1. Age should not wither them
2. Steel advantage
3. Freight crime
4. Navigation survey
5. Container consultation
7. Crew survey
8. Shakespeare debate
9. Testing times
10. Investigations partnership
Notices & Miscellany
Readers’ responses to our articles are very welcome and, where suitable, will be reproduced. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Age should not wither them
By Michael Grey
“The old ships were always the best”. That’s what sailors of my generation used to say, usually after they had safely left the more ancient members of the fleet and were sailing on something rather more modern. Nevertheless, it is a belief I have always clung to, and still shake my head in sorrow to hear of some vessel in the prime of its life being sent for recycling, invariably on account of an unforeseen downturn in the market for its services, which has reduced its value below that of scrap.
So I was sad to read in the excellent Splash 24 daily e-zine a report suggesting that the Indian authorities are soon to prevent their shipowners from purchasing any tanker, bulk carrier or general cargo ship which is more than 20 years of age. Of even more importance to the international ship operator will be the notice of the government’s intentions to prevent any ships in these categories, of over 25 years, from entering the nation’s ports. If you think that a 20 year-old ship is nicely run in, this will be, to say the least, disappointing.
It could be that this is a prudent safety measure, based on the experience of the country’s surveyors and port state control officers, who have become frustrated with discovering deficiencies aboard ill-maintained visitors to their ports. It is the usual response after accidents involving elderly vessels in which their structural state was thought to be a contributor to their loss or a case of serious pollution. Readers will probably recall the response to the Erica and Prestige tanker casualties, when the use of elderly tankers was very bad news indeed, with oil companies (which can afford to be judgemental about these matters) issuing blanket bans on ships of 15 years old. Insurers too have been moved to respond in like fashion in the past.
Those issuing such rules will probably rationalise their decision by suggesting that it will encourage newbuilding and modernisation, with more productive and (these days) more sustainable vessels, picking up the trade from these older, less efficient ships. That is almost certainly a positive consequence, but one hopes that the regulators are alert to some of the potential negatives. Not least is the fact that if a ship is to be condemned before her fourth Special Survey, it is asking a lot of its owner to spend money on its maintenance for the second half of this short life.
Maintenance really matters and it is something which, if it is once neglected, is very difficult to catch up. It is also maintaining value, so if the vessel is going to be no more than scrap value before twenty years have elapsed, there is very little point. Maybe I did something wrong, but I spent nearly three years aboard ships that were more than 35 years old, and even if the lights went out occasionally, made money for the owners, and went to the scrapyards with no structural wastage under the thick layers of paint that had been lavished upon them all their lives. Such policies might even encourage designers and builders to offer “short-life” ships, which would be appalling, although you would hope class and insurers might counsel against such an idea.
Properly looked after, well-built ships last. I know individual or selective examples don’t illustrate trends, but I remember seeing the 364,769dwt Berge Stahl, coming into Rotterdam on her thirtieth birthday, and she looked almost “as new”, keeping going for nearly five more years. Check out some of the units in the European ferry fleet, which seem to keep going for ever, beautifully maintained by their owners. And if you are looking for owners who seem to treasure well-maintained older ships, take a look down the huge fleet list of the giant MSC, which, beside their new “mega” vessels, seems to demonstrate the value of ships well into the autumn of their lives. I imagine they would be quite narked at some Indian regulation restricting their visits to ships under any specific age.
Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List
2. Steel advantage
Investors in middle aged dry bulk tonnage may be cheered by the impact of sustained higher recycled steel values, according to research commissioned by the Baltic Exchange.
Analysis of the dry bulk carrier values undertaken by consultancy Zuoz Industrial looks at the potential impact of longer-term higher ship recycling values on five year old tonnage. With recycled steel an increasingly popular choice, thanks to its lower carbon footprint when compared with virgin steel, the paper discusses whether higher steel recycle values are a longer-term trend. Although down 20% since its April 2022 high, the price of lightweight steel is ~$520/ldt and more than double the historic average since 2009.
