The Maritime Advocate–Issue 773


1. Sadness is not enough
2. Counterfeit and shipping
3. Enclosed space guidance
4. SAR response in a pandemic
5. New BIMCO charterparty
6. General Average hits the courts
7. CO2 emissions fall
8. Singapore cases
9. Women in SAR
10. NZ seafarers’ centres
11. Market-based measures
12. Remote PSC inspections
13.Top 100 women in shipping

Notices & Miscellany

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1. Sadness is not enough

By Michael Grey

“The crew change crisis is disappointing and sad” wrote IMC’s Group MD for Shipping Frederik Guttormsen in the latest BIMCO Bulletin. He suggested that it showed a lack of co-operative spirit and demonstrated that the industry, and the world in general, were not very good at finding global solutions to problems that no one country, or industry, could properly address.

A few hours after reading this I heard a BBC World Service news item about the plight of more than one hundred seafarers from Kiribati, who had been stuck in Hamburg in a hostel, some for more than a year. You might think that with this number all wishing to go home to the same place, it would not have been beyond the wit of any person to reunite them with their families. But the problem was not the lack of transport to this Pacific archipelago, but the fact that their home country had been Covid-free and the inhabitants wanted to keep it that way. These things are often more complicated than meets the eye.

You might suggest that throughout the past few hundred years those islands had suffered enough from unwanted imports and their caution was understandable. It is not that different from the policies of both Australia and New Zealand, two countries completely dependent upon shipping to carry their trade, but keeping ships’ crews at arms’ length. The 40,000 Australians caught abroad but who cannot get home, like the crews of the ships, are regarded as collateral damage, although they seem to have made exceptions for international sports players, which to many people seems pretty outrageous.

But it serves to underline Mr Guttormsen’s view that while we universally suffer from the pandemic, the strategies employed to deal with it are anything but global. There have been plenty of good intentions expressed by nation states and institutions alike, but when it comes to translating them into practical solutions to the crew change problem, there are very few places where innovative “Singapore” – type strategies are being followed. We are told that everyone is working “tirelessly” behind the scenes to devise solutions, but month succeeds month and there are still no answers as to how internationally travelling seafarers can be vaccinated, or why they still have to jump through huge hoops to get home, or re-join a ship.

It is crises such as Covid-19 that emphasises the fact that the shipping industry remains hugely fragmented, although if nations cannot work more co-operatively, it is a bit much expecting co-ordination from shipping. But there is a failure of governments in general to grasp the seriousness of the situation. The ships still come and go; the goods are delivered and shipped, so what is the problem?
Would it be so desperately difficult to identify strategically placed crew-change hubs upon which ship operators could depend? What prevents a degree of inter-company co-operation, that could, for instance, see them getting together and chartering ferries or small cruise ships (there are still some which haven’t been scrapped) to serve as mobile quarantine hotels and transport between hubs and ports where crews could congregate.

Couldn’t owners and managers, along with charterers, be able to put together such crew delivery systems, and encourage states and ports to co-operate in something so worthwhile? And why would it not be possible, even allowing for the predictable screams of shippers, to finance such schemes with a small surcharge on freight? It would surely be better than remaining disappointed and sad, among all the good intentions.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

2. Counterfeit and shipping

More than half of the total value of counterfeit goods seized around the world are shipped by sea, according to a new OECD-EUIPO report.

Misuse of Containerized Maritime Shipping In the Global Trade of Counterfeits says that seaborne transport accounts for more than 80% of the volume of merchandise traded between countries, and more than 70% of the total value of trade.

Containerships carried 56% of the total value of seized counterfeits in 2016. The People’s Republic of China was the largest provenance economy for container shipments, making up 79% of the total value of maritime containers containing fakes and seized worldwide. India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are also among the top provenance economies for counterfeit and pirated goods traded worldwide.

