The Maritime Advocate–Issue 765


Issue 765

November 20th, 2020


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Editor: Sandra Speares | Email:

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1. Home truths on recording practices
2. Seafarers rights initiative
3. Using ECDIS
4. Autonomous shipping contract
5. Shipping transformation
6. Rule B and arbitration
7. Charterparty ping pong
8. Virtual IMO
9. Seafarers awards
10. AMSA crew changes
11. Heroes at Sea
12. Singapore MOU

Notices & Miscellany

Readers’ responses to our articles are very welcome and, where suitable, will be reproduced:
Write to:



1. Home truths on recording practices
By Michael Grey

A fine piece of research has emerged from the World Maritime University which put together a team to look at the regulations surrounding the recording of seafarers’ hours of work and rest. Are people flogging their hours to stay apparently legal and ensure that any inspectors leave with smiles on their faces? Perish the thought! We need to think about the practice as one of “adjustment” which seems rather more respectable, when it is put like that.

Nevertheless, the report “A Culture of Adjustment” points to such widespread malpractices that you have to wonder what the point was of all those well-meaning regulations designed, several years ago, to prevent seafarers keeling over from exhaustion because of the normal operation of their ships. It summarises these as “systemic failures”, but it might better be described as all sides; shipping companies, regulators and the wretched seafarers themselves, effectively colluding in a system which just isn’t working.

It very effectively confirms all the anecdotal evidence that filters from the sea in their unofficial channels to the shore – that the whole concept of “safe” manning levels agreed between ship operators and flag states is wishful thinking and that there are just not enough bodies on most ships to do all the work that needs to be done. We have always known that “the ship comes first” and that if the choice is going to bed, or turning to and sailing, or completing a task, there really isn’t a contest. The researchers put it rather nicely – “prioritising your allegiance” – this conflict which invariably only settled one way.
It is made quite clear, from the large number of quotations from very many interviewees, that the most important aspect is not to implement the regulations, but to demonstrate that they are being complied with. That way, there will be no awkward questions from port state inspectors about red marks in the hours reports, and subsequent “we fail to understand” communications from angry managers ashore. The often terrible relationship between those afloat and ashore frequently seems to come to the fore, with people aboard more worried about their job security than they would be working for decent employers.

The researchers go to town on the sheer inhumanity and impracticality of the 6/6hr watch system practiced in so many small ships, and the utter impossibility of their operating/rest hours remaining “legal”. But they then point to the fierce defenders of such a system which involve people working hours that wouldn’t look out of place in a Victorian coal mine. They also emphasise that it is a ship’s time in port which throw up the most problems, from the port state inspectors waking up exhausted ships’ personnel to verify their hours of rest records, and visitors demanding attention from officers who haven’t been off their feet, possibly for days.

And in the macho culture of shipping, when the priority above all else is expediting the voyage, there seems little faith that any feedback from the ship will be treated with any serious intent.  There is no sense that any appeal for extra hands to spread the burden more fairly will not fall on stony ground.
This report is well worth reading and also begs a lot of awkward questions about other systems that look brilliant on paper, but fall very flat when translated to the workings of a busy ship. How much of the doubtless important work at IMO, on necessary regulations, are going to end up with extra work for the ever-fewer people aboard ship? Think of the awesome amount of regulations on fuel and emissions in the current legislative pipeline that will keep masters and chief engineers burning the midnight oil in future years. And yet, think of the people who might have helped with this burden in past years – the pursers – radio officers – writers –  additional officers – whose ranks were deemed superfluous by the bean counters and purged without a second thought.

The WMU work, which ought to ruffle a lot of feathers, talks of “cognitive dissonance , where deviance is normalised”. I suppose you might suggest that deviance is only normalised because anything else is seen to be impractical by all the “stakeholders”, although they would prefer to use the polite term “adjustment” to describe something less respectable.  And you might also suggest that there is another culture – that of cheapness, which ensures that ships will continue to be under-manned, because their users just won’t pay for anything better. And that culture will take some changing. 

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.


2. Seafarers rights initiative

The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), along with SSI members have launched  a new project focusing on seafarers’ labour and human rights.

Delivering on seafarers’ rights will be a joint project to develop a human rights code of conduct for charterers, and a roadmap for tackling systemic challenges which create human rights risks for seafarers – a widely-recognised gap in catalysing industry-wide policy and practice.

Co-led by SSI and IHRB, the project brings together SSI members: The China Navigation Company; Forum for the Future; Louis Dreyfus Company; Oldendorff Carriers; RightShip; South32; and Standard Chartered Bank.

