The Maritime Advocate–Issue 821

Posted:

1. Nature notes
2. Fighting fraud
3. Wave data
4. 3D classification
5. ITIC reimbursement
6. Fuelled by coffee
7. Tech fund
8. IRS outlook
9. NCL port damages
10. Legal protest

Notices & Miscellany

Readers’ responses to our articles are very welcome and, where suitable, will be reproduced. Write to: contactus@themaritimeadvocate.com


1. Nature notes

By Michael Grey

It’s a new year and the world’s wildlife is clearly striking back, from the mayhem being caused by the excursions of a walrus (allegedly named Thor, but it could equally have answered to the name of Jim) on the UK coast, to the depredations of wolves in Germany. And across in Chesapeake Bay, the oysters have exacted an expensive revenge for last year’s spectacular grounding of the Ever Forward, with Evergreen, which might have been considered an innocent party in the incident, being fined $676,200 for mitigation of the natural resources which were disturbed by the ship’s unfortunate diversion.

The Maryland Board of Public Works, which exercises sovereignty over that part of the bay, has been conducting extensive enquiries about the damage done to the wildlife and has concluded that some 41 acres of oyster growing waters were impacted by the grounding and all the dredging necessary to re-float the ship. Curiously, the research revealed no discernable impact upon the oysters, although they were probably quite annoyed by the intrusion. Nevertheless, there must be financial penalties exacted for any disturbance to the natural resources of the United States, which has, over the years, become amazingly precise at its accounting for such impacts. Thus, the money which the ship owners will be billed can be employed in enhancing and re-seeding an equivalent area of oyster bars* in the extensively cultivated waters of the bay.

But the very place where the containership plunged into the shallows, as she failed to make the bend in the channel, was also a “favored habitat” for the native blue crabs which, during the winter months, like to burrow deep into the glutinous silt which held the vessel in its vice-like grip for more than a month. And here, the researchers, with surgical precision, concluded that 423 of these crustacea were “impacted” – which possibly meant rather more than being irritated – by the 117,000gt of ship on top of them. However, they (the Maryland Board, not the crabs) seem to conclude that in terms of the whole population, it is a very small impact and the crabs will probably be back this year, although they might be cautioned to dig a bit deeper.

Of course the US Coast Guard has also been digging more deeply into the causes of the grounding and have concluded that it was largely contributed to by the inattention of the pilot, who seemed to have been conducting a series of conversations on his mobile phone, as the ship sped along the channel. His license has been suspended. Mariners have understandably been issued with yet more warnings about the use of mobile phones and their impact upon good bridge management.

Mind you, it might take a certain degree of confidence for the master to sharply demand that the pilot pays full attention to his task in hand and switch off his b…. mobile. But that is what masters are paid for, especially when the channel is tricky and the ship very large. There has been no shortage of warnings about distraction from these instruments and no coincidence that it is a crime in several jurisdictions to use a mobile when driving a road vehicle. Why should ships be any different?

Intervention is not without its hazards. I recall the grounding some years ago in the Needles Channel of an inbound tanker when the master, who was supposed to be conning the ship, was bawling into his mobile phone at the agent, while the Second Officer was timidly trying to alert him to the imminent danger.

But let us return to wildlife. It only seems a very short time ago that a bulk carrier was refused a berth in New Zealand and packed off to sea after excessive fouling had been detected on her hull. The shipping world was initially aghast at the new problem being foisted on the industry as those worried about biofouling decided to demand clean bottoms in their waters and, what is more, were determined to police their regulations. Firms offering underwater scrubbing services, primarily made available to lower resistance and save fuel, were delighted at this environmental turn of events and even in the last couple of years, have become ever more active.

So, there was a reminder last month that bio-fouling needs to be taken very seriously when a cruise ship was told to go away from an Australian port and get cleaned up, on account of underwater fouling, probably as a result of a warning from the cousins across the Tasman. There might have been some surprise, as the upperworks of these ships are maintained in such a pristine condition, and the passengers were probably enraged, but doubtless the warning will have universally registered in the cruise ship community, that there may be a heavy bill for barnacles and no tolerance for tubeworms.

*In the US, oyster bars are where this delicious seafood is cultivated. In the UK, oyster bars are where they are eaten, with lemon and a sprinkling of tabasco.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

“I found this in the sea chest and there is an eight foot octopus in the rudder trunk!”  


