The Maritime Advocate–Issue 780


1. Of ships and their crews
2. Emissions trading
3. M7
4. HSFO demand
5. Deep Blue Project
6. R&D stagnation
7. Ballast water feedback
8. Cargo weight distribution warning
9. Grain dangers
10. Under arrest and off-hire?
11. Check your contact details
12. Consultation on STCW
13. Ammonia initiative
14. Helivac
15. Arbitration and human rights

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

1. Of ships and their crews

By Michael Grey

I have always been terribly enthused by Oliver St.John Gogarty’s poem The Ship and its first stanza – “A ship from Valparaiso came/ And in the Bay her sails were furled,/ She brought the wonder of her name/ And tidings from a sunnier world.” It came back to me this week reading about all the congestion in the liner trades with Covid-19 in the China ports and 400 or so ships swinging around their anchors in roadsteads across the world. My next door neighbour has been told that the new garden furniture he ordered in time for summer will be delivered, if luck is on his side, around the time of the autumn equinox.

It is a salutary reminder that the next time your company’s finance director starts burbling on about Just In Time and the cost of carrying stocks of goods against interruptions in the logistics chain, you should take him outside and shoot him. Or at least issue him with his P45. Congestion or not, you cannot surely grudge the carriers their current time in the sun, after so many years of financial gloom. Rest assured, it won’t last, as they move with alacrity to produce the next containership slot surplus.

But the poem mostly  came to my mind reading about peevish complaints by those favoured folk who live on Puget Sound, voicing their outrage at having their sea views spoiled by container ships anchored off as they wait for berths in Seattle and Portland. The noise of their generators irked them no end, while their exhausts were polluting the pristine air. Couldn’t they, it was inferred, go some place else.

I would probably admit that a couple of 15000teu monsters swinging around their hooks does not conjure up the same romantic vision as a barquentine inbound from Valparaiso, but it might occur to them that they could need some of the stuff they have in their containers. It might be their new garden furniture, lovingly crafted in some rustic haven up the Pearl River. Selfish blighters. They certainly won’t give a thought to the steel accommodation block amidships and the twenty people living in it. The crew might be enjoying a few days relative rest, the frantic time in port being postponed for a while.

It is a truism that ships today and those aboard them only intrude into the public consciousness when something goes wrong, and then everyone who has never noticed them before is swift to complain. But it is sad that something so important to our lives is so invisible, like the drains. The miserable two-month saga of the containership Ital Libera which ended this week in Italy, spoke volumes about attitudes to those who go down to the sea in ships in 2021. With her dead master aboard, cases of Covid among the crew, the ship was rejected by no fewer than eight countries when they requested leave to enter port and repatriate the corpse of her captain. In the end the operators very decently decided to bring the ship, with both the cargo and her late master, back to Italy.

It is one of the pandemic stories that will, at least among shipping people, probably be imprinted on the memory, long after the world gets back to normal. It ranks alongside incidents of ships being denied medical assistance by coastal states, and the glacial pace of vaccinating seafarers, while taking for granted the goods they carry in their ships. Will the history of this past couple of years even acknowledge the debt owed to the world’s seafarers?

And while thinking of attitudes to requests from ships, and the ease with which problems can be moved on to somebody else’s jurisdiction, it will be interesting to see if any lessons are learned from the ruins of the X-Press Pearl, sitting on the bottom off Colombo as her cargo washes ashore. Two wayports, we are told, refused requests for the container of leaking acid to be discharged, leaving it for the ship, or somebody else down the line, to deal with the problem. Maybe a more robust master would have refused to take the ship to sea and insisted that it was hazardous to do so. But masters aren’t encouraged to be too assertive, these days. If a ship from Valparaiso comes into your bay, move it on, as quickly as possible, before the residents complain about the noise.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

2. Emissions trading

As countries become increasingly focused on what to do about emissions, the best approach for dealing with the issue and the timeline for doing so, have become a matter for increasing debate. As Watson Farley Williams outlines in a recent article online, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) estimates that maritime transport emits around 940m tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and is responsible for about 2.5% of global greenhouse gases.

