1. Hogmanay thoughts
2. Circular economy
3. Inaccurate surveys
4. Seafarers’ challenges
5. Human rights
7. Electronic data
8. OCIMF tanker inspection
9. ClassNK digitalisation
11 Contracts of affreightment
12. Joint venture
13. US port grants
14. FMC complaints
15. Embarrassment of riches
Notices & Miscellany
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1. Hogmanay thoughts
By Michael Grey
It’s New Year’s Eve, when people of kindly disposition wish each other the hope that the coming twelve months might be happy, or even prosperous. So let me begin with such a wish for our readers, despite most of the evidence suggesting that much of what made 2021 such a miserable experience may well emigrate smoothly into its successor. But hope, as they say, springs eternal, so we can only hope for the best that the virus, which has caused so much misery around the world, will dissolve its lethal character to become no more than a societal nuisance.
What have we learned during the previous twelve months, beside frustration, impatience and resignation? Something, perhaps, that we can carry forward into 2022 as this new year evolves?
In our maritime world we ought to focus on the lives lived by the seafaring population, which has kept the blood flowing through the arteries of world trade, but at a pretty awful cost. Amid all the panic and pandemonium in so many of the countries around the world, the ships have kept sailing and the general public has been made more aware of them, perhaps on account of the spectacular blockage of Suez or subsequent supply chain interruptions. But very few seemed to realise that while the ships indeed steamed on, those aboard them never managed to set foot ashore for months on end, were unable to get home at the end of their contracts, while their reliefs were stuck at home and unable to earn.
It was if all the ships that came and went, bringing and taking all the stuff to sustain the world, were operated by robots and without the agency of human beings. Despite all the earnest injunctions for seafarers to be declared special workers, when it came to the practicalities with obstructive immigration and quarantine officials, it took superhuman efforts by heroic ship agents, welfare agencies and others to mitigate the misery and facilitate crew exchanges, often with fantastic complexity. And with each successive wave of the virus, two steps forward were so often followed by one step back, I’m afraid I got very impatient as our priests and politicians alike would offer prayers and thanks for the brave and selfless health workers, supermarket staff, refuse collectors, bus drivers etc. etc. who were keeping us fed and healthy. “What about the b…. seafarers, who keep world trade flowing and never get any recognition for it?” I found myself muttering under my breath in church, or yelling at the radio. Perhaps I should have done the opposite – muttered at the radio and yelled in church.
Because we have seen, on so many fronts, that these days policy is so often a reaction to the loud noises made by activists, armed to the teeth with social media and a keen understanding of public relations and the workings of government and law. Wise old buffers used to say that you never get anywhere by diverting from the paths of democratic debate, painstaking research and sober discussion around the proper channels and there was no place for yelling in a decent and civilised advanced society.
I’m afraid we have discovered that all this well-meaning advice is largely nonsense and that it is the fanatics, who campaign in the most extreme fashion, for every conceivable cause, employing everything from megaphone diplomacy to violence, who tend to get noticed and influence policy makers who themselves court public approval and our votes. From monomaniacal individuals blocking trunk roads and oblivious to any humanitarian pleas, green demonstrators preventing legitimate commerce, to adherents of one particular school of science or academia which will seek to destroy the careers or employment of those of a contrary persuasion, this is indeed the age of the fanatic.
There is no reasoning with these people as they pour their buckets of oil on the pavement outside the IMO building or deface public buildings; the mobs shrieking their abuse at anyone who might disagree with them and extruding their on-line bile. The “science is settled!” they yell, in what must be an expression of breath-taking arrogance, in an age of extraordinary scientific discovery.
And there is no doubting the fact that fanaticism wins, witness the way that democratic governments are increasingly swayed by the noise they hear, and which they believe reflects a majority view. So maybe sensible people in shipping ought to be rather more fanatical in 2022 in supporting causes they believe to be important. Sweet reason, as has been demonstrated, doesn’t cut the mustard.
Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.
