1. Go on, stop on
2. GISIS on crew change
3. Trading legend
4. Ballast water confusion
5. Port data clause
6. Korean Register CSR changes
7. Decarbonisation in Singapore
8. BMA Covid survey
9. Ammonia safety research
10. Covid testing
11. Witness statements
12. Titanic anniversary
13. Piracy hotspot
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1. Go on, stop on
By Michael Grey
There could, I was reading the other day, be something of a societal change taking place as we emerge from Covid, to a kinder, greener and more inclusive world. This was evidenced by several of the most prominent finance houses and management consultants suggesting they would move away from their more inhuman practices such as making junior members of staff work long and antisocial hour.
Responding to objections from post-millennials, who would like some time off on their career path en-route to ludicrous rewards, it has been suggested that they might get the odd weekend to themselves. The Scots have been toying with the notion of a four-day week, although that might have something to do with an upcoming election.
Forecasts of societal change are perilous and natural sceptics will suggest that once we get back to something approaching normality, old habits will re-assert themselves. But it would be nice if the outbreak of universal kindness over the world of work could be exported to the maritime world, where there are few signs of it, thus far. True, there are all sorts of supportive messages about the need to consider the mental health of seafarers, just as long as its cost doesn’t appear on the ship owner’s balance sheet. My old secretary, who was fond of killer put-downs, might have suggested that such are “all mouth and no trousers”.
But there is no evidence whatever that the frequently voiced complaints about exhaustion, fatigue and the dubious compliance with MLC rules, are producing any changes. Both the recent World Maritime University and Cardiff University studies on compliance with regulations on work and rest hours ought to have rung warning bells about an industry operating on the edge of legality. These reports, along with the effects of the pandemic, seem to have stimulated a certain amount of debate among seagoing professionals, mostly in the form of correspondence to their various organisations.
One rather shocking letter published in the Nautical Institute’s Seaways magazine tells of a tanker officer who suffered a heart attack after working 84 hours without a break. The same correspondent writes that on every ship he had served on, “hours of work were regularly exceeded due to the demands of compliance with other safety and operational matters”. Another, in the same issue, notes that none of his older colleagues seem to be surviving into old age following a working life of disrupted circadian rhythms and fatigue taken for granted. The old jokes about ship’s officers being woken up by officials checking up on the hours of rest really aren’t funny anymore.
It is obvious that firstly, there are not sufficient people aboard most ships to deal with the work that needs to be done, that the operational and bureaucratic burden on a few senior officers has become unbearable and that the pace of modern ship operations has become ridiculous. And none of this is going to be remotely improved by clever apps on smartphones or even software that will keep ships’ officers’ noses stuck in front of their screens inputting garbage that somebody demands ashore. Sure, we might get all the machinery wired up to transmit data to the engine manufacturer and wonderful “digitisation” that is said to be the cat’s pyjamas. Will any of this reduce the incessant demands upon a few exhausted people aboard ship? There needs to be a realistic assessment of the work that needs to be done, and the people available to do it, with proper leeway for illness, emergencies and the frequent untoward demands. There also needs to be a more rigorous application of the rules – the airlines would be an excellent example to follow, where there is no elasticity whatever. Or we could just slow down to a reasonable pace – we are not fighting a war here, but maintaining world trade and that shouldn’t be at the expense of anyone’s health. That’s what society seems to be saying, but will shipping shut its collective ears?
Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.
2. GISIS on crew change
BIMCO has highlighted the International Maritime Organization’s creation of a new module on the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS) for crew change and repatriation of seafarers, discontinuing the issue of the MSC.7/circ.1 series.
The IMO has been issuing MSC.1/circ.1 in a series of revisions each time a new IMO member state informs the IMO of their national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers. BIMCO has been posting the updates in its COVID-19 implementation measures section.
Via their circular letter no. 4398 dated 8th April, the IMO announced that a new module on Crew Change and Repatriation of Seafarers is now available on the Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS). This is where member states will enter the information, as done previously by the circular letter series, directly into this new module, allowing for notification and dissemination of information on the national focal point of contact for crew change and repatriation of seafarers. The MSC.7/circ.1 series will be discontinued as the information will now be transferred to the new module.
Guidance on the use of this new module and how to access it, is set out in the above-mentioned circular letter no. 4398, item 4 of Annex I.
