1. Beating up ship operators
2. Drydock tool
3. Trapped seafarers
4. Shipping MOU
5. Vessel S&P
6. Ukrainian seafarers
7. Inland navigation safety
8. Bullying statement
9. Tug casualty
10. Port vulnerabilities
Notices & Miscellany
Readers’ responses to our articles are very welcome and, where suitable, will be reproduced. Write to: email@example.com
1. Beating up ship operators
By Michael Grey
We need the shipping industry more than ever – it’s essential to modern life, so why do so many different interests spend their days beating it up? It was a question that occurred to me when reading about the latest draft guidelines about measures to reduce the impact of underwater radiated noise, which (the guidelines, not the noise), have emerged from the International Maritime Organisation. These will have been promoted by the burgeoning number of NGOs which seem to have inserted themselves into an organisation which, we ought to remind ourselves, was once primarily engaged in the improvement of maritime safety.
It’s not that we should be ignoring the noise that humans have been making in the seas and oceans ever since the first mechanically driven ship appeared. Maybe it even predates this; you might imagine the dolphins of the Mediterranean becoming quite agitated at the threshing of all those banks of oars splashing around the fleets of triremes in classical times. And submariners tell me that noise from propellers and on-board machinery can be detected at very long ranges.
I have never been underwater in a submarine, but if you dine aboard the Master Mariners’ HQ ship Wellington, in the old boiler room well below the surface, you can clearly hear the noise of the passing commuter craft and pleasure boats as they pass. But whether this sort of thing annoys or confuses sea creatures, one can only surmise, although the activists are quite dogmatic about the subject. And the issue is now being seized upon to proscribe other maritime activities, like offshore windfarm development, on account of the underwater noise it all makes.
It won’t be cheap to mitigate either, although it is said that better propeller design reducing any cavitation makes things quieter (while improving performance). Covering the screws in graphene, or boring holes in the blades, are strategies also being advocated by some experts. Ships might have to go even slower, or undertake massive diversions to avoid confusing sea creatures. Initially, there will be the requirements for yet another “management plan”, which must be completed, along with all the rest of the endless strategies that tabulate proposed emission reductions, count the number of barnacles on the bottom, and itemise the impact that the ship will make upon the environment from the day her keel is laid to the final snapping of the scrappers’ shears upon her remains. And that is just the start.
But to most ship operators who learn of these new problems, the reaction will probably be one of weary resignation – a sort of “what on earth will they think of next to make it harder to earn a crust running ships?” And you might be able to sympathise with these thoughts, although they won’t be able to voice them out loud, lest the legions on anti-social media descend upon them, with enraged activists gluing themselves to their office doors.
If you study the cumulative burdens that have descended upon the shipping industry over the decades, and I have been looking at it for more than sixty years, there is a sort of malign pattern that seems to be followed by so many of these technical advances that are devised to mitigate shipping’s impact upon the planet, or, indeed, many of the developments per se. It’s not that they are bad in themselves – it is just that they very often have unforeseen consequences, or once out at sea, just don’t work as they should. Think of the mess we got into over antifouling with one type of coating being required to prevent harming marine life being found even more harmful than that which it replaced. Ballast management systems which, er, fail to manage ballast sufficiently or fall to bits because of the corrosion. There are terrible memories of oil separation equipment that just didn’t perform as it was advertised.
More recently there arrived scrubbers which seemed to work perfectly, but could not be used because of objections from coastal states. Ships were forced to employ cold ironing using electricity from coal-fired power stations. It’s a list as long as your arm, of equipment or procedures that were prescribed for all the right reasons, but for some reason, failed to deliver the goods or otherwise disappointed with unforeseen snags. It sometimes seemed that the wretched shipping industry was seen as a bottomless pit of money, or was just a test-bed for regulatory experimentation.
It doesn’t fill the average ship operator with a great deal of confidence as the next generation of shipping is expected to cascade the industry down to the nirvana of “net zero” fuels, with some of the new fuels appearing to contain very lean energy, or offer some quite frightening characteristics. You will think of your own concerns about this energetic progress, but if I lived near the docks, I might have something to say about a ship with a gigantic tank of ammonia parked on the afterdeck, berthed just over the dock wall. That one hasn’t come up yet, but maybe it should be considered.
Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List
2. Drydock tool
Global Survival Technology solutions provider Survitec has introduced a new, formalised pre-inspection solution as part of its dry dock safety service to help ship owners and managers optimise and expedite dry docking schedules.
As part of Survitec’s fully managed, “safety-first” dry docking solution, the pre-inspection service is designed to support the servicing and inspection of all onboard safety and lifesaving equipment.
A qualified service technician boards the ship during normal port operations to assess and verify the scope of work, with the added benefit of helping to ensure dry dockings don’t overrun and ships leave on time, fully certified and within budget.
“It smooths the entire dry docking process,” said Survitec technical sales manager, Jan-Oskar Lid. “Advance planning pays dividends in terms of efficiency and transparency for owners and operators to plan and budget accordingly with a full scope of work planned and ready before the vessel enters dry dock.