“Should the current multi-year higher cycle value turn out to be a fundamental risk trend supported by some of the evolving demand factors, the fundamental risk of investing in middle aged dry bulk tonnage, particularly in softer freight markets, will have decreased,” says report author Urs Dür.
The Baltic Exchange publishes a set of investor indices for the major dry bulk sectors which includes the Baltic Residual Risk Index, a ratio of the residual value of the vessel against its recycling value, and the Baltic Residual Value Index, which calculates the value by taking the written down cost of a five year old vessel by fixing the earnings on the basis of a five year timecharter and adding back the operating costs.
The Baltic Exchange Investor Indices (BII) are an easy to use online analytical dashboard displaying data relevant to vessel investment decisions, residual value, health of earnings, spot and five-year timecharter earnings, purchase & recycling values, and running costs.
They offer a high level of clarity and transparency for investors in capesize, panamax, supramax and handysize vessel types.Tanker and gas carrier assets will also be added to the service at a later date.
Subscribers to the Baltic Exchange Investor Indices are offered a health of earnings index which compares spot income with daily running costs; a residual value index which provides an implied write-down value of the vessel over five years; and an implied residual risk assessment which gives the recycling steel value of the vessel as a ratio of its residual value.
Click here to download a full copy of the report.
3. Wave data
The National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) is a police unit with a freight team that collates, analyses and disseminates Road Freight Crime information across England and Wales. The unit has been recently tasked by the UK Government’s Home Office with delivering a Problem Profile on freight crime. TT Club is supporting NaVCIS Freight and its report with the aim of obtaining increased public funding to address the situation.
The ten-thousand-word report entitled Profile of HGV, Freight & Cargo crime across England & Wales 2022 now completed, covers a range of aspects from types of crime to varied methodologies and from locational analysis to direct and indirect costs to cargo owners and the economy overall. It also has a number of recommendations on how such crimes can be combatted.
The report and other NaVCIS Freight analysis estimated that the value of losses across England and Wales in 2022 amounted to £66.6 million. There were 4,995 HGV and cargo crime notifications received last year (with data on reports still coming in) and NaVCIS Freight participated in 284 arrests, supporting a further 43 crime operations involving this type of crime. The unit’s work has in part been responsible for the reduction in the indirect cost to the national economy from an estimated £700 million in 2019 to £428 million in 2021.
“This is still an alarmingly high level of loss despite the excellent work of the NaVCIS unit,” says Mike Yarwood, managing director, loss prevention at freight transport insurance specialist TT Club. “Recognition by the UK Government of the need for action to combat such crime is welcomed and we are hopeful that the NaVCIS Freight Crime problem profile will instil some urgency into such action and elicit financial support. In the meantime, the unit relies entirely on funding from industry including the insurance community. TT urges entities that don’t yet support NaVCIS Freight to proffer their support as we do ourselves.”
Key conclusions outlined in the Freight Crime report are:
- Freight crime is committed by Organised Crime Groups (OCGs), prepared to travel hundreds of miles; highly skilled, determined and mobile criminals, aware of police tactics.
- This is a low risk and high reward crime, regrettably low on police priorities due to available resources.
- Supply sector under intense pressure from effects of crime, which causes disruption and delay, impacting the viability of companies, retention of staff, and investment in the UK.
- Lack of a central crime category or tag means crime largely hidden, lenient criminal justice outcomes following prosecutions and low priority for action by government.
- Lack of investment in infrastructure, particularly in improvement of parking security standards, to be sufficient to deter criminals.
- Direct public health risk may arise from stolen medicines and food stuffs.
“Our report contains wide-ranging recommendations in order to rectify, or at least reduce the effects of what we believe is a damaging situation at all levels – to individuals, consumers, retail and manufacturing sectors, logistics and transport companies, insurers and the national economy as a whole. We have put forward this advice to Government by way of this report,” DCI Brett Mallon, Head of unit at NaVCIS . “Investment in, and legislation surrounding secure parking is not the least of these. There are law enforcement and policing reforms regarding freight crime that are also urgently required and, of course through the recognition of the seriousness of the issue, a significant increase in resources as well.”