The challenge of protecting and respecting seafarers’ rights was thrust into the spotlight with the emergence of 300,000+ seafarers stranded at sea due to crew-change restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside this increased public awareness of the challenges seafarers worldwide face, there is a growing demand from consumers, investors, business partners, governments, and civil society for transparent and sustainable supply chains that address human rights along with environmental concerns.

Charterers are also increasingly under scrutiny with regard to the sustainability of their supply chains, not only in terms of their commodities but also the vessels that transport their cargo. However, there is currently a lack of guidance on how labour and human rights risks should be identified and mitigated.  Plugging this gap is key to strengthening both chartering-related decision-making and due diligence processes.

This project will see charterers play an active role in raising the industry’s bar through the development of an industry code of conduct for actors joined together across the shipping value chain. Based on international labour and human rights standards and principles, this work will bring charterers, shipowners, and operators together for collective action, increasing transparency and driving positive change.

The work will further explore ways in which seafarers’ rights can be addressed by demanding transparency on labour and human rights risks, for example – through contractual terms and chartering provisions. | @SustShipping

3. Using ECDIS

The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) has released a new information paper,  Recommendations on Usage of ECDIS and Preventing Incidents, which provides guidance to enhance policies and procedures regarding the safe use of Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems (ECDIS).

With more vessels using Electronic Navigational Charts for primary or secondary navigation, there have been several significant navigational incidents over the last decade where one of the contributing factors has been ECDIS-related. Recommendations on Usage of ECDIS and Preventing Incidents takes into account ECDIS-related navigational incident findings and safety-related observations from OCIMF’s Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE). To provide practical support and guidance, the information paper draws upon this analysis to provide recommendations for improving ECDIS-related practices and preventing ECDIS-related navigational incidents.

OCIMF managing director, Robert Drysdale, says “My view is that technology and digitalisation provide tools to ensure our industry will be successful and sustainable in the future. However, new technology can introduce unintended consequences if not planned, developed and introduced in a robust manner. Everyone recognises the benefits that ECDIS brings, but we have witnessed incidents caused through the misuse or misunderstanding of the technology. If followed, the recommendations contained in this information paper will help drive down the number of incidents associated with the use of ECDIS. I encourage all those who use ECDIS to read it and apply the recommendations.”

The information paper, which is available to download for free from, is aimed at ship owners, operators, masters, navigating officers and bridge team members including pilots, as well as ECDIS system manufacturers. Key chapters in the information paper cover ECDIS carriage requirements, ECDIS training and familiarisation, passage planning and alarm management.


4. Autonomous shipping contract

Introduction of autonomous ships continues to be a matter of much debate but the industry’s first standard contract for the operation of autonomous vessels is in the process of being drafted by BIMCO, with assistance from law firm HFW.

The new standard contract will be based on the SHIPMAN 2009 agreement for use with autonomous ships, and is expected to be published in 2021, HFW says, whose team of the drafting committee is led by Gudmund Bernitz and Henry Clack.

According to Gudmund Bernitz :”BIMCO and the drafting committee are facing an interesting challenge with creating this standard contract, in that there are currently no autonomous ships actually in operation. In fact, fully-autonomous shipping is likely still several years away. Many of the provisions are therefore having to be based on assumptions and expectations, and will continue to be refined and adapted over time as automation projects start to go live across the industry, to ensure that the standard contract continues to meet the needs of this emerging technology.”

For more information, visit:


5. Shipping transformation

The global pandemic has shown rapid change is possible. Can shipping seize on that momentum to enable positive, lasting transformation?

DNV GL’s Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen and Esben Poulsson, of the International Chamber of Shipping, argue that, if the industry works together as one, maritime has a golden opportunity to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis stronger, greener and more enlightened than ever. The time is right, they believe, for a maritime renaissance.

Read the interview article on how to take back control and help shipping navigate to a more profitable, efficient and sustainable future.

Read the article

6. Rule B and arbitration

Rule B and pre-recognition remedies in maritime arbitration were the topic under discussion by P&I Club Skuld in a recent article. As the club puts it, there is nothing more frustrating to a successful claimant in an arbitral proceeding when it cannot enforce an award because the respondent has become insolvent.

Check out the club’s view of planning a strategy of enforcement of the award at an early stage in proceedings at


7. Charterparty ping pong

Fixing a voyage charterparty is a game of “round the table” ping pong says Ince in its analysis on the touchy subject of when negotiations become binding, as outlined in the case of Nautica Marine Ltd v. Trafigura Trading LLC (Leonidas) [2020] EWHC 1986 (Comm). When negotiating contracts parties need to be clear about any conditions contained in the contract and how these are applied.