Between 2014 and 2016, 82% of the seized value of counterfeit perfumes and cosmetics by customs authorities worldwide, 81% of the value of fake footwear and 73% of the value of customs seizures of fake foodstuff and toys and games concerned sea shipments. Additional analysis showed that over half of containers transported in 2016 by ships from economies known to be major sources of counterfeits entered the European Union through Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. There are also some EU countries, such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Romania, with relatively low volumes of containers trade in general, but with a high level of imports from counterfeiting-intense economies.

To combat illicit trade, a number of risk-assessment and targeting methods have been adapted for containerised shipping, in particular to enforce against illicit trade in narcotics and hazardous and prohibited goods. But the analysis reveals that the illicit trade in counterfeits has not been a high priority for enforcement, as shipments of counterfeits are commonly perceived as “commercial trade infractions” rather than criminal activity. Consequently, existing enforcement efforts may not be adequately tailored to respond to this risk, according to the report.  Tailored and flexible governance solutions are required to strengthen risk-assessment and targeting methods against counterfeits.

As well as infringing trademarks and copyright, counterfeit and pirated goods entail health and safety risks, product malfunctions and loss of income for companies and governments. Earlier OECD-EUIPO work has shown that imports of counterfeit and pirated goods amounted to up to USD 509 billion in 2016, or around 3.3% of global trade.

3. Enclosed space guidance

Enclosed spaces and the dangers they represent is a topic about which never enough can be written with the aim of keeping people safe. Your editor’s first, and never forgotten, experience of the dangers came at the age of (approximately) five when a neighbour employed by one of the (then) very well-known names in UK shipping was involved in an accident involving potentially lethal gas from a cargo of bananas.

P&I Club Gard has recently produced some practical tips to avoid potentially lethal incidents. The advice is to be found at:

4. SAR response in a pandemic

The International Maritime Rescue Federation, supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, has launched comprehensive guidance for anyone working in search and rescue, on how to ensure that SAR operations can continue safely in the face of challenges posed not only by Covid-19, but also by any future health emergencies.

The Pandemic Response Guidance will support SAR providers in improving their level of preparedness for any forthcoming pandemics and enhances initial materials produced by IMRF members in early 2020, in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance has been peer reviewed by IMRF members around the world and is free to download from the IMRF website

The IMRF will be organising a Pandemic Response Guidance session at its forthcoming conference (International Mass Rescue Conference (G5) 17-19 October 2021, Sweden) and the document will be reviewed in three years to incorporate further learnings and any new developments.

5. New BIMCO charterparty

ASVTIME, the new time charter party for accommodation support vessels, was recently adopted by BIMCO’s Documentary Committee and is now available for use in SmartCon.
Specifically developed for offshore oil and gas and renewables, ASVTIME combines traditional services such as accommodation and catering with tailormade provisions dealing with optional equipment such as gangway, cranes and daughter craft, and parallel operations.

“The offshore industry is becoming increasingly specialised. With the introduction of ASVTIME, we now have a standard for accommodation support vessels which can be used in all segments of the offshore industry, whether in oil and gas or renewables,” says Anders Helsinghoff  Fjord, chief executive Denmark at Hagland Shipbrokers, who was part of the drafting team.

 The latest editions of TOWCON, TOWHIRE and BARGEHIRE are also now available on SmartCon. It has been more than a decade since BIMCO’s TOWCON and TOWHIRE for ocean towage services and BARGEHIRE for bareboat chartering unmanned barges were last revised. The drafting teams tasked with the revisions have updated the forms to incorporate common amendments and additions while maintaining the familiarity of the contracts within a simple and robust framework. The latest editions are TOWCON 2021, TOWHIRE 2021 and BARGEHIRE 2021.

New features of TOWCON include a provision for mid-voyage bunkering on longer tows, and a mechanism for calculating compensation due to slow steaming or deviation. The revised BARGEHIRE introduces much clearer wording dealing with off-hire surveys, repairs and redelivery – which has often been a source of dispute in the past.