It predicts that these emissions could increase by more than 50% by 2050 if mitigation measures are not put in place. Using emissions trading to tackle the problem seems to be gaining momentum, at least in the EU, and WFW takes a look at what is being proposed as the EU plans to introduce its own measures.

3. M7

As leaders of the G7 countries have been meeting in Cornwall in recent times, with a chance for a few good photo opportunities, the M7, which groups shipping organisations from the G7 countries also held its first meeting, although this one was done virtually.

Delegates from the shipowner associations of the G7, plus those from Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea, were joined by the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, Chief Executive and Secretary General of BIMCO and a representative from ECSA.

There was universal agreement that more investment is needed from governments and industry to develop the technologies for a cleaner and greener shipping industry and that the G7 governments should be urged to back the shipping industry’s proposed $5bn R&D decarbonisation fund. Delegates also agreed that more work was needed to help develop digital documentation to facilitate an increase in global trade as the world recovers from Covid-19.

The crew change crisis was discussed, and the extraordinary work seafarers have done over the past 15 months supporting global trade under extremely challenging conditions was noted. The meeting called for governments of the G7 to follow the lead of the United States, Canada and other countries in prioritising vaccinations for seafarers.

4. HSFO demand

In spite of the looming deadlines on emissions, use of HSFO is alive and well, according to a recent analysis by Platts Analytics (see  Prior expectations that HSFO would play a marginal role “have given way to a very different reality.

The most recent data from Rotterdam—Europe’s largest refuelling hub—shows HSFO accounted for 26% of total marine fuel sales during Q1 2021,” the organisation says. “Enthusiastic use of the bottom of the oil barrel seems contradictory in the context of energy transition. Nevertheless, practical and economic considerations cannot be disregarded, especially given that a vessel lifespan is approximately 25 years. Given the infancy of some greener alternatives, high sulphur fuel oil is likely to be hustling until its bitter end.”


5. Deep Blue Project

Shipping associations have given their backing to Nigeria’s Deep Blue Project which aims to address the issue of piracy off the African coast.

Nigeria has recently announced a significant investment in military and law enforcement infrastructure to secure its maritime domain as part of stepping up action to address the ongoing piracy issue in the Gulf of Guinea. Managed by the Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA), the multi-agency project will significantly increase maritime security in the region, an area blighted by piracy, armed robbery, and other maritime crimes.

A central command and control centre based in Lagos will oversee a network of integrated assets including two special mission vessels, two special mission long- range aircraft, 17 fast-response vessels capable of speeds of 50 knots, three helicopters, and four airborne drones, providing 24/7 cover for the region.  These complement the Yaounde ICC structure offering real capability to both Nigeria and the region.

It is the hope of the industry organisations that Deep Blue, coordinated with other navies and programmes through the mechanism of the GOG – Maritime Collaboration Forum/SHADE, will seriously impact on the ability of pirate groups to prey on merchant shipping.

Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General said, “The Deep Blue Project can be a game-changer in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, and we congratulate Nigeria in launching the project despite the significant difficulties presented by COVID. We look forward to continuing our close cooperation with NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy to realise our shared vision of a region free from the threat of piracy and armed robbery.”

David Loosley, BIMCO Secretary General, added: “Deep Blue becoming operational represents a significant opportunity to expand law and order at sea in cooperation with international forces in the area. We look forward to seeing Nigeria make the best of these assets to the benefit of Nigeria, its citizens and economy, and of course the seafarers from all over the world going about their daily business in the Gulf of Guinea.”

6. R&D stagnation

The International Chamber of Shipping has warned that without decisive government signals, declining levels of maritime research and development could jeopardise the industry’s ability to decarbonise.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), maritime’s research and development (R&D) spending between 2007-2019 remained stagnant, lagging far behind that of other sectors. Responding to strong political signalling from governments around the world investment on R&D in the automotive sector has increased from $67 billion in 2009 to a staggering $130 billion in 2019, compared to $1.6 billion in maritime. The total amount of corporate R&D investment for maritime actually decreased, from $2.7 billion in 2017 to $1.6 billion in 2019 according to the IEA.

