to check e-mail attachments without turning around to see who’s behind you.
Cubicle walls do not offer much protection from any kind of gunfire.
That nagging feeling that if you press the right button you’ll get a piece of cheese.
There are no roof rafters for the noose.
The walls are too close together for the hammock to work right.
23 power cords – 1 outlet.
Prison cells are not only bigger; they also have beds.
The carpet has been there since 1976 and shows more signs of life than your co-workers.
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