6. General Average hits the courts

The English High Court has recently considered the relevance of charterparty war risks insurance provisions to bill of lading holders’ liability in General Average.

HFW, who acted for the appellant, brings to readers’ attention the case Herculito Maritime Ltd and Others v Gunvor International BV and Others (the “POLAR”) [2020] EWHC 3318 (Comm).
The English High Court recently confirmed that bill of lading (B/L) holders were liable in general average (GA) despite terms in the charterparty allocating responsibility to the charterer to pay additional premiums for war risks and kidnap and ransom insurance. Cargo interests had argued that these terms were incorporated into the B/Ls and amounted to an agreement that owners would not claim from B/L holders if losses covered by those additional insurances arose, HFW writes in an online article.

The  Polar was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2010 and released some ten months later upon payment of a ransom. The shipowners declared GA, but cargo interests refused to pay their contribution. Cargo interests argued that the charterparty provisions requiring charterers to pay additional premiums for war risks and kidnap and ransom insurance for Gulf of Aden transits amounted to an agreement that owners would not claim against charterers for losses covered by those insurances. Cargo interests maintained that this agreement was incorporated into the B/Ls and that, as B/L holders, they could rely on it, thereby avoiding liability for GA contributions.

The High Court rejected that argument. Although the judge found that such an agreement did exist between owners and charterers and was incorporated into the B/L, he held that it was not appropriate to manipulate the word “charterers” to read “B/L holders” for the purposes of the bills. The judge noted that B/L holders were not responsible for paying the additional premiums in question, so they would not be paying the premiums on the one hand while also facing liability to owners in respect of the additional insured risks on the other. Therefore, there was no agreement by owners not to claim from B/L holders and the owners’ claim could proceed.

The judgment is consistent with market practice and how claims are administered in a war risks context. Cargo interests routinely insure their own liability in GA in any event. Of course, in any particular case, the rights and obligations of the parties to the B/Ls will depend on their terms.
HFW represented the successful appellant owners and their insurers. Cargo interests are appealing this judgment. Read more here.

7. CO2 emissions fall

Global shipping CO2 emissions decreased 1% last year as the coronavirus pandemic curtailed 2020 shipping activity, according to maritime data provider Marine Benchmark.
CO2 emissions among the ‘Big-3’ – tankers, bulkers and containers – actually increased 1.2%, with a 2.4% decline in container emissions offset by growth in the bulker and tanker sectors. However, the smaller sectors reversed this growth, with cruise ship emissions experiencing the greatest contraction – down 45% – and with steep declines in ferries, roro’s and vehicles carriers consistent with the weak demand.
Torbjorn Rydbergh, Marine Benchmark’s chief executive, noted that: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a varied effect on shipping, with tankers and bulkers generally performing well, while other sectors faced headwinds as consumer demand plummeted. Whilst the overall result is a decrease in carbon emissions for last year, the effect may be temporary as the current recovery in global economic demand points to stronger 2021 shipping activity.”

8. RightShip partners with SSI

RightShip has announced a new partnership with the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) after a long-standing relationship. To formalise the partnership, RightShip made a charitable donation to its ‘Delivering on Seafarers’ Rights’ project, part of a working group focused on the human side of shipping.

The project aims to enhance the support available for seafarers who are unable to access basic workers’ rights, particularly highlighted during the 2020/2021 crew change crisis that has occurred as a result of Covid-19.

The project, co-led by SSI and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), has been designed to create a clear human rights code of conduct for the industry and due diligence guidance to strategically remove the systemic issues that presently generate welfare concerns for seafarers.

The need for such a code of conduct has been obvious for some time, but more than 300,000 seafarers stranded on vessels, working beyond contracts and being exposed to repatriation failures makes the demand for change immediate.

Increasingly, there is additional pressure to improve supply chain standards for workers, with calls from investors, associations, governments and consumers to put an end to human rights violations.