Speaking ahead of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meetings that have been taking place at IMO, ICS highlighted that growing uncertainty is leading to a reduction in confidence about R&D investment. The lack of clarity, in part due to the increasing levels of political risk and resulting investment risk, is leading to limited R&D investment for ‘green’ fuels for ships, and the accompanying technologies they need to be safely used. There is also growing concern about the safety and toxic emissions associated with the use of some proposed alternative fuels. Without government support for rapid research and development, this will add unacceptable levels of risk to investments made in shipping by both the public and private sector.

Guy Platten, secretary general of the ICS, commented: “We have welcomed recent announcements of plans to increase innovation and for zero emission pilot projects. However, all too often these announcements do not come with cash or a realistic investment strategy. This sends conflicting messages to the market and as a result investment in shipping is becoming riskier with each passing day. We need governments to match their words on decarbonisation with tangible action. Investment in research and development relies on certainty of the availability of long-term ‘patient capital’”.

As technology development is traditionally uncertain and takes time, ICS is co-sponsoring, along with 10 governments and industry partners, a $5 billion IMO Maritime Research Fund for shipping – the IMRF, which provides certainty through guaranteed 10-year funding to support the ‘de-risking of investments’ for advancing technology readiness levels.

7. Ballast water feedback

BIMCO and other shipping organisations are being asked by the International Maritime Organization to provide feedback on how the Ballast Water Convention is actually working in practice.

Following entry in to force of the BWM Convention, the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) immediately launched an Experience-Building-Phase (EBP) to monitor the implementation. This data-gathering and analysis process is designed to identify aspects of the Convention’s implementation that are working as required, and to further enhance the aspects that are not working. To build a complete and realistic picture, the process requires the input of all stakeholders to identify where challenges may have occurred that were not initially envisaged. The analysis covers a wide range of issues from operation of systems and the role of the crew through to testing and sampling.

The IMO has commissioned the World Maritime University (WMU) to supervise the data gathering and analysis as required by the exercise, and they are inviting BIMCO members to submit data and information that will be treated in the strictest confidence. This provides BIMCO members a unique opportunity to express any concerns with the way the Convention is being implemented.

At present, shipowners are invited to submit their reports to the flag State which duly submits the report. However, this new initiative will see the WMU, on behalf of the IMO Secretariat, collecting complementary data for the EBP. As such, BIMCO members are now able to submit more detailed “complementary data” directly to WMU if preferred, rather than using the stakeholder interface via the flag State.

BIMCO members willing to share information with the WMU rather than via the flag State  are invited to firstly contact the WMU for further details by emailing The deadline for all input is 22 October 2021.

8. Cargo weight distribution warning

P&I Club Gard stresses the importance of knowing your cargo weight distribution before leaving port, underlining the dangers of departure without this information. While Gard’s guidance relates to car carriers, it is a point well worth making in general terms.

“In the past there have been serious incidents where the car carriers have capsized as a result of inadequate stability. More concerning was the fact that the crew were also caught unaware. It has more to do with the way the shore side does the cargo planning and execution than the role of the crew, who play little or no part in this,” Gard says.

“On paper the ultimate responsibility for safety of the vessel may rest with the master, however in reality there may be several impediments for the master to exercise his responsibility and this is what needs to be addressed by both owners and operators.

“The biggest challenge here is that the stowage location and/or weight of the cargo actually loaded onboard could differ significantly from the pre-stow plan and these changes might not be communicated to the ship’s crew in time before departure from port. Either the crew are not given a copy of the final stowage plan or if provided then there may not be enough time for the crew to check and ensure that vessel has adequate stability.”

9. Grain dangers

Improper packing of bulk grain cargo can lead to the distortion of the container, compromising structural integrity, spillage of contents, contamination, and injury to workers when opening container doors.

Containers are an increasingly popular, cost effective method for the transport of bulk commodities such as grain. While there are efficiencies in transporting grain in containers, standard general purpose ISO containers are not designed to carry bulk cargoes, meaning additional procedures are required to do so safely. Read more

10. Under arrest and off-hire?

In Navision Shipping A/S v Precious Pearls Ltd & Ors (the Mookda Naree), the English Commercial Court recently considered whether a vessel was off-hire when she was arrested by a third party.