Users need to set up a free account in GISIS in order to access the above as well as other resources available to public users.
3. Trading legend
Those interested in the major trading players in the Far East should take a look at an article written by Tokyo-based author and journalist Eiichiro Tokumoto on the story of how a small ship, the schooner Troas, changed the course of history when Scottish merchant William Keswick set out for Yokohama in 1859. The voyage was to be the start of a relationship with Japan by Jardine Matheson.
The story, which appeared in the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan’s magazine Acumen is an excerpt of an article originally published in Japan’s weekly Shincho magazine (12th and 19th November 2020.).
The BCCJ translation can be viewed at https://bccjacumen.com/whats-past-prologue-2/
4. Ballast water confusion
Conflicting interpretation of the records in the ballast water record book (BWRB) by external parties means ships’ crews are faced with a dilemma when filling out the information in the BWRB, BIMCO has warned. In response to this, the association has co-sponsored a paper for the upcoming 76th Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting (MEPC 76) with the aim to improve the existing IMO guidance on the topic.
Currently, ships’ crews are being presented with conflicting interpretations of the various entries in the ballast water record book (BWRB) by administrations, class societies, port state control authorities and third-party auditors, BIMCO says.
In comparison, the oil record book under The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) follows a strict coding system, making it less prone to different interpretations. As the BWRB does not have such a coding system, conflicting interpretations are often encountered for items such as:
• Ballast water exchange; which entry and which method?
• The exact meaning of the term “circulated” and “treated”.
• Recording of ballast water treated during ballasting and de-ballasting.
• Should entries be made tank-by-tank?
The ballast water management convention is still in a so-called experience building phase, which allows member states and ships to gather experience on the implementation, analyse the gathered experience and, if required, review and amend the convention.
At the upcoming MEPC 76 on 10 June 2021, the plan is to move from the experience gathering to the analysis stage. The submitted paper is based on gathered experience by the industry and will be used to analyse and review the BWM Convention, especially, Appendix II – Form of the Ballast water record book.
MEPC 76/4/2 – Review of ballast water record book 0.4 MB Download now
MEPC 76/INF.20 – Commentary on the entries of ballast water record book 1.8 MB Download now
5. Port data clause
BIMCO has published a charterparty clause promoting the use of the IMO’s data model framework. The publication is an extension of BIMCO’s strategic objective to encourage greater efficiency and harmonisation in the ship-shore interface.
At present there is no single global format for exchanging information between ships and ports/terminals such as arrival and departure times. A common platform where all the key stakeholders such as port authorities, pilots, agents and terminal operators can share information using a common format on ship arrivals and departures will help improve berth utilisation and port call optimisation.
The BIMCO Port Call Data Exchange Clause 2021 complements the recently published BIMCO Just in Time Arrivals Clause. The two clauses should be used together. However, where Just in Time Arrivals cannot be implemented for commercial reasons, the Port Call Data Exchange Clause can still be used if the relevant port is using the IMO data model framework.
6. Korean Register CSR changes
The Korean Register (KR) has released the latest version of its structural analysis software SeaTrust-HullScan, updated to include the new Common Structural Rules (CSR).
The new CSR are the result of collaboration between many International Association of Classification Societies technical experts and have been enforced for bulk carriers of 90m or more and crude oil carriers of 150m or more, built on or after July 1, 2015. IACS recently announced the revision of the CSR reflecting many changes to the previous rules, including to the method of buckling analysis.
Buckling is a phenomenon in which a structure rapidly displaces and collapses against a compressive load (a load pressed from the outside of a structure). Even a compressive load below the yield stress of the structure (maximum stress that can be sustained when the structure is pulled) can cause permanent displacement or damage to the hull structure. As a result, sufficient buckling strength has to be considered during a hull structure’s design stage.
The new IACS CSR include a completely revised method for buckling analysis which will ensure greater accuracy in evaluating buckling strength when it comes into effect on 1 July 2021
7. Decarbonisation in Singapore
Foundation Det Norske Veritas – which owns DNV Group – has teamed up with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and five other industry leaders to establish a maritime decarbonisation centre in Singapore.
The centre’s stated mission is to catalyse and facilitate decarbonisation in the maritime sector and will be supported by contributions from the founding members totalling S$120 million. Its creation follows the release of a recommendation by the International Advisory Panel (IAP) – a Singapore Maritime Foundation initiative – on maritime decarbonisation to set up a decarbonisation centre in Singapore.