2. Circular economy
The Global Maritime Forum has been delving into the issue of shipping’s circular economy in one of its recent viewpoints. The Forum believes shipping’s energy transition provides an opportunity to adopt new circular business models for asset management and radically change ownership structures for the benefit of the entire industry.
“So far, the development of sustainable fuels has been driving the majority of efforts to meet the International Maritime Organization target of reducing emissions by 50% by 2050. However, green fuels alone will not make shipping sustainable. Parallel to these efforts, other drivers for sustainability – such as increasing demand for transparency about product and asset lifecycles, and rising consumer pressures for extended producer responsibility – makes it relevant to consider how circular economy principles can be applied to shipping. In effect, how can we make parts or all of shipping’s lifecycle more environmentally and socially sustainable while still commercially viable?
“Shipping’s energy transition will likely lead to either extensive retrofitting of the current fleet or accelerated scrapping of existing vessels to accommodate new and emerging fuel types. Operating expenses (fuel and maintenance) will play an increasingly important role in the coming years and raw material prices are likely to increase. In the face of these trends, vessels must be able to adapt and accommodate changes to mitigate compliance costs and stay competitive,” the Forum says.
To read the full story see: https://www.globalmaritimeforum.org/news/shippings-circular-economy
3. Inaccurate surveys
The UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published its report into the grounding of the Gibraltar registered chemical tanker Key Bora in March last year, citing inaccurate survey data as the primary source of the grounding.
The report said that although not intended for navigation, the dredge survey data was prioritized on board the ship ahead of more accurate electronic navigational chart information “because it had been received from an apparently reliable source and appeared to be accurate, authentic and timely”. Unintentionally misleading pre-arrival information was also cited as a contributory factor as were failures in the effective use of ECDIS and bridge resource management.
For more information see the MAIB website at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/marine-accident-investigation-branch
4. Seafarers’ challenges
At its 32nd session, the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution on comprehensive action to address seafarers’ challenges during the pandemic, covering issues relating to crew change, access to medical care, key worker designation and prioritisation for vaccination against Covid 19.
The assembly also adopted amendments to the IMO Convention to expand the size of the Council, and adopted a number of important resolutions, including those covering prevention and suppression of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, capacity building, fishing vessel safety and prevention of fraudulent registries and other fraudulent acts.
For details see the IMO website https://www.imo.org.
5. Human rights
Charity Human Rights at Sea has issued a new civil society policy briefing critically reviewing EU Member States and the European Border and Coastguard Agency (Frontex) policies and practices in undertaking search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
‘Crossing the Mediterranean Sea: Searched for but not Rescued’ authored by Dr Farzaneh Shakeri and Human Rights at Sea finds that the Central and Eastern Mediterranean continue to be for an increasing number of migrants and refugees the only way to reach safety. Those who risk their lives attempting the perilous sea crossings are instead pushed back to their unsafe point of departure, drown and disappear at sea, as well as on land within the broken detention and relocation systems that are unfit for purpose, the briefing says.
Some 1,589 died or went missing in the Mediterranean Sea in 2021, a 26% increase from 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports. These statistics do not however account for those migrants who set out for Europe, either from Libya or Turkey, but who were halfway pulled back by the Libyan Coast Guard or pushed back by the Greek authorities, Human Rights at Sea says. “Those people who are pulled back by the Libyan Coast Guard are subject to systematic violations of their human rights, including rape and torture, as survivors testify.
“For a second year in a row, EU Member States continue to refuse to designate their ports as places of safety for disembarkation of rescued people using the COVID pandemic as a pretext while they seek to demonise and criminalise civil society search and rescue (SAR) organisations who save lives at sea.
“Frontex, the EU Border and Coast Guard agency, is also facing serious accusations of prioritising EU border management over human life contributing to pushback and pullback practices in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean. 2020 – 2021 have witnessed the initiation of investigations by the European Parliament, European Ombudsman and European Court of Auditors into the work of Frontex. Frontex is also being taken to the Court of Justice of the European Union, under two independent complaints, for its non-compliance with human rights and rule of law.