The decision is an important reminder of the importance of careful drafting of off-hire provisions, and any applicable provisos, as well as a warning to charterers and sub-charterers that they may need to take proactive action in the event of an arrest. Read an analysis of the case from Watson Farley Williams at:

11. Check your contact details

Checking contact details may seem like a ‘no-brainer’ but it can provide expensive as the International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) has recently shown. According to ITIC,  incorrectly addressing emails can prove costly as was demonstrated in a recent case where the insurer had to reimburse a shipbroker US$ 50,000 in respect of such an error.

In this instance, the shipbroker had received a claim from their owners for ice dues and winter surcharge on towage at a Baltic port which was to be passed on to the charterers for settlement. The broker passed on the claim by email using an “opsclaims@” email address and not the specific email address as detailed in the fixture. They advised the owners that the claim had been passed on to charterers but did not check that it had been received, or accepted, by the charterers. The broker chased the charterer for payment regularly over the next 14 months by sending emails to the same “opsclaims@” address.

Eventually, the broker realised the email address was wrong and that the claim should have been sent to “claims@”. On calling the charterer, the broker was advised that the claim was not properly received and was now time barred and would not be settled.

The charterers continued to deny any liability for the claim and the broker eventually had to pay the owners the full value of the claim, which was US$ 50,000. This sum was subsequently reimbursed to the broker by ITIC.

ITIC advises all relevant parties to check and re-check email addresses for important emails. Parties should especially look out for specific email addresses for “claims” provided in the fixture agreement which may be different to the usual “ops” or “post fixture” email addresses.  Parties should also request confirmation of safe receipt and call recipients to check that the emails have been received.  


12. Consultation on STCW

The UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency is seeking views on the amendments to the Merchant Shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) regulations 2015 and associated notices. This consultation closes at 10am on 9th August 2021.

The consultation seeks views on the proposed draft merchant shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) (amendment) regulations 2021, that propose to implement the amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978 into UK law. The Convention sets the standards of competence for seafarers internationally.

The proposed amending regulations incorporate the latest amendments to the STCW Convention and Code, which relate to those seafarers serving on ships using gases or other low-flashpoint fuels, ships that operate in polar waters and passenger ships. The regulations also include changes identified by a Post Implementation Review of the 2015 Regulations. These amendments put into effect initiatives to modernise and enhance the UK seafarer training system. The amending regulations aim to improve the employability of UK seafarers by encapsulating advancements and changes in maritime technology to make the sector a cleaner, safer and more efficient place to work.

 Responses and the evaluation form are welcome from Monday 14th June 2021 until Monday 9th August 2021. See the STCW Consultation Document

13. Ammonia initiative

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and 22 companies from energy, mining, power utility, chemical, terminal, shipping, shipbuilding, manufacture, bunkering, and classification organisations have established a Joint Study framework to look at common issues on ammonia  as an alternative marine fuel to meet the IMO’s decarbonisation targets.

Common issues including safety assessment of ammonia as fuel under the guidelines, bunkering and fuel specifications, and net CO2 emissions in ammonia production will be discussed as part of the Joint Study framework. Some ammonia producers, relevant international organisations, port authorities/regulators in potential bunkering countries will also be asked to share their opinions, views, expertise and experience.

The early adoption of ammonia as a suitable zero emission, alternative marine fuel is one of the key elements of strategies being promoted at IMO to reduce emissions from shipping over the coming years.

14. Helivac

Imagine the scenario; adverse weather conditions, a seriously injured crew member. There is no option but to arrange for an emergency medivac from the deck of the ship. This is, thankfully, not a situation a crew will encounter every day, yet they must be able to deal with helicopter operations safely when they do occur. A newly updated guide from the International Chamber of Shipping gives crews the support they need, when and where they need it.