Foundation Det Norske Veritas has committed S$10 million – a figure matched by partners BW Group, Eastern Pacific Shipping, Ocean Network Express, Sembcorp Marine, and BHP with the MPA adding S$60 million to the contributions.
Spanning a five-year period, Foundation Det Norske Veritas’s contribution will support research and technology development projects in the areas of greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and collaborations with higher education institutes and research bodies.
8. BMA Covid survey
The Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) has announced a new survey, the Seafarer COVID-19 Welfare Survey, designed to capture and reflect the mental health needs of seafarers around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. This initiative, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health, includes a short, online survey open to all seafarers.
Over the course of the last 12 months, the BMA has been assisting seafarers around the world and has observed through countless industry experiences, discussions and webinars that the pandemic has affected every seafarer in a different way – some positively. However in most cases the emotional, physical and mental strain is ever-present, for now and perhaps well into the future.
The aim of the survey is to collect accurate information from front-line seafarers (who will remain anonymous throughout), specifically focusing on their mental health needs before and during the pandemic. The data collected will be analysed and used to understand the challenges seafarers have experienced in order to develop effective solutions that raise awareness and guide international efforts to improve the livelihoods of those who choose to serve at sea.
9. Ammonia safety research
The Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller
Ammonia as a fuel is heavily debated as a suitable long-term solution for maritime as the industry transitions towards a zero- or low carbon value chain. Green ammonia can be produced from renewable power by electrolysis of H2O, ultimately making it a zero-carbon fuel. However, due to the extreme toxicity of the fuel, it is critical to address the safety issues of ammonia in order to mitigate risks to people, assets and the environment.
The overarching purpose of the project is to understand and guide the safe use of ammonia as a fuel on board ships. Part of this will include developing a mature and detailed understanding of risk and safety concerns, which will be assessed through a Quantitative Risk Assessment methodology in phase one of the project. This will ultimately lead to the development of best practices for safeguards in design and arrangements when using ammonia as a shipping fuel.
The project will also determine the risk of fatality from unintended releases of ammonia, as well as determine the risk contribution of key equipment and spaces dedicated to ammonia storage. To illustrate the potential for risk mitigation measures, the project partners will assess alternate vessel designs, optimised to be fuelled by ammonia.
Funded by the participating partners, the project will be managed by the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping and is expected to run throughout 2021.
10. Covid testing
The International Transport Intermediaries Club has highlighted the importance of thoroughly checking the results of crew Covid-19 tests in a recent case handled by the insurer.
The case involved a ship manager arranging a crew change in Manila. The change was undertaken by the manager’s appointed port agent and all relevant Covid-19 protocols were followed. With the new crew on board, the vessel resumed its voyage and sent its port entry and free pratique documentation to the discharge port. However, both the agent and the local authorities at the discharge port discovered in the documentation that one of the crew who signed on at Manila had tested positive for Covid-19. Unfortunately, the positive test result has been missed by the ship manager, the port agent at Manila, the health immigration authorities and the vessel’s master.
As a result, the vessel was ordered to return to Manila to test the entire crew and make replacements as necessary. Additionally, the ship had to be disinfected. The delays totalled six days in Manila plus five additional steaming days.
The vessel owners put in a claim to the ship managers for around US$ 350,000. However, through negotiation, the claim was eventually settled at US$ 175,000 as a number of parties had failed to spot the positive test, including the owners themselves, not just the ship manager.
ITIC reimbursed the ship manager but encourages all parties to remain vigilant and to check documentation thoroughly. Covid-19 testing is likely to be a feature of seafaring life for some time to come, and a simple oversight such as this can result in costly delays to the vessel and its cargo as well as causing unwelcome disruption for the crew.
11. Witness statements – a new approach
By Jason Charalambous
From 6 April 2021 a new regime will be in force for the preparation of witness statements for trial in the Business and Property Court under Practice Direction 57AC.
The changes follow considerable disapproval of witness statements by the Courts, with the recurring criticism that statements are “over-lawyered” – straying into legal arguments rather than reflecting the language of witnesses. The new rules seek to clarify the requirements and ensure uniformity in approach.