“The New Pact on Migration and Asylum legitimises criminalisation of NGOs and individuals engaged in SAR activities and does not offer a revised common policy towards search and rescue at EU level. It explicitly endorses the outsourcing of EU border management by giving funding to Turkey and Libya and other transit countries and only incidentally may, ‘as an add-on, contribute to saving lives at sea’ but this is not the priority’.”
While the New Pact is yet to pass through the final adoption phase, and while two cases against Frontex are pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union, Human Rights at Sea suggests 10 EU policy recommendations:
1. The EU must require its member states to respond to search and rescue needs in accordance with their international legal obligations;
2. The EU must explicitly ban and sanction any criminalisation and unfounded administrative proceedings against those organisations and individuals engaged in humanitarian assistance;
3. The EU must cease providing aid and assistance through financing the Libyan Coast Guard and Turkey in the knowledge that such aid is subsequently used for the purposes of violating human rights;
4. Frontex must stop sharing information with the Libyan Coast Guard and facilitating push/pullback practices in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean;
5. The EU and its member States must declare Libya as an unsafe place for the purposes of disembarkation following rescue and must prohibit EU-flagged vessels from disembarking in Libya;
6. The EU must ensure that any search and rescue operation carried out by the Libyan Coast Guard leads to disembarkation in an EU member State;
7. The EU must put an end to the EU–Turkey deal and its blanket return scheme;
8. The EU must amend its relocation scheme established in the proposed New Pact and set up a system which ensures a compulsory fair and swift relocation of rescued migrants after disembarkation;
9. The EU must ensure that Frontex fulfils its legal duties to protect fundamental human rights and has an independent, neutral and efficient internal complaint system;
10. The EU must secure a fair and effective control mechanism, which holds Frontex accountable for any violation of fundamental human rights. Use the link below to access the policy brief.
Dr Elizabeth Mavropoulou, Head of Research at Human Rights at Sea, has provided a detailed commentary on one of the contemporary challenges that international law is facing today in protecting, monitoring, and enforcing human rights at sea, through the law of the sea convention (UNCLOS).
“One of the most contemporary challenges international law is facing today is protecting, monitoring, and enforcing human rights at sea. A recently launched House of Lords Inquiry in the United Kingdom examining the UNCLOS applicability in the 21st century is asking amongst other questions, how to address the contemporary challenge of monitoring and enforcing human rights law at sea.
It can be said that human rights at sea are a relatively recent narrative in the long history of UNCLOS. Academics only started writing explicitly on the topic ten years ago (indicative scholarship includes that of Treves 2010, Petrig & Geiss 2014, Evans & Galani 2014, and Papanicolopulu 2018) and there is only one civil society organisation explicitly mandated to raise awareness of human rights abuses at sea. Recently, human rights at sea have made it as a distinct topic of maritime and human rights related policy agendas at UN, regional and national levels. The UK House of Lords Inquiry into the future of UNCLOS and its applicability in the 21st century launched by the Lords Select Committee on International Relations and Defence is one such example.
During the oral evidence stage, it was well acknowledged by the majority of the expert witnesses invited by the Lords that UNCLOS does not explicitly and comprehensively deal with human rights protections at sea (Oral evidence of Haines, Klein, Petrig, Evans and Galani). A dissenting opinion was that of the UK government which remains of the view that UNCLOS does ‘address human rights issues in some discreet areas’, that have also have been further supplemented by instruments such as the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention and the 2007 ILO Work in Fishing Convention as well as IMO Guidelines.
As it has been argued on the blog before, the UK’s position reflects a narrow and somewhat flawed understanding of human rights obligations at sea that still incorrectly equates human rights with minimum labour and welfare standards on board UK-flagged commercial shipping and fishing vessels. This flawed perception has severe consequences for the human rights of people who found themselves at sea around the world and in the UK’s territorial waters and who are not always at sea for employment purposes, (if they have an employment contract in the first place), but also for purposes of recreation, military, or in search of asylum.