2. Fighting fraud

Criminal fraud in its many and various manifestations within the global supply chain is seen by International freight transport insurer TT Club as a primary and growing threat.  Carrier fraud in particular is a dominant occurrence. Renewed vigilance is required and encouraged by the insurer.

The almost exclusive use of online facilities to process business transactions allows a myriad of fraudulent pursuits to find opportunities within the complexities of the global supply chain. These have many manifestations; from payment fraud that involves existing mandates and impersonation of executives to procurement fraud featuring false invoicing.

Carrier fraud, in which criminals imitate hauliers and other sub-contractors, including drivers with falsified documents, accounted for 84% of TT claims involving fraud or deception in 2022. TT is eager to pinpoint these risks and offer advice to industry on how to not just identify potential fraud but to minimise and avoid losses through them.

“No one – from freight forwarders, shippers, and carriers to container owners and logistics, ports, warehouse and depot operators – should underestimate how lucrative an industry fraud is. Using sophisticated, low-risk tactics, fraudsters can easily steal large amounts of money or consignments of cargo,” says Mike Yarwood, Managing Director, Loss Prevention at TT.

“Incidents of fraud that target international supply chains across the globe are not perpetrated by opportunistic criminals working in isolation but in the majority of cases are the work of sophisticated organised crime gangs. They have well-honed methodologies that are adaptable in the face of detection devices and changes in operating procedures, as the experience of recent disruption to the freight transport system has proved. Our awareness and readiness to protect our businesses must be stepped-up.”

TT has produced significant resources* to assist operators to shield themselves from fraudulent activities as it sees 15% of its cargo theft claims arise from fraud or deception.  Specific examples include the intentional submission of false invoices purportedly from an established supplier but actually generated by a fraudster infiltrating the online payment system and duplicated or inflated invoices. Other cases, falling into the category of mandate fraud, include criminal deception by manipulation of bank transfer details by a fraudster pretending to be an organisation paid regularly by the operator by hacking into the victim’s email traffic and imitating a genuine supplier.

TT found however that carrier fraud dominated its claims of this type last year.  There are instances of fake carriers intercepting haulage instructions from forwarders or shippers and posing as the authentic carrier; also falsifying cargo pick-up or delivery documentation to steal loads.

One common tactic is where fraudsters pose as forwarders using a freight exchange site and provide false instructions to a driver. They match a legitimate haulier to a shipper, facilitating the movement of goods. The fraudster then acts as a ‘middle man’ between these two legitimate companies, arranging the collection and directing the driver. Once the trucker has collected the goods, the fraudster provides new instructions to deliver to an alternative address where the cargo is stolen.

“A key aspect of this scenario is that the driver and the shipper are not in direct contact with one another,” explains Yarwood. “To avoid incidents such as this and other frauds it is crucial to make employees aware of the possibilities, to take extra care to verify documentation and instructions directly with customers and/or trusted partners, especially in pressure situations where carrier options might be in short supply or when there are particular time constraints.”

These are but samples of the various means employed by those intent of defrauding supply chain businesses. TT is determined to maintain a flow of information designed to help the industry combat such practices and to underline both their extent and devious nature in order to reduce financial losses and further disruption to fragile supply chains.

* TT Talk | Be alert to ‘carrier fraud’ (ttclub.com)
TT Talk | Procurement fraud (ttclub.com)
TT Talk | Mandate fraud and CEO fraud: do not be a victim (ttclub.com)
TT Talk | Identifying & avoiding fraud (ttclub.com)


3. Wave data

As part of IACS’ ongoing commitment to safe ships and clean seas, a long-term review of wave data has now concluded with the publication of a revised version (Rev.2) of IACS Recommendation No. 34 which provides advice on sea states as well as the wave spectrum, spreading, heading distribution and vessel speed.

Accurate wave data remains of paramount importance as this data is used to represent the ocean environment, underpinning wave load prescription, which in turn, greatly impacts hull structural requirements. IACS Recommendation No. 34 describes wave statistics intended for design of sea-going ships above 90 meters including the effect of bad weather avoidance. It is based on North Atlantic trade, which represents the most severe conditions ships tend to operate in.
Following indications that the representation of North Atlantic waves in the existing IACS Recommendation No. 34 may have become outdated, IACS began work in 2016 on a long-term review of wave data tasked with investigating if and how Recommendation No. 34 could be improved using more recent data sources, with modern data showing both an increase in mean significant wave height for the North Atlantic and that more extreme weather is being experienced in recent years, including the existence of rogue waves and the possible effects of climate change.