The ICS Guide to Helicopter/Ship Operations is written for both those in the air and those at sea, and aims to help all those involved in helicopter/ship operations become familiar with the important technical aspects of these complex operations. The new fifth edition provides the latest guidance on standardised procedures and facilities for helicopter/ship operations worldwide and encourages safe and efficient performance in the field. For further information and to order a copy visit the ICS Shop.

15. Arbitration and human rights

Charity Human Rights at Sea has highlighted the ongoing development of a new arbitration model and ad hoc international tribunal for addressing human rights abuses at sea by providing an alternative route to effective remedy as outlined in a new article for the International Bar Association by project partners at law firm Shearman and Sterling.

Elise Edson and Alex Marcopoulos write: ‘The proposed new system of human rights at sea arbitration seeks to take advantage of the unique characteristics of the arbitral process in order to solve key challenges impeding the enforcement of existing human rights standards as they apply at sea. […] By ensuring access to an effective remedy for victims of human rights abuses and incentivising compliance with international law, the initiative showcases the important potential for arbitration to strengthen the rule of law – not only on land, but also at sea”. Read the full article: ‘A new initiative for the arbitration of human rights abuses at sea‘ HERE.

Visit the HRAS Arbitration project website.

Notices & Miscellany

HFW hire
Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to strengthen its shipping practice with the hire of master mariner Mark Myles.
Myles has more than 20 years’ experience in the shipping industry as a mariner and lawyer, and joins HFW’s Singapore office from Reed Smith. This follows the arrival in of mariner Joel Cockerell, who spent 12 years in the Royal Australian Navy and joined HFW’s Singapore office in 2020.

Workforce report
The ICS/BIMCO Seafarer Workforce Report: The Global Supply and Demand for Seafarers in 2021  is due for publication in July 2021 and is available to pre-order now. This 2021 edition replaces the previous Manpower Report: The Global Supply and Demand for Seafarers in 2015, which has now been withdrawn. The report is priced at £150 and is available to order directly from Witherbys

Anniversary celebrations
WK Webster is proud to be celebrating their 160th Anniversary this year. In today’s challenging and ever-changing world the ability to truly “celebrate” any event is being somewhat hampered, the company says. In an attempt to move  celebrations online they have created a new webpage focused on the special anniversary.


Sulphur cap webinar
The 2020 Global Sulphur Cap webinar- Impact and Future Developments, organised by Britannia P&I, will take place on 22nd June 2021 at 9.00 BST.
The webinar will take a look at what has been learned from both a club and a wider industry perspective, along with the legal implications, following the introduction of these new regulations. The webinar will also explore future potential developments.

Hosted by Neale Rodrigues, Britannia loss prevention divisional director, speakers will include Christian Bækmark Schiolborg, manager marine environment at BIMCO, Wing Wai, Britannia divisional director claims, Jacob Damgaard, Britannia associate director loss prevention.
To register please click here:


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

And finally…

Cat Diary Human Translator

….Means that humans want to take you somewhere, most likely the vet.  Avoid it.

….Probably left over human food they were about to throw out.

….Most likely another foil wrapped appeals-to-a-human Kit-e-Kat concoction.  Real kitty treats are usually opportunities when no one’s paying attention and you get to lick the ice cream in the bowl, or jump on the table for that great piece of meat loaf.

….You are about to rub noses with a human.  They can never get enough of our tiny fur coated bodies and irresistible faces.  Human noses are sooo warm.  Ugh.

….You picked the right spot.  You are right where you should be.

….You left your hair out in the open where humans can see it and properly clean it up.

….Means you were caught.  Remember exactly where you were and get back to it – once they leave the house.

….Do not take this personally.  It’s usually the first thing they say after you wake them up by sticking your backside in their face.

….They want you to come over.  If they want me, they’ll come get me. Otherwise, get a dog.

…..Means just that.  No translation needed here.  And we love you, too.

Thanks for Reading the Maritime Advocate online

Maritime Advocate Online is a fortnightly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 20,000 individual subscribers each week and republished within firms and organisations all over the maritime world. It is the largest publication of its kind. We estimate it goes to around 60,000 readers in over 120 countries.