Throughout the oral evidence stage, experts have sought to explain to the Committee that the protection of human rights at sea cannot rest on the limited maritime jurisdictional competencies established under UNCLOS. In other words, despite its detailed regulation on maritime delimitation and states’ jurisdictional competencies within the various maritime zones (UNCLOS Part I -VII), as well as general guidance on how to use the oceans’ natural resources in accordance with the principle of the common heritage of mankind (Part XI, Article 136) UNCLOS says little, if anything, on the application of and compliance with human rights at sea.”
The latest version of the World Customs Organization Data Model (version 3.11.0) has been published by the International Maritime Organization. It includes a new Message Implementation Guide, providing practical guidance for implementing part of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic business, a tool for software developers that design the systems needed to support transmission, receipt, and response via electronic data exchange of information required for the arrival, stay, and departure of the ship, persons, and cargo to a port.
8. OCIMF tanker inspection
The Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) is overhauling its Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) by introducing tablet-based inspections, a more comprehensive inspection process, and enhanced policies and procedures from the second quarter of 2022. The new programme, SIRE 2.0, will facilitate a risk-based approach to assessing the safety and quality of a vessel and its crew on an ongoing basis, but will require a “change in mindset” from industry, OCIMF has warned.
Under SIRE 2.0, accredited inspectors will complete a Compiled Vessel Inspection Questionnaire (CVIC) in real-time using a tablet device. Unlike the existing paper-based questionnaire, the SIRE 2.0 CVIQ uses a sophisticated algorithm to select questions from a question library based on the type of vessel, its outfitting and operational history to create a bespoke risk-based inspection questionnaire. This means no two inspections will be the same. In another significant change to the reporting process, most questions require the inspector to provide responses based on hardware, processes and human factors, with observations graded from not as expected through to exceeds expectation. Observations will also be supported with documentary and photographic evidence (where permitted).
As a result of these enhancements to the programme, each inspection question set is varied, providing vessel operators and crews greater opportunity to demonstrate their best practices, and for the first time both positive and negative observations can be documented. Enhanced governance processes will ensure greater transparency and control for OCIMF and other parties involved in the programme, with stringent compliance requirements enhancing accountability, creating an altogether more robust programme that can more easily be adapted to the evolving risk profile of the industry.
OCIMF’s managing director Karen Davis, explains: “The development and introduction of the SIRE 2.0 tanker inspection regime represents a significant change for OCIMF, its members, users of the inspection programme and the marine industry as a whole. It’s a move away from a snapshot yes/no approach to providing richer, more meaningful insight that can be acted upon.
“The new programme will ensure observations are given context and will result in more detailed, reliable, granular and comparable marine assurance data, helping the report recipient better understand how well a vessel is managed. Central to SIRE 2.0 is the integration of human factor assessments which will take into account performance influencing factors, as OCIMF acknowledges that mistakes are typically due to conditions and systems that make work difficult. SIRE 2.0 is designed to encourage a safety culture aligned with the principles contained in the OCIMF Human Factors Approach paper and framework for integrating human factors in management systems.”
Software for the tablet devices has been developed in consultation with ports, terminals and ship operator stakeholders, in accordance with best practice as defined by ISGOTT (International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals). Given the complexity of the project, over the past three years OCIMF has been engaging with different stakeholder groups at relevant junctures to gather feedback, input and technical expertise.
Sam Megwa, OCIMF’s programme director, explains “At OCIMF we are doing everything we can to support industry to transition from SIRE to SIRE 2.0. While there is work still to be done to bring SIRE 2.0 online, the team are well underway with the trial inspections programme and have already rolled out a series of workshops with more planned over coming months. Transition training of inspectors has also been underway for some time already, with additional courses due next year. We will continue to engage with all stakeholders to ensure the successful implementation of the programme, and to help our industry achieve zero accidents to people and the environment”.