Several sources of wave data, including altimetry (measurements from satellite), hindcast model (re-analysis of past weather), and wave buoys were used to derive the scatter diagram from a combination of vessel tracks and hindcast wave data.  These new, more modern, data sources represent a significant improvement in the quality of data, given that previous wave data was collected in the second half of the 20th century from visual observations on board ships.

The IACS project team global hindcast datasets are built on global coverage over an extended period of time and have been analysed and validated through the use of measurements from buoys and altimeters. By taking into consideration publicly available AIS ship position data, this allowed the wave data to be mapped to actual ship position and time when generating the corresponding statistics whose analysis showed that bad weather avoidance had a significant impact on the wave statistics of the sea states encountered.

The resulting updated simple scatter diagram, using validated datasets of wave data and ship positions will facilitate more accurate estimation of design loads such as pressures, motions, accelerations, hull girder loads, all contributing to the improved standardisation of safety levels of the fleet. This data will be used by individual Classification Societies when reviewing their current rule requirements including, by IACS Members, for Common Structural Rules.  This significant new data source will also be of value to other industry stakeholders who use wave data for individual projects.

Commenting on the publication of this latest recommendation, IACS Secretary General, Robert Ashdown, said ‘This extensive, long-term project to update and improve one of the key data sources that go into modern ship design is indicative of IACS’ ongoing commitment to safer shipping and provides a valuable tool for all other stakeholders who rely on accurate wave data in their work’.
 


4. 3D classification

Damen Engineering has announced the completion of its first vessel design to be entirely created, reviewed and class-approved using 3D models in collaboration with   classification society Bureau Veritas and global maritime software provider NAPA.
 
The 2500 m3 dredger concept is the first Damen vessel concept to receive BV certification using 3D model-based classification approval (3D MBA) – a process in which class societies review and approve designs using 3D models rather than 2D drawings, the current norm. Following this successful implementation of 3D MBA, Damen has confirmed that the process is already being applied to further designs including a 1000 m3 and a 4000 m3 hopper dredger.
 
These 3D model-based designs and approvals are supported by NAPA’s cutting edge technology which enables Damen and BV to work collaboratively on the same 3D model throughout the design and review process. From the very first project, the deployment of 3D MBA has yielded positive results, streamlining communication and saving time. Critically, 3D MBA also eliminates a major potential source of errors, as Damen no longer needs to translate the 3D models it uses to design vessels into 2D drawings for class approvals, and then back again into 3D to implement the changes.
 
This first approval follows a partnership between NAPA and Bureau Veritas to implement 3D model based approvals using a neutral OCX file format generated by NAPA Designer that enables BV to perform its prescriptive rule checks and calculations utilizing its in-house tools MARS and VeriSTAR Hull.


5.  ITIC reimbursement

ITIC has reimbursed a ship agent US$ 94,000 after their request to cancel a slot they booked by mistake for transit through the Panama Canal was denied.

The ship agent was asked by their principal to enquire whether there was space to transit through the Panama Canal on a specific date.

However, the agent misunderstood the request to check if a slot would be available and instead booked the slot.

Ultimately, the principal did not require the slot at all but when the agent tried to void the booking, the canal authority denied their request.

They therefore had to cancel the booking which led to cancellation fees of US$ 94,000 being charged.

A mitigation request to the authority was denied. The principal sought recovery of these charges from the agent. The agent had no defence and the claim was settled in full.


6. Fuelled by coffee

‘Fuelled by Coffee’ is the second in a series of online galleries from the ‘Fire! Risk and Revelations’ exhibition by the Insurance Museum.

The first gallery, ‘Rising from the Ashes’ told the story of the birth of fire insurance back in 1667, following the historic Great Fire of London – the event which was instrumental in highlighting the need for fire insurance.

‘Fuelled by Coffee’, which is now live, will focus on the newly formed insurance companies that proliferated in the early 18th century and was inspired by how important English coffee houses were to network, debate and conduct business, including the famously renowned Lloyd’s Coffee House.

It will feature video interviews with industry experts, interesting facts and focus on fascinating objects from archives and museums, to illustrate how fire insurance developed over the years.