A recent example of NaVCIS’ effectiveness in combatting these crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice is provided by Operation Luminary involving eighteen months work as a result of which three criminals were jailed for a range of offences related to the theft of lorries and trailers containing cargo to the value of over a million pounds.* The methods used were sophisticated and included the use of advanced technology such as scanners, key cloning equipment and tracker radios to trace vehicles and block communication signals. With NaVCIS’ help further successful prosecutions are anticipated surrounding serious freight offences across the country.
For its part TT Club will continue to support the work of NaVCIS Freight, participating in information sharing, investment and publicising the excellent work of the unit. “Policing authorities and central Government must be brought to understand the extent of both the direct and consequential losses sustained as a result of this less recognised trend in freight crime,” concludes Yarwood.”
4. Navigation survey
The Nautical Institute has launched a navigational survey into shipping traffic in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. As one of the most important strategic maritime passages in the world, linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore are already carrying more than 100,000 vessel movements per year. That number is certain to increase in the future with the rapid economic growth in Asia and the development of ports along the Straits. The Nautical Institute (NI) survey will gather data that can be used to improve safety for ships and mariners operating in the region.
Launched by The NI’s Singapore Branch, the survey sets out to identify the heavy demands facing ships’ crew as they negotiate the busy Straits, with particular emphasis on entering and leaving the port of Singapore. The survey also invites respondents to share their views on how the situation could be improved.
Capt Yves Vandenborn , honorary president of the Singapore Branch of The Nautical Institute, said: “The NI is constantly striving to improve safety for shipping around the world, particularly in regions where the challenges are greatest. There has already been a marked increase in shipping movements in the STRAITREP Sector 7 and it is anticipated that this will increase in coming years. Furthermore, the vessels transiting the Straits are becoming larger and faster adding to the challenges faced by crew.
“We are seeking feedback from the shipping community in order to enhance navigational safety in this region which supports the bulk of maritime trade between Europe and Pacific Asia.”
The Nautical Institute would like to hear from navigating officers with actual and recent experience navigating in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. The survey is online and only takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
5. Container consultation
The British International Freight Association has welcomed the news of the launch by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) of a public consultation on the latter’s proposed recommendation to UK government regarding the retained Liner Shipping Consortia Block Exemption Regulation.
However, BIFA Director General, Steve Parker, says that whilst the trade association will be encouraging its members that are operational in the deep-sea container market to read the proposal document, and share their responses; it hopes that trade has not been presented with a fait accompli.
Parker says: “BIFA was somewhat surprised that as part of the announcement, the CMA issued a provisional position which in effect only gives one position – the extension of a potentially modified CBER into UK legislation.”
The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on whether the UK government should keep a similar block exemption regime for the liner shipping industry, as the retained CBER originating from EU law will expire on 24th April 2024.
In the recent past, the UK trade association for freight forwarding and logistics companies has said that its members are extremely concerned that practices undertaken by container shipping lines, as well as easements and exemptions provided to them under competition law, have been distorting the operations of the free market to the detriment of international trade.
Parker adds: “BIFA, and its members, are not anti-shipping line. The association wants to ensure that there is a suitable balance between them as carriers, and our members as customers, points made during meetings with the CMA in 2022.
“The facts speak for themselves. During a period that has seen EU block exemption regulations carried forward into UK law, there has been huge market consolidation.
“The pandemic highlighted and accelerated this development, and contributed to dreadful service levels and hugely inflated rates, with carriers allocating vessels to the most profitable routes with little regard to the needs of their customers.
“The market conditions have changed significantly since last year when we were pressing for this review, however, the potential for issues resulting from the carrier’s vertical integration of their operations remain.”
Korean Register (KR) has launched maritime cyber security officer e-learning training in conjunction with maritime technology company SIRM Italia. The training will be delivered to Oltremare, a company in Assarmatori National Shipping Association which provides training to its members.
The new course covers administrative security and cyber risk assessment as well as understanding and practice of maritime cyber security. The course is designed for ship officers who are required to undertake cyber security related audits and surveys.