For more information about RightShip’s partnership with SSI please contact

9.   Women in SAR

To mark International Women’s Day, the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has revealed the results of the first survey to examine the representation of women across the maritime search and rescue (SAR) sector.

The #WomenInSAR survey, which was supported by Trinity House, attracted more than 1600 participants from women and men in 48 different countries.  The research sought to explore the challenges and barriers faced by women in maritime SAR, along with their personal aims, any experiences of discrimination, and factors affecting recruitment and retention.

Theresa Crossley, chief executive, IMRF said: “The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘choose to challenge’. It’s remarkably appropriate, as most of the women and men who completed the survey felt that one of the biggest barriers to more women entering maritime SAR, was the perception that it’s a man’s world.
“Male dominance remains a fact in the maritime sector in general and maritime SAR is no different.  This can have an indirect discriminatory effect, for example in terms of the facilities and equipment provided.  Many of the respondents said that ‘you need to see it to be it’ –  there are still not enough women in senior roles, or not enough pictures of women in SAR recruitment, training and promotional materials – perpetuating the myth that SAR is just for men.  As one respondent said: ‘We don’t need men or women – we just need crew.’”

Captain Ian McNaught, Deputy Master of Trinity House added: “Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers and we have been providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community for more than 500 years. Women and men working in maritime search and rescue save the lives of those in trouble at sea, providing a vital service. In today’s world, it is only right that women should be equally represented across all roles and we are proud to support this initiative.”

For the majority of women who responded to the survey, the reasons for becoming involved in SAR were generally the same as for male respondents and a significant majority of women questioned did not report any experience of direct gender discrimination.  However, a significant minority of women respondents reported that issues related to both direct, or indirect, gender discrimination were among the most challenging aspects of their SAR work. Quite a few women still felt the need to outperform men to be taken seriously.

The IMRF is now planning a #WomenInSAR STEM event to highlight the opportunities open to women, showcasing international female trailblazers and intends to introduce a mentoring scheme for women in SAR.  The organisation is also calling for nominations to be submitted for the IMRF Awards, specifically the #WomenInSAR Award which is presented to someone who has made a major contribution to improving opportunities for women in the sector.

The report  is free to download from the IMRF website:

10. NZ seafarers’ centres

Human Rights at Sea is pleased to report that the Labour-led New Zealand Government has publicly announced it will fulfil its manifesto pledge and commitment to improve seafarer welfare through funding from the maritime levies triggered by lobbying from the Seafarers Welfare Board and the March 2020 report from HRAS ‘Under funding of Seafarer’ Welfare Services and Poor MLC Compliance’.

The Labour Manifesto 2020 highlighted  that: “Labour will ensure that Seafarer Welfare Centres provide services to the level required by the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 by amending the Maritime Transport Act 1994 to enable the maritime levy to fund the services required for seafarers’ well-being”. This followed the earlier issuing of an accompanying Labour – Workplace Relations fact sheet specifically covering the issue.

A report by Human Rights at Sea found that seafarers’shore-based welfare facilities and services are inadequate and at Akaroa there is no seafarers’ centre at all. Under the Maritime Labour Convention New Zealand has an obligation to provide for crews who come ashore in New Zealand but this is currently funded largely through charitable sources which isn’t sufficient to provide adequate facilities. Labour will ensure that Seafarer Welfare Centres provide services to the level required by the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 by introducing an industry levy for seafarers’ wellbeing.

Transport Minister and Deputy Leader of the House Michael Wood made the latest announcement on 9 March. “The Maritime Transport Act will be amended through the Regulatory Systems (Transport) Amendment Bill to allow maritime levies to be used to provide support services coordinated by the Seafarers Welfare Board.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said Covid-19 has impacted massively on international shipping lines and this has meant seafarers need support. “Border and health restrictions often mean crews are out at sea for months on end with limited ability to contact their families.

“The Seafarers Welfare Board provides support and services to seafarers who are vital to maintaining New Zealand’s global trade lines. For example, they ensured wifi units were made available for ships calling at New Zealand ports, providing a connection to 794 ships. This gives seafarers the chance to connect with their families after months at sea and Board staff communicating with them provides an avenue to raise concerns and complaints.