So where does PD57AC apply? The new rules apply to witness statements for use at trials in the Business and Property Courts signed on or after 6 April 2021 – irrespective of when the claim was issued. A trial is defined as a final hearing, whether of all issues or of only one or some particular issue(s). The new rules do not apply to affidavits or witness statements for interlocutory applications.
What are the new rules?
– The purpose and proper content of the statement and proper practice in relation to its preparation must be explained to the witness prior to sending a draft statement and prior to interview where possible.
– Legal representatives must also ensure that the witness has read, or been read, the Confirmation of Compliance statement.
– Legal representatives should conduct an interview (in person or virtually) with the witness to take contemporaneous, full and accurate notes of the evidence to be contained in the statement.
– The interview should avoid leading questions, especially in respect of important and contentious matters in dispute.
– The draft statement should not go beyond the record or notes taken in the interview(s). Further information should be gathered using open questions in a further interview if needed.
– The witness can only give evidence of facts which need to be proved at trial.
– The witness can only include evidence within their personal knowledge that are relevant to the case.
– The statement should be concise.
– The statement should not quote what is stated in documents, should not speculate and should not put forward argument.
– The witness should state whether they remember the events referred to and to what extent, and whether their memory has been aided by reference to documents, and any such documents should be listed but not exhibited (unless where they have not been already disclosed).
– The list should describe the documents in a way that they can be easily located at trial. Privileged documents can be identified by category or by general description.
– A witness should only be shown documents that they would have seen at the time.
Statement of Truth
A trial witness statement must now be verified in the following form:
I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of Court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.
I have read (or if applicable have had read to me), and understand paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Practice Direction 57AC and paragraph 1.3, 2.2 to 2.6 and 3.2 to 3.7 of the appendix to that practice direction, in relation to the purpose and proper content of trial witness statements and proper practice in relation to their preparation.
Confirmation of Compliance
The witness statement must also contain a signed confirmation from the witness in the following form:
I understand that the purpose of this witness statement is to set out matters of fact of which I have personal knowledge.
I understand that it is not my function to argue the case, either generally or on particular points, or to take the court through the documents in the case.
This witness statement sets out only my personal knowledge and recollection, in my own words.
On points that I understand to be important in the case, I have stated honestly (a) how well I recall matters and (b) whether my memory has been refreshed by considering documents, if so how and when.
I have not been asked or encouraged by anyone to include in this statement anything that is not my own account, to the best of my ability and recollection, of events I witnessed or matters of which I have personal knowledge.
The legal representative must also sign a certificate of compliance in the following form:
I hereby certify that:
1. I am the relevant legal representative within the meaning of Practice Direction 57AC.
2. I am satisfied that the purpose and proper content of trial witness statements, and proper practice in relation to their preparation, including the witness confirmation required by paragraph 4.1 of Practice Direction 57AC, have been discussed with and explained to [name of witness].
3. I believe this trial witness statement complies with Practice Direction 57AC and paragraphs 18.1 and 18.2 of Practice Direction 32, and that it has been prepared in accordance with the Statement of Best Practice contained in the Appendix to Practice Direction 57AC.
So what if you don’t comply with the new rules? Beyond the Court’s full powers of case management and sanctions, the new rules set out specific sanctions which can be imposed if a party fails to comply (of the Court’s own motion or on an application by another party to the proceedings), including:
• Refusing or withdrawing of permission to rely on some or all of the evidence;
• Ordering that the statement be re-drafted so as to comply with the new rules;
• Striking out of part or all of the statement;
• Making an adverse costs order; and / or
• Ordering a witness to give some or all, of their evidence-in-chief orally.
Jason Charalambous is a solicitor with law firm E.G. Arghyrakis & Co.
12. Titanic anniversary
In his excellent on-line newsletter Dennis Bryant brings to our attention the anniversary of the Titanic striking the iceberg on 14 April 1912 as well as a warning from the past.
As he points out although things have improved in the years since the disaster, in which 1,514 people lost their lives, with more lifeboat capacity, radios for instant communication and technology on board to warn of dangers. That said, collisions, groundings and the like continue to occur, even in good weather conditions.
In other words, he says, “as happened a century ago, negligence, complacency, and hubris continue to override all the preventative and remedial measures available. I do not mean to single out the officer in charge of the navigation watch. The master, the operator, and the owners are also deeply involved. The system puts pressure on the people on the ship to run at excessive speed, to cut corners, to sail close to shore, to operate with minimal watchstanders, to continue working when severely fatigued, and to engage in other practices that unreasonably increase risk.