A range of resources and information about SIRE 2.0 are available on OCIMF’s website. The full SIRE 2.0 question library and supporting guidance materials will be published by OCIMF in January 2022 for vessel operators, programme recipients and submitting companies as well as terminal operators. A feedback portal will be made available to programme participants from April 2022 where comments and suggestions can be provided which will be considered during future programme reviews. Additional resources and engagement activities for all stakeholders will be rolled-out through the first quarter of 2022.
While OCIMF develops SIRE 2.0, the existing SIRE programme will continue to be supported and improved, ensuring SIRE incorporates the latest industry standards, best practice and regulation.
9. ClassNK digitalisation
ClassNK has decided to expand the digitization of its survey and audit services from 2022 and start issuance of certificates and reports electronically. The roll out will start on January 30th, 2022 enabling users to check and access such documents electronically.
The application for surveys/audits for existing ships will be accepted through “e-Application,” available from the class society’s Web Service Portal. The link to the site for viewing/downloading documents will be sent to the e-mail address registered on e-Application for users to access the documents immediately after they are issued. The documents will also be available on NK-SHIPS, ClassNK’s web service.
Starting from January 30th, 2022, class and statutory certificates issued by ClassNK, reports/records related to ISM/ISPS/MLC surveys and certificates of the flag states that authorize electronic certificates will be issued electronically in principle.Details are available from the link below:
ClassNK has also released amendments to its Rules and Guidance for the Survey and Construction of Steel Ships dated 27 December 2021.
ClassNK is constantly revising its Rules and Guidance in order to reflect the latest results from relevant research and development projects, feedback from damage investigations, requests from the industry as well as changes made to relevant international conventions, IACS unified requirements and national regulations.
– Amendments related to the Material Marking Methods
– Amendments related to the “Ballast Water Sampling Analysis During BWMS Commissioning Testing”, the “Bulkhead Valves”, the “Fuel Oil Sampling Points” and the “Energy Efficiency of Ships”
– Amendments related to the “Welders and Welders Qualification Tests” and the “Anchoring, Towing and Mooring Equipment”
The PDF files of ClassNK Rules and Guidance are available free of charge via ClassNK’s website https://www.classnk.com for those who have registered for the ClassNK “My Page” service
A newly announced project is set to provide pilot projects in developing countries in order to demonstrate technical solutions for biofouling management in developing countries, and address the transfer of invasive aquatic species and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships.
Biofouling is the accumulation of aquatic organisms on wetted or immersed surfaces such as ships and other offshore structures.
The TEST (Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies) Biofouling Project will run for four years (2022-2025), following an agreement signed by International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Norad funding amounts to around US$4 million.
The project complements the existing Global Environment Facility (GEF)/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/IMO GloFouling Partnerships Project, which aims to support its lead partnering countries to implement IMO’s Biofouling Guidelines.
The TEST Biofouling Project will focus on demonstrating technical solutions in the GloFouling partner countries. TEST Biofouling will feature some of the latest advances in technological solutions for managing biofouling, such as remote operated vehicles for in-water cleaning and underwater cameras for monitoring anti-fouling coating status. Additionally, the project will provide capacity building courses in developing countries.
IMO Secretary-General Lim said: “I am pleased to sign this agreement with Norad for the TEST Biofouling Project. We need to showcase solutions to today’s challenges, including preserving the oceans’ biodiversity and tackling climate change. In 2022, IMO’s World Maritime Theme will be ‘New technologies for greener shipping’, so it is particularly pertinent to launch a project which is going to focus on demonstrating just what can be done. This project will work with developing countries, ensuring that they can lead in demonstrating solutions.”
11. Contracts of affreightment
BIMCO is developing a new standard contract of affreightment, GENCOA and is seeking views from its members.
Contracts of affreightment (COAs) are important tools for the shipping industry and often represent transactions worth millions of dollars. The aim is to provide the industry with a standard which can be used as basis for negotiations and which aims to reduce legal costs when drafting, we have developed a new COA which comes in two forms.GENCOA A is a frame agreement to be used with a voyage charter party and GENCOA B is an “all in one” contract.