For further details see the Ince website at:


8. Virtual IMO

Virtual meetings have been taking place at IMO to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing member states during the pandemic and going forward.  In its virtual session from 4-11 November, the Maritime Safety Committee approved a circular which contained protocols for safe crew change during the pandemic. The protocols set up measures and procedures for crew change and travel, practical steps for joining or signing off vessels and measures to prevent infection on ships. They also emphasise the need for seafarers to be designated as key workers.

Up-to-date information on national focal points and on ports which facilitate crew changes will be made available in a new module in IMO’s Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS), following the agreement of the Committee.

The MSC agreed that IMO, working with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), develop a universal non-text logo or symbol that enables seafarers to identify, and consequently access, dedicated resources and processes on ship, in port and in transit to/from ships.

The MSC also agreed measures related to the delay in delivery of new ships resulting from the pandemic. Other issues covered included guidance on the use of remote surveys, and the issue of force majeure.

Meanwhile draft new mandatory regulations to cut the carbon intensity of existing ships have been approved by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), meeting in virtual session from 16-20 November 2020.

This builds on current mandatory energy efficiency requirements to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.  The MEPC also agreed the terms of reference for assessing the possible impacts on states, paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries, in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs).

The draft amendments to the MARPOL convention would require ships to combine a technical and an operational approach to reduce their carbon intensity. This is in line with the ambition of the Initial IMO GHG Strategy, which aims to reduce carbon intensity of international shipping by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008. The amendments were developed by the seventh session of the Intersessional Working Group on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships (ISWG-GHG 7), held as a remote meeting 19-23 October 2020.

Further details can be found on the IMO website:

9. Seafarers awards

Leading international seafarer welfare charity, The Mission to Seafarers, hosted the annual Seafarers’ Awards, Singapore on Friday 6th November to celebrate the individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of seafarers.

The Seafarer’s Award for the seafarer who has made a significant contribution to welfare at sea was won by Captain Jaswinder Singh of Fleetship with Captain Vinod Kumar of ASP Ships Group being highly commended.

Capt. Singh and his crew were recognised for their professional conduct and gallant deeds rendered at sea in the rescue of four people when they received a Mayday call which was followed by the ‘abandon ship’ call. The four survivors were taken onboard, looked after and transferred to the coastguard vessel the following day.

The Shore-based Award for the shore-based person who has made a significant contribution to seafarers’ welfare was awarded to Bjørn Højgaard of Anglo-Eastern Univan Group. Since the crew change crisis, Bjorn has actively addressed the issue of crew changes and sought key worker status for seafarers, lobbying government and industry bodies while also pushing the message to the media, both in his capacity as the Hong Kong Shipowners Association chairman and chief executive of one of the world’s largest ship managers. When many others were apprehensive about arranging crew relief due to the uncertainty of air and ground transportation, Bjorn persevered.

Meanwhile the Innovation Award for the company which  has embraced a new programme, project or training which has enhanced seafarers’ welfare went to Thome Group with North of England P&I Club being highly commended. Thome Group launched an employee benefit programme called TSM Privilege Card which aims to aid offshore and onshore staff with their quality of life. Thome has also been investing heavily in wellness initiatives across the fleet to ensure mental and physical health and wellbeing of its crew and their families.

The Cadet Award for the Cadet or Trainee who has made a significant contribution to seafarers’ welfare at sea or ashore was Jarin Chowdhury of ASP Ships Group. Jarin is the first female cadet from Bangladesh on foreign flagged ships. She is an exceptional example of inspiration and achievement for the maritime community especially for female mariners. She motivates and mentors female seafarers in the country. Beyond her duties, she visits the Bangladesh Marine Academy and has been formally appointed as a mentor for junior cadets.

The Secretary General Award for the person or company who has shown sustained efforts to improve seafarers’ welfare at sea or ashore was awarded to Frank Coles of Wallem Group with Elizabeth Bleynat, former Mission to Seafarers intern, being highly commended. As the impact of the pandemic reverberated through the shipping industry, Frank Coles has capitalised on his platform as Wallem chief executive to advocate on behalf of seafarers, vigorously lobbying for industry regulators, trade bodies and national governments to deliver action rather than words as crew travel restrictions escalated into a human rights issue. He has participated in the intense liaisons with authorities that were required to organise repatriations at a time when rules on border crossings were changing regularly.

Many congratulations to all concerned.