Lee Hyungchul, KR Chairman, said: “With so many computer-based systems onboard, ships are vulnerable to cyber risk. Therefore, comprehensive cyber security preparedness is now essential for any maritime industry. This e-learning training allows superintendents and crews at all levels to continue their training, to understand and take actions to manage cyber security risk. We will provide quality training to European customers, starting with providing this cyber security e-learning training to OLTREMARE.”
Claudio Aleandri, CEO of SIRM Italia said: “With rapid advancement in technology, shifting cyber threat landscape and increased digitalization, organisations are exposed to greater cybersecurity risks that may potentially have an adverse impact to their business objectives. It is imperative to prioritise and plan defenses to avert those risks effectively. Organizations should be able to identify ‘what could go wrong’ and determine the levels of cybersecurity risk that they are exposed to, developing adequate assessment and adapting ICT infrastructure. Improving an internal cyber risk awareness culture, through dedicated training, is the strategic approach to protect the organizations and facilitate their governance.”
KR has long-established expertise in this area, and developed its cyber security technical and certification services in line with international security standards including ISO 27001, IEC 62443, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, IMO and BIMCO cyber security guidelines. Also, KR has provided cyber security technical and certification services for companies and ships since 2018, and cyber security type approval services for equipment or system installed on ships in compliance with IEC 62443 4-2 and IEC 61162-460 standards since 2019.
The online training course can be found at https://edu.orangecq.com/p/sirm_courses.
7. Crew survey
The pandemic challenged many aspects of well-being and marked a new era around a person’s physical, mental, and social health factors. The shipping industry had already put mental health under the microscope even before COVID-19, considering that seafarer’s work is highly demanding. However a holistic approach to well-being is needed focusing not only on seafarers’ mental health but also seafarers’ physical health and social life onboard aswell as seafarers’ happiness.
There are many factors that can improve the quality of life onboard and ensure a happier crew. With that in mind, the SEAFiT Crew Survey (including Wellness & Well-being elements) is an industry initiative to identify trends, provide feedback to all industry stakeholders and provide a roadmap for embracing a new well-being mindset on an organizational and industry level.
The survey is scheduled to run within Q1 & Q2 of 2023, with preliminary results being released on an ongoing basis and final reports later within the year. This will be our 3rd survey on crew welfare as we have had similar initiatives conducted during 2021 and 2019.
This survey has a participation target of 5K ships and 100K seafarers which aims to provide a full picture with structured feedback of seafarers’ physical, mental and social well-being.
Have your say and participate in our survey to give rise to a new well-being mind set.
Click here to take the survey!
8. Shakespeare debate
Dennis Bryant, former editor of Bryant’s Maritime Newsletter, recently published his novel, Shakespeare’s Bible. This work of historical fiction explores whether it was a mere coincidence that many of Shakespeare’s plays and the King James Version of the Holy Bible were written at the same time and in the same location, or whether there was a hidden connection.
More information is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Shakespeares-Bible-Dennis-L-Bryant/dp/B0BQ9RT3F9/
9. Testing times
Lloyd’s Register’s new report, ‘Testing Times – The vital role of ship fuel oil assessment and quantity verification in an uncertain era’, estimates that more than one million metric tons of off-specification or non-compliant fuels are detected each year, costing ship operators between $27,000-$50,000 per incident.
Published in collaboration with marine innovation consultancy Thetius, the report highlights why the introduction of biofuel oils, growing prevalence of bunker licensing schemes along with upcoming changes to ISO standards for marine grade fuels, make it more vital than ever for ship operators to receive the correct advice and oversight on bunker procurement and refuelling operations.
Download the report now and explore the market, technology, and regulatory trends of fuel oil bunkering as the industry navigates its way through the decarbonisation and digitalisation challenges of the 21st century.
10. Investigation partnership
The UK-based Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme (Maritime) has joined forces with Human Rights at Sea through a partnership Memorandum of Understanding to share resources, investigate incidents of egregious human rights abuse at sea and pursue justice for victims.