“The Seafarers Welfare Board currently relies on donations to coordinate facilities at our ten main ports. By giving them long-term funding certainty, we will meet our international commitments and ensure that services to support seafarers’ wellbeing continue to be provided,” Michael Wood said.
The Government is providing interim funding through the Essential Transport Connectivity Scheme for services coordinated by the Board in 2020/21. The Regulatory Systems (Transport) Amendment Bill will be passed before mid-year.

A new podcast is available about HRAS and its development and work by BPP Law School:

11.  Market-based measures

BIMCO would like to encourage states and the industry to start a dialogue on how to create a global ruleset for market-based measures (MBM) to support the use of low carbon fuels and to create a level playing field for the industry.

“One way we can make the current low emission technologies competitive with traditional fuels is through some form of market-based measure. We need a mechanism that equalizes the cost between using low carbon fuels and traditional fossil fuels,” says BIMCO president Sadan Kaptanoglu.
The association stresses that market-based measures for shipping should be governed by global rules, as it is critical that the industry is not required to pay for its carbon emissions multiple times. This is relevant if market-based measures are being implemented regionally as, for example,  has been announced by the European Commission.

A market-based measure can be described as a rule or legal framework that encourages a desired behaviour through financial incentives. In this case, the shipping industry should be encouraged to use low carbon or zero carbon fuels to limit CO2 emissions. But as long as using traditional fuels is dramatically cheaper, it will discourage the up-take of low carbon fuels and put the first moving companies at a significant competitive disadvantage.

“Equalizing the cost can also spur on innovation, because the potential market grows, and speed up the installation of the required infrastructure,” Kaptanoglu says.

 The International Maritime Organization is a good platform for the debate on a ruleset, according to Kaptanoglu, but it is critical that the debate begins now, in order for the industry to make the transition in time to reach our CO2 reduction targets.

The 75th session of International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 75) has in November 2020 adopted amendments to MARPOL Annex VI, introducing a method for fuel oil sampling from ships’ fuel oil tanks to verify the sulphur content. The new amendments will enter into force on 1 April 2022.

BIMCO highlights that as a result of the introduced method, shipowners and the officers on board ships should be prepared to handle potential requests from Port State Control to sample from the ships’ bunker tanks and not only from the fuel oil line between the service tank and auxiliary engine(s). IMO has in addition released new guidelines for on board sampling of fuel oil intended to be used or carried for use on board a ship.

BIMCO members can read more about statutory fuel sampling here and download the new guidelines for on board sampling.

12. Remote PSC inspections

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on Tokyo MOU activities in various aspects, including a notable decrease of the number of inspections due to restrictions of ship-shore interaction. Recognizing the necessity and importance of maintaining PSC activities under the pandemic circumstance, the Port State Control Committee of the Tokyo MOU at its 31st meeting (virtual) decided to launch remote PSC inspections as a practical alternative in the interim, where and when a normal physical PSC inspection not feasible.

Although a remote PSC inspection may not be as fully effective as a physical PSC inspection, it would be the preferred option which could minimize the risk for both PSCOs and crew onboard. In this context, guidance on remote PSC inspection has been developed and adopted in order to facilitate member authorities and PSCOs to carry out remote PSC inspections in an effective and harmonized manner.

Remote PSC inspection schemes will be implemented in accordance with the following guiding principles and procedures, the Tokyo MOU says. Selection of a ship for a remote PSC inspection is at the discretion of the port state authority in accordance with the existing inspection regime but not decided on the basis of a request from the ship’s side. It would not be mandated for a ship to receive a remote PSC inspection.