10. AMSA crew changes

Interim Covid arrangements which have permitted seafarers to serve longer than 11 months on-board ships will end from 28 February 2021 the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has announced.
Under the Maritime Labour Convention the normal maximum period that a seafarer can serve aboard a vessel without leave is 11 months. Due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions and border closures, AMSA has taken a pragmatic approach to compliance with this requirement, the safety authority said. During the past six months, AMSA has monitored the level of compliance and intervened to ensure the repatriation of seafarers whose time on board was excessive. AMSA has now issued a new marine notice, Marine Notice 10/2020, stating a return to international requirements, of no more than 11 continuous months on board, will be applied from 28 February 2021.

General manager of operations Allan Schwartz said that while flexibility on the part of regulators was necessary when the Covid-19 pandemic began, keeping seafarers on board ships for longer than 11 months is not sustainable going forward.

“In our view there has been sufficient time for ship operators to adjust to the Covid-19 world and develop new plans for seafarer repatriation and crew changes,”  Schwartz said.

“Seafarers have shouldered a heavy burden during the Covid-19 pandemic, maintaining global trade and  keeping our economies moving by delivering the vital supplies that we all need. But it has come at a personal cost to the seafarers who have spent longer on board ships, unable to take shore leave due to mandatory quarantine and separated from their friends and families.”

“It’s time the seafarers are recognised for their efforts and we all make the effort to get them home on time.”

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has welcomed the announcement. ITF Seafarers’ and Inland Navigation Section Coordinator, Fabrizio Barcellona, said that given the world had been dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic for more than eight months, regulators and the industry needed to return to respecting the rights and welfare of seafarers.

“We welcome the decision by AMSA to end their exemptions for shipowners to have crew on board beyond the 11 months maximum allowed for internationally. But this is only the start of the action we need by port states to help resolve the crew change crisis and set clear expectations for the global shipping industry.”

“While we are disappointed that this unnecessary exemption will continue for another three months, we welcome the acknowledgement by Australia’s Port State Control that it is ‘not sustainable’ to persist with exemptions like this that harm the welfare of seafarers and infringe on their rights.”

11. Heroes at Sea

Those readers who would like a bit of a challenge during lockdown due to Covid can still do their bit by supporting the Heroes at Sea 2020 appeal. This has been launched in aid of seafarers, who have been subjected to the toughest of conditions during the pandemic, with difficulties signing on and off vessels, returning home and living in isolated circumstances for months at a time.

Walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are all means of supporting those at sea. The deadline for signing up is November 30th. For more details see the links below.

Sponsors so far include: China Navigation/Swire, One Ocean, PacMarine Services, SMOU, Voyager Worldwide, Mega Dynamic Builders, Wartsila Singapore, with individuals and groups including Drewry’s, Maersk Tankers and the Singapore Rotary Club.

12.  Singapore MOU

The Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA)   has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (Singapore Branch) (ICS Singapore).  The MOU seeks to provide a framework between both organisations to achieve a sustainable, long-term relationship and permanent association. The MOU was signed on 6 November 2020, by Justice Chao Hick Tin, Chairman of SCMA, and Captain Subhangshu Dutt, Chairman of ICS Singapore.

Under the MOU, there will be opportunities for cross-sharing of knowledge through cross-promotion of events and initiatives, organisation of joint events and sharing of articles. In addition, there will be cross-representation — the Chairman of ICS Singapore will automatically become a member of SCMA’s Local Users Council and the Executive Director of SCMA will automatically be an observer on the Executive Council of ICS Singapore. The two organisations will be holding a webinar covering regional news – see Singapore feedback below for details.

Notices & Miscellany

John Reeder QC

Sadly we report that John Reeder QC died in hospital on 22nd October after a short illness and his funeral took place on 9th November.

John was working to the end and had advised only in recent weeks on salvage matters. He had been a consultant with the team at Tatham & Co since 2013 following his retirement from day to day advocacy. John was a leading Admiralty QC, a Lloyd’s Arbitrator and Appeal Arbitrator. He was editor of former editions of Brice on Maritime Law of Salvage and Lowndes & Rudolf on the Law of General Average.
For those wishing to make a donation in John’s memory charities chosen are the RSCPA or alternatively Dogs Trust, as “John was fond of our four legged friends and had adopted many over the years”, Tatham & Co says.

The plan is jointly with 36 Stone to organise a memorial service, once circumstances allow, probably around the Inns of Court.  John was one of the founder members of Stone Chambers in the late nineties and will be sadly missed by his friends and colleagues. A few comments by members on hearing the news included:

“His last email to me told yet more lively tales (in his own inimitable way) about him still leading a lovely life ‘lurking about on the seabed chasing treasure’. It ended with words about causing ‘tears to roll with laughter.’”

“A wonderful man…extraordinarily clever too: properly brilliant.”

“Wonderful man and a great colleague. A wonderful tradition of courtesy, kindness and just plain fun for us all to follow, in heartfelt gratitude for his time with us in Chambers.”