Reg Brown, Chairman of the Insurance Museum says – “Fire insurance has a fascinating history and I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring this story to life through extensive research and strong collaborations with experts in their field. I hope the online galleries produced by the Insurance Museum will serve as an inspiring platform and open the world of insurance to many new audiences.”

Howard Benge, Director of the Insurance Museum says the second online gallery continues the story of early fire insurance and the coffee houses that proliferated in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Through further support and funding from the industry, the plan is to produce further exhibitions, a pop-up museum with educational facilities and ultimately, a permanent museum to be based in EC3, in the heart of the City of London.

The ‘Fuelled By Coffee’ gallery can be viewed here – https://insurance.museum/fuelled-by-coffee
 


7. Tech fund 

Commenting the recent announcement by the UK Department for Transport of a £7 million tech fund to decarbonise freight and boost innovation, Stephen Parker, recently appointed Director General of the British International Freight Association says:”One consequence of Brexit and the pandemic has been the spotlight that it has placed on the importance of freight and logistics on the health of the nation’s economy. So, we welcome the Road Minister’s and the Government’s further recognition of the vital role that the freight industry plays in underpinning the economy and keeping Britain’s trade moving.

“BIFA members face requests from their clients to demonstrate how they are incorporating environmentally-focused policies into their business activities.

“So, any initiative that may help make the movement of freight more efficient, resilient and greener, is also welcomed by BIFA’s members that manage the physical supply chains of so many companies trading to and from the UK; as well as the domestic market.

“BIFA hopes that £7.0 million shared by up to 36 small and medium-sized enterprises will be enough to help them work with industry-leading companies to develop new technology and working practices that enable efficiencies to be developed, which help to reduce emissions across the sector.”

The full text of the DfT announcement can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/7-million-tech-fund-to-decarbonise-freight-and-boost-innovation
 


8.  IRS outlook

Last year was another significant and positive year for Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) as the organisation goes from strength to strength. IRS has once again achieved strong and sustained business growth with inroads into new markets. The last 12 months has seen fleet additions of over 200 ships with more than 7 million GT – and an increased global geographical presence.

Decarbonisation has remained high on the agenda for the organisation as the industry looks to reduce carbon emissions. Several initiatives have been taken towards the development of alternative fuels. IRS has conducted successful trials using biofuels with encouraging results. Rules have been developed for Ammonia and Hydrogen-fuelled vessels, as well as Fixed Offshore Wind Turbine installations.

Classification of the first hybrid battery-powered catamaran, built by Indian shipbuilder Cochin Shipyard, was another highlight. The catamaran ferry, designed for shore charging and certified to carry 100 passengers, is propelled by a hybrid-electric propulsion system by means of lithium titanium oxide (LTO) batteries and DG Sets. IRS has developed Guidelines for battery powered vessels and the vessel was assigned with the notation “BATTERY PROP “.

The organisation has initiated a digitalisation journey along with a leading industry partner based on global best practices and adoption experience. It will focus on Digital Twin concept, data analytics, knowledge management as well as life cycle management of assets.

 In addition, IRS continued its drive to improve inland vessel safety throughout India, having played an integral role in the drafting of the Inland Vessels Act 2021. Based on the IV Act 2021, IRS drafted rules in consultation with Ministry, State Governments and various other stakeholders. The draft Rules and Regulations for Construction and Classification of Inland Waterways Ships are ship-type specific to ensure safety of cargo, assets and the environment.

IRS signed MOUs with an array of shipyards such as GRSE, HSL, and GSL. Agreements were also penned with a host of prominent educational institutions, including NITIE and Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati.


9. NCL port damages

Norwegian Cruise Line must pay $110 million in damages for use of a port that Cuba’s government confiscated in 1960, a US judge ruled recently, a milestone for Cuban-Americans seeking compensation for Cold-War era asset seizures, according to a Reuters report.

The decision by US District Judge Beth Bloom in Miami follows a March ruling that the use of the Havana Cruise Port Terminal constituted trafficking in confiscated property owned by the plaintiff, Delaware-registered Havana Docks Corp.

Judgment is entered in favour of the plaintiff Havana Docks Corporation and against Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings,   the decision reads. “Plaintiff is awarded $109,848,747.87 in damages,” it says, adding that Norwegian should also pay an additional $3 million in legal fees and costs.


10. Legal protest

Charity Human Rights at Sea has joined with a range of civil society organisations in protesting a new Italian legal ruling.