A remote PSC inspection would be carried out upon mutual agreement between the port state authority and the ship. Remote PSC inspections would be applied only for initial inspection in principle. However, it does not preclude that a port state authority may conduct more detailed inspection and/or order detention during the remote PSC inspection in accordance with their national legislation, the technical capabilities of the ship and the port concerned and other relevant circumstances. A ship would not be subject to a repeated/consecutive remote PSC inspection generally. Record/report of remote PSC inspection would be distinguished from reports of normal physical inspection in the APCIS database. Remote PSC inspection will be launched as from 1 April 2021.

13. Top 100 women in shipping

Irene Rosberg, of Copenhagen Business School, Denmark and President of WISTA Denmark heads the list of All About Shipping’s Top 100 Women in Shipping rankings for 2020.
Readers will recognise many of the names mentioned.

If you haven’t seen the full rankings here is the link:


Notices & Miscellany

UK Club joins MACN
The UK P&I Club, a leading provider of P&I insurance and other services to the international shipping community, has announced it has joined the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN).

The MACN is a global business network which aims to free the maritime industry of corruption, enabling fair trade to benefit society as a whole. Established in 2011, the MACN has grown to include over 140 companies worldwide in order to take collective action to tackle all forms of corruption.

Eternal Bliss
The London Shipping Law Centre will be holding a seminar on March 17th on the Eternal Bliss case. On the agenda for discussion is exactly what will count as a separate type of loss which could be recovered in addition to demurrage?
If voyage charterers can be liable for damages in addition to demurrage, will they (as FOB buyers and CIF sellers) be able to pass this liability on to their sellers at the loadport or their buyers at the discharge port? See the LSSC website for full details.

Lord Teverson joins Human Rights at Sea
Human Rights at Sea has announced the appointment of Lord Robin Teverson as Patron to the charity.   Lord Teverson was created a life peer as Baron Teverson, of Tregony in Cornwall. He is a Liberal Democrat politician, and a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

Containership fires
TT Club is holding a joint webinar with UK P&I Club on containership fires on March 17th at 8.30am London time. 
Having explored the specific issues related to cargo loaded on board such as mis- and non-declaration, and on-ship firefighting capabilities in sessions one and two respectively, this final session will look at the aftermath of a containership fire with regards investigation and litigation.

Shipowners appointments
Shipowners Claims Bureau Inc. (SCB), Managers of the American Club, has announced  new appointments in its Piraeus office. Andrew Dyer, currently a partner in the Greek office of Hill Dickinson, will join SCB’s Piraeus office in early April as corporate Vice President. In another new appointment in Piraeus, Niki Tiga takes on the role of Club Correspondents‘ Manager.
Digital transformation
The transition towards digitalization is speeding up in the maritime industry. Increased competitiveness, enhanced operational efficiency and improved safety are the goals. The industry quest for zero-emission shipping also triggers further opportunities for digitalization. DNVGL will be holding a webinar on March 18th to discuss the issues.

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And finally,

With thanks to Lawrence Black

The CIA had an opening for an assassin.

After all of the background checks, interviews, and testing were done there were three finalists – two men and one woman.

For the final test, the CIA agents took one of the men to a large metal door and handed him a gun.

“We must know that you will follow your instructions, no matter what the circumstances. Inside this room you will find your wife sitting in a chair. You have to kill her.”

The first man said. “You can’t be serious. I could never shoot my wife.” The agent replies, “Then you’re not the right man for this job.”

The second man was given the same instructions. He took the gun and went into the room. All was quiet for about five minutes. Then he came out with tears in his eyes.

“I tried, but I can’t kill my wife.” The agent replies, “You don’t have what it takes. Take your wife and go home.”

Finally, it was the woman’s turn. She was told to kill her husband. She took the gun and went into the room.

Shots were heard, one shot after another.

They heard screaming, crashing, banging on the walls.

After a few minutes, all was quiet.

The door opened slowly and there stood the woman. Her clothes were torn, and her face was scratched.
She wiped the sweat from her brow and said, “You B******S didn’t tell me the gun was loaded with blanks! So I had to beat him to death with the chair!”


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