Memories like this are a tribute to the man, who will be sadly missed at 4 Field Court.

David Beard
We are sorry to announce the death of Canadian lawyer David Beard, founding partner of Beard Winter, specialising in marine and transport law. David served as an associate member of the Canadian Board of Marine Underwriters and Committee Maritime International, as chairman of the Association of Average Adjusters of Canada, president of the Marine Club, chairman of the Ontario Maritime Law Association of the Canadian Bar Association, executive member of the Canadian Maritime Law Association and chairman of the Toronto Missions to Seafarers.

Further details can be found in the announcement below

MEPC webinar
The IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee’s (MEPC) meeting scheduled for 16‒20 November has been considering the package of mandatory CO2 reduction measures that will be enforced across the global fleet. The implications of the meeting are far-reaching and will affect all stakeholders in maritime shipping. DNV GL is hosting a webinar to discuss the outcome of MEPC 75. Two sessions are available on 26th November 2020.
Choose session and sign up

Racing news
Robert Hooke, Mary Ignarski’s racehorse colt is now in training with David Menuisier at Pulborough, West Sussex, UK. There are a few remaining places left in Robert Hooke’s syndicate including the option for members to buy an ownership share in the horse. For further information Mary can be contacted by email:

Security future
Petrospot and CSO Alliance are holding their virtual conference MarSec20+  – The Future of Port and Maritime Security – a two-day exploration into emerging trends, challenges and opportunities in maritime security and their impacts on the future of our sector on 8th and 9th of December. The free conference will bring together key industry leaders from commercial shipping and ports, bunkering organisations, and cyber security specialists, to address emerging trends in maritime security and create a community across the shipping and bunkering sectors which can knowledgeably and effectively uphold the future of maritime security.


Maritime sustainability
Stephenson Harwood will be holding an Introduction to maritime sustainability from a lawyer’s perspective on Thursday 26 November 2020.  Haris Zografakis, partner in Stephenson Harwood’s London office and head of the firm’s commodities practice will introduce the Sea Cargo Charter, in which he was involved as member of the drafting group, in the context of the IMO targets for the reduction of GHG emissions and the wider discussion around maritime sustainability.

Register now

Maritime tourism summit
How passenger shipping is managed in the ports and regions it connects, has never felt more relevant. From the delivery of essential goods, to the safe coordination of cruise calls, the passenger shipping industry has shown its importance to the UK economy during the Covid pandemic. In partnership with the British Ports Association, the UK Chamber of Shipping will be holding The Maritime Tourism Summit, at 10.00 (UK time) on 3 December which will seek to build on this vital contribution to the UK economy, by developing more sustainable relations between the many stakeholders

Sign up here

New ISU legal adviser
The International Salvage Union’s (ISU) long-standing legal adviser, Rob Wallis, consultant to, and former partner of international law firm, Hill Dickinson, is to retire from the position in early 2021. The Executive Committee of the ISU has selected Richard Gunn, partner of international law firm, Reed Smith, to take on the role.

Singapore feedback
Legal implications of cases are often not fed back to commercial departments. In order to resolve this issue, the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration and Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Singapore Branch will be hosting a quarterly series of Legal & Commercial Perspectives which will look at recently decided maritime-related cases and present both their commercial & legal implications.  Join them on Thursday, 26 November 2020 at 3:30pm – 5:00pm (Singapore time)

Cyber Workbook
The International Chamber of Shipping is pleased to announce publication of the second edition of the Cyber Security Workbook for On Board Ship Use, produced by BIMCO, ICS and Witherby Publishing Group. It uses detailed, step by step checklists, and also gives guidance on how best to detect, respond and recover in the event of a cyber attack.  The Guide is available to order  directly from Witherbys or your maritime bookseller today. Cost: £195. For further information please visit Witherbys.

Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings:


And finally,

Some new definitions courtesy of the Uxbridge English Dictionary and with thanks to Lawrence Black.

Acupuncture: Very deliberate tyre slashing
Adder: Tasteless boast
Alimony: Backstreet currency
Balderdash: A rapidly receding hairline
Arcane: Liverpudlian bamboo
Boa constrictor: South African truss
Buttress: A woman who keeps interrupting
Cabbage: The opinions of taxi drivers
Cannibalistic: A Geordie missile
Canteen: One who has reached the age of consent
Capsule: Better than Christmas
Caustic: Foul-mouthed parasite
Coincidental: Having matching teeth
Descant: A white collar insect
Digression: Welsh fighting talk
Disdain: Being rude to someone from Denmark
Dossier: A French tramp
Elegy: An inflammatory reaction to poetry

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