Most of the time, these practices do not result in casualties, but when they do, everyone takes cover and blames someone else – most frequently the person on the scene. It is incumbent on owners and operators to not only talk the talk, but also to walk the walk. Encourage masters and officers to be cautious and back them up when they are. Spend the additional monies necessary to do the right thing. Otherwise, we will have learned nothing meaningful from the sinking of the Titanic!”
13. Piracy hotspot
The Gulf of Guinea accounted for nearly half of all reported piracy incidents in the first three months of 2021, according to the latest figures from the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
IMB’s latest global piracy report records 38 incidents since the start of 2021 – compared with 47 incidents during the same period last year. In the first three months of 2021, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) reported 33 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks, two vessels fired upon, and one vessel hijacked.
Despite a drop in the number of reported piracy incidents for Q1 2021, violence against crew is on the rise in comparison to previous years. Since the start of 2021, 40 crew have been kidnapped compared to 22 crew in Q1 2020. A crew member was also killed in Q1 2021.
The Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous for seafarers with 43% of all reported piracy incidents occurring in the region. In addition, the region accounted for all 40 kidnapped crew incidents, as well as the sole crew fatality, according to IMB.
“Pirates operating within the Gulf of Guinea are well-equipped to attack further away from shorelines and are unafraid to take violent action against innocent crews” warns IMB Director Michael Howlett. “It’s critical that seafarers remain cautious and vigilant when travelling in nearby waters and report all incidents to the Regional Authorities and the IMB PRC. Only improved knowledge sharing channels and increased collaboration between maritime response authorities will reduce the risk to seafarers in the region.”
Notices & Miscellany
New IACS chairman
The International Association of Classification Societies has named Lloyd’s Register chief executive Nick Brown as its incoming Council chairman.
This is the first time the appointment has been chosen by the Association’s members and not by rotation, a move that follows governance changes announced in December last year. As part of those changes, Brown’s term of office will run until 31st December 2023.
Maritime security webinar
Maritime security and piracy will be on the agenda at the latest International Chamber of Shipping webinar on 28th April at 10.00 BST.
For details: Register Now
London International Disputes Week
London International Disputes Week (LIDW) celebrates London as a leading centre for handling the resolution of international disputes. LIDW takes place the 10-¬14 May 2021 with a programme of virtual events addressing contemporary global issues facing the sector attracting audiences from jurisdictions globally. This year’s theme is ‘Looking forward: change, challenge and opportunity.’ There will be a webinar on Friday 14th May 12:30-¬14:00 BST. See https://lidw.co.uk for events.
Safety at Sea awards
NAMEPA’s Safety at Sea Seminar and AMVER Awards will be held on May 20th, 2021, in honour of National Maritime Day.
New Tatham appointment
Tatham & Co has welcomed another Senior Associate to its team. Rachel Davies joins the shipping team of the London office of Tatham & Co after thirteen years in Hong Kong working for another leading maritime law firm and one of the International Group P & I Clubs. She is qualified in both England and Wales and Hong Kong and has extensive experience in LMAA and Hong Kong Arbitrations dealing with all manner of dry and wet cases with particular expertise in charterparty, contract of affreightment and bills of lading cases.
Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings: contactus@themaritimeadvocate.
Famous people – the next job interview
Julius Caesar – My last job involved a lot of office politics and back stabbing. I’d like to get away from all that.
Jesse James – I can list among my experience and skills: leadership, extensive travel, logistical organisation, intimate understanding of firearms, and a knowledge of security measures at numerous banks.
Marie Antoinette – My management style has been criticized, but I’d like to think of myself as a people person.
Joseph Guillotine – I can give your company a head start on the competition.
Hamlet – My position was eliminated in a hostile takeover.
Lucretia Borgia – My greatest accomplishment? After I took over the department, our competition just seemed to drop out of sight one by one.
Pandora – I can bring a lot to your company. I like discovering new things.
Genghis Khan – My primary talent is downsizing. On my last job I downsized my staff, my organisation, and the populations of several countries.
Macbeth – Would I go after my boss’s job? Do I look like the kind of guy who would knock off his boss for a promotion?
Lady Godiva – What do you mean, this isn’t business casual?
Elvis – My last boss and I…say, are you going to eat those fries?
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