CHIRP’s Director Maritime, Adam Parnell, said: “Many safety incident reports that we receive arise from breaches of regulatory and legal obligations which are in place to protect the safety of seafarers and the environment. This Memorandum of Understanding allows CHIRP and Human Rights at Sea to work collaboratively in identifying and addressing these issues.”
Human Rights at Sea CEO, David Hammond, said: “This new partnership backed by our respective Board’s support means our NGO can confidentially access data of incidents to be investigated with the aim of supporting pathways to justice for victims of human rights abuse at sea. It will further inform both our organisations as to lessons identified to help mitigate the factors triggering these unnecessary incidents.”
CHIRP Maritime aims to improve safety at sea worldwide through its confidential and independent reporting programme.
It welcomes safety-related reports from anywhere in the world and from all parts of the maritime industry, including commercial seafarers, fishers, recreational and leisure mariners, and anyone who works in a port or harbour. It also welcomes reports from members of the public who use ports, harbours or other means of maritime transport, such as ferry and cruise vessel passengers.
Human Rights at Sea will act as one of the key stakeholders to which CHIRP Maritime reports can be reviewed and accordingly acted upon. The NGO will also act as a conduit into the UN system through its UN ECOSOC accreditation, as required.
Notices & Miscellany
Mare Forum Singapore
The 6th Mare Forum Singapore is set to take place on February 23, 2023 at 13.00 to 17.30 at the Conrad Centennial Hotel.
Distraction on the bridge
Following our story about dangers of distraction on the bridge in MA 821, Manjit Handa had the following comments to make.
With reference to the dangers of distraction on the bridge, mobile phones are not the only elements of risk.
Over the last 20 yrs, many devices have found their way into a permanent abode in the wheel house. There has never been a risk assessment concerning these hazards.
a. PCs that are connected by LAN for access to the SMS, periodic reports and records. Deck officers spend a good amount of time working these PCs while the lookout stands in the front. Sometimes, there is no lookout either. Even if there were a lookout, his qualifications and training are not the same as that of a NWKO. He might report the appearance of another vl or a buoy, but he might not understand the significance of a v/l aspect. I have had an occasion where the vl drifted off course and the OS had no idea what the alarm was all about. He failed to report to the OOW who was busy in the chartroom working on reports.
b. There was an unwritten rule (or may be written some where into the innards of GMDSS handbook) that all devices should have a secondary unit on the bridgefront to acknowledge the alarms. These alarms are now scattered everywhere, and some not located in front.
c. The passage planning computer has taken the space originally meant for the paper chart, but a check would reveal that it contains much more than just passage plans.
d. Overall, the wheel house of today needs to be examined to assess the hazards that could contribute to a navigational accident.
Specifically, Masters can conduct their own risk assessment to reduce distractions.
Human rights law at sea
The Wilton Park Conference Report on “Human Rights Law at Sea” has recently been published. The conferencewas initiated as a direct response to the 2021 House of Lords United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea inquiry (UNCLOS), and whether it was fit for purpose in the 21st Century. Wilton Park enabled selected experts and practitioners to come together with the aim of exploring and articulating the role of human rights law at sea and to deliberate on how practical barriers to their effective application might best be addressed.
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(With thanks to Paul Dixon)
Office Inspirational Posters
If you do a good job and work hard, you may get a job with a better company someday.
The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off due to budget cuts.
Sure, you may not like working here, but we pay your rent.
If you think we’re a bad firm, you should see our rivals!
Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings – they did it by killing all those who opposed them.
A person who smiles in the face of adversity… probably has a scapegoat.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE….. We make great money! We have great benefits! We do no work! We are union members!
2 days without a Human Rights Violation!
If at first you don’t succeed – try management.
It’s only unethical if you get caught.
Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
Never quit until you have another job.
Work harder slaves! The beatings will continue until morale improves.
If you can read this, you’re not working!
Hang in there, retirement is only thirty years away!
Go the extra mile – It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.
Pride, Commitment, Teamwork: words we use to get you to work for free.
Succeed in spite of management.
Work: It isn’t just for sleeping anymore.
There are two kinds of people in life: people who like their jobs, and people who don’t work here anymore.
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