The two forms are at an advanced stage of development but before BIMCO publishes them it would like to consult with the industry.Comments received by Monday 10 January 2022 will help shape the new GENCOA forms.
12. Joint venture
Shell, TotalEnergies, Gassco and classification society DNV have announced the start of a new joint investment project to develop low-pressure solutions for the transportation of CO2 by ships. The CETO (CO2 Efficient Transport via Ocean) JIP will carry out the technology qualification of a low-pressure ship design and identify solutions to scale CO2 transportation volume, while reducing the associated risks CETOis funded by the project partners and GASSNOVA through the CLIMIT programme and is expected to be completed in 2023.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) will bea key technology if the world is to meet the goals of the Paris and Glasgow agreements. Although the technologies and the industry are very much still emerging,a possible challenge is connecting capture sources to facilities for use or storage sites, especially where pipelines are not an option. As a result, CO2 transport ship technology will be needed if large quantities are to be safely transported at costs that are commercially viable. Today, most transport of CO2 via ship takes place at small scale and at medium pressure (15 bar at -28ºC), limiting the possibilities of scaling up to meet future growth in CCS.
The JIP looks to build experience in low pressure transport and fill a vital knowledge gap, by examining the fundamentals of a low-pressure CO2 transport chain, including:
• Ship design, with low pressure tank and cargo handling system
• Material choice and testing
• Medium scale testing and simulation of cargo handling
• Conditioning and liquefaction
• Testing CO2 behaviour at low pressure.
For more information visit: https://www.dnv.com
13. US port grants
The US Department of Transportation announced the award of more than $241 million in grants for 25 projects to improve port facilities in 19 states and one territory through the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP).
The PIDP has already awarded $492 million for 32 projects of regional and national economic significance within its first two years.
14. FMC complaints
The US Federal Maritime Commission has issued new guidance to shippers and others on complaints relating to the Federal Maritime Commission, addressing barriers identified by interested parties as disincentives to filing actions at the agency.
15. Embarrassment of riches
This was the year in which the public everywhere noticed merchant shipping, and not in a good way. Some shipowners made sizable amounts of money. Check out Andrew Craig-Bennett’s view of the year at https://splash247.com/the-embarrassment-of-riches/
Notices & Miscellany
Watson Farley & Williams has announced that, following the election of George Paleokrassas as the firm’s senior partner, Alexia Hatzimichalis will be taking over as Athens Office head.
Alexia, who joined the firm in 2001 and made Partner in 2014, also heads the Assets & Structured Finance team in Athens. Qualified in England & Wales, originally as a barrister and then as a solicitor, Alexia advises on a wide range of ship finance matters for clients including Greek and international banks, other financial institutions and ship-owning groups and US-listed companies.
CMA CGM Libra
The London Shipping Law Centre and Quadrant Chambers will be holding a seminar on Monday January 24th, 2022 to discuss the CMA CGM Libra judgment by the Supreme Court.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings: email@example.com
(With thanks to Paul Dixon)
HOW YOU CAN TELL WHEN IT’S GOING TO BE A ROTTEN DAY:
1. You wake up face down on the pavement.
2. You put your bra on backwards and it fits better.
3. You call the Samaritans and they put you on hold.
4. You see a “60 minutes” news team waiting in your office.
5. Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
6. You want to put on the clothes you wore home from the party and there aren’t any.
7. You turn on the news and they’re showing emergency routes out of the city.
8. Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
9. You wake up and discover your waterbed broke and then realize that you don’t have a waterbed.
10. Your car horn goes off accidentally & remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell’s Angels on the motorway.
11. Your wife wakes up feeling amorous and you have a headache.
12. Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
13. The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard.
14. You wake up and your braces are locked together.
15. You walk to work and find your dress is stuck in the back of your pantyhose.
16. You call your answering service and they tell you it’s none of your business.
17. Your blind date turns out to be your ex.
18. Your income check bounces.
19. You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
20. Your pet rock snaps at you.
21. Your wife says, “Good morning, Bill” and your name is George.
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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.