“We, civil organisations engaged in search and rescue (SAR) activities in the central Mediterranean Sea, express our gravest concerns regarding the latest attempt by a European government to obstruct assistance to people in distress at sea.  

A new law decree, signed by the Italian President on 2 January 2023, will reduce rescue capacities at sea and thereby make the central Mediterranean, one of the world’s deadliest migration routes, even more dangerous. The decree ostensibly targets SAR NGOs, but the real price will be paid by people fleeing across the central Mediterranean and finding themselves in situations of distress.

Since 2014, civilian rescue ships are filling the void that European States have deliberately left after discontinuing their state-led SAR operations. NGOs have played an essential role in filling this gap and preventing more lives being lost at sea, while consistently upholding applicable law.

Despite this, EU Member States – most prominently Italy – have for years attempted to obstruct civilian SAR activities through defamation, administrative harassment as well as criminalising NGOs and activists.  

There already exists a comprehensive legal framework for SAR, namely the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR Convention). However, the Italian Government has introduced yet another set of rules for civilian SAR vessels, which impede rescue operations and put people who are in distress at sea further at risk

Among other rules, the Italian government requests civilian rescue ships to immediately head to Italy after each rescue. This delays further lifesaving operations, as ships usually carry out multiple rescues over the course of several days. Instructing SAR NGOs to proceed immediately to a port, while other people are in distress at sea, contradicts the captain’s obligation to render immediate assistance to people in distress, as enshrined in the UNCLOS.

This element of the decree is compounded by the Italian government’s recent policy to assign ‘distant ports’ more frequently, which can be up to four days of navigation from ships’ current location.

Both factors are designed to keep SAR vessels out of the rescue area for prolonged periods and reduce their ability to assist people in distress. NGOs are already overstretched due to the absence of a state-run SAR operation and the decreased presence of rescue ships will inevitably result in more people tragically drowning at sea.”    

The full statement can be found on the Human Rights at Sea website.


Notices & Miscellany

Consultative status

Charity Human Rights at Sea has announced that the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) has formally recognised the organisation and granted it “Special Consultative Status”. Martyn Illingworth, Head of Operations said: “This status will allow our specialist NGO to directly participate in the work of the UN by sharing innovations, findings and related reports; forming beneficial partnerships with governments, the private sector and civil society to elevate awareness and widen the collective platform to address human rights abuses at sea.”

SSY appointments

Simpson Spence Young (SSY), the world’s largest independent shipbroker, has today announced the opening of their new office in Seoul, Korea.

Headed up by newly appointed partner Toby English and Regional Director Jun Seo, the team will focus on Sale and Purchase in addition to exploring further potential growth areas for the business. The new presence in Seoul is the 8th in the APAC region for SSY, taking the total number of global SSY offices to 22.

Effective from the 1 January 2023, the partnership has welcomed the following individuals: Toby English (Sale & Purchase – London), Phillip Tripodakis (LNG – London), Robert Boles (Tanker Chartering – London), Eugene Quek (Dry Projects – Singapore), Ahmed El Masry (Dry Cargo Chartering – Singapore), and Jordi Maymi (Chemical Chartering – Singapore), taking the total number of partners to 27.

Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings: contactus@themaritimeadvocate.com


And finally,

(With thanks to Paul Dixon)

Pauly and Maury are having a drink at the local pub.
Pauly:  “My wife has the worst memory I ever heard of.”
Maury:  “Forgets everything, eh?”
Pauly:  “No, remembers everything.”


As the passengers settled in on a West Coast commuter flight a flight attendant announced, “We’d like you folks to help us welcome our new co-pilot. He’ll be performing his first commercial landing for us today, so be sure to give him a big round of applause when we come to a stop.”

The plane made an extremely bumpy landing, bouncing hard two or three times before taxiing to a stop. Still, the passengers applauded.

Then the attendant’s voice came over the intercom, “Thanks for flying with us. And don’t forget to let our co-pilot know which landing you liked best.”


While waiting for my first appointment in the reception room of a new dentist, I noticed his certificate, which bore his full name.

Suddenly, I remembered that a tall, handsome boy with the same name had been in my high school class almost 50 years ago.

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was too old to have been my classmate. After he had examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended the local high school.

“Yes,” he replied.

“When did you graduate?” I asked.

He answered, “In 1953.”

“Why, you were in my class!” I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely and then asked, “What did you teach?”


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 edition 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.

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