“A pre-inspection does not have to take place in the same yard or location where the dry dock will take place. This is the advantage of our global service station network.”
As part of the service, Survitec teams review and set out a schedule of works in line with regulatory requirements. This includes collating and reviewing the necessary safety certificates and documentation and liaising with the shipyard and suppliers to expedite parts, procurement and equipment servicing.
An additional benefit is that it can also reduce the risk of any unexpected work cropping up during dry docking that could lead to unplanned delays, additional cost and lost revenue.
“The value of a pre-inspection call or visit has been demonstrated time and again over our many years’ experience of safety servicing,” explained Lid.
Flexibility is a key benefit of the Survitec dry dock safety service. Referring to one project where LNG vessels were initially scheduled to dry dock in Qatar, Lid said: “At the last minute, the customer notified us that two of the vessels would be shifted to Singapore. This was not a problem for us as we have the network and resources to accommodate the change of plan.”
As Finn Lende-Harung, Commercial Director – Fire, explained: “We are fully conversant with IMO, Flag, Class and brand requirements for the different equipment and service intervals. We also have a global servicing network and the reach to service at all the major dry dock locations worldwide, in line with a vessel’s operational profile.”
Dry dockings are highly complex projects,” continued Lende-Harung. “There can never be any cast iron guarantees that everything will go completely to plan, but our service affords ship owners and managers confidence of compliance, cost transparency and greater certainty that vessels will complete on schedule and with a clean certificate without any unnecessary down-time or drain on resources.”
3. Trapped seafarers
February 24th marks one year since the onset of the war in Ukraine. The International Chamber of Shipping, in collaboration with over 30 other organisations and companies, recently wrote a joint open letter urgently calling on the UN Secretary General – António Guterres – to prioritise the immediate release of the 331 seafarers and 62 ships that remain trapped in Ukrainian ports.
In the letter published this week, the signatories said “As we approach one year since the start of the war in Ukraine, the co-signatories of this letter write to you to highlight the 331 seafarers still trapped on vessels in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. We call on the United Nations, and on your diplomatic influence, to address this matter urgently and evacuate all remaining seafarers and ships.
“Our seafarers are the heart of our industry and cannot be forgotten. For 12 months now they have been caught up in a crisis far beyond their control. Simply doing their jobs cannot come at the expense of their lives.
“We recognise and celebrate the United Nations, and your leadership, for the Black Sea Grain Initiative that the UN successfully brokered with Türkiye between Ukraine and Russia. This has allowed safe passage of critical grain and fertiliser shipments from Ukraine to populations most in need, and curbed food prices from spiralling out of control. We are committed to supporting the continued success of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, however this cannot come at the expense of innocent seafarers’ lives. Action must be taken now.
“Without our seafarers, movement of the vital grain shipments out of Ukrainian ports would not have been possible. While there are challenges to evacuating seafarers and their ships, it must nonetheless be a top priority. Otherwise, we risk the lives of our seafarers, and this is unacceptable.”
4. Shipping MOU
The Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry (SDM) and the UK Department for Transport have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further strengthen shipping relations between the two states.
The agreement includes a range of commitments designed to address current challenges faced by the sector. Drafted to align with the needs and objectives of each country, the MoU aims to stimulate economic development on a mutually advantageous basis, with a specific focus on driving progress in shipping’s response to climate change issues. Joint scientific and technical workshops, conferences, training programmes, seminars, and courses, amongst other initiatives, will be implemented to drive shipping towards its sustainability goals.
Core focusses of the agreement also include maritime safety and security, and pollution from ships. The two states are also committing to jointly address issues around piracy, fraudulent ship registrations, seafarer welfare and training, and the implementation of transport-related sanctions that impact the sector. Both parties pledge to promote cooperation in shipping within the framework of international and regional councils such as the International Maritime Organization and the Commonwealth.
“Collaboration has always been a cornerstone of Cyprus’ vision,” said Cyprus Shipping Deputy Minister, Vassilios Demetriades. The MoU aligns with the pillar of the SDM’s strategy which champions a joint approach to driving positive progress in the greater shipping sector while always safeguarding competitiveness, he said.
“Cyprus looks forward to working closely with the UK, exchanging information on best practice when it comes to maritime governance, knowledge, research, and innovation. Furthermore, it is our hope that this partnership will accelerate the digitalization of ship operations, and, importantly, improve the resilience of the sector in terms of cyber security.”
To learn more about the Cyprus SDM and its initiatives, visit https://www.dms.gov.cy/dms/shipping.nsf/home_en/home_en?openform
5. Vessel S&P
Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) has partnered with The Baltic Exchange to provide a vessel sale & purchase (S&P) transaction closing service for the global shipping industry. The service will be led by SPB’s 30 strong Commodities & Shipping Group co-chaired by Chris Swart and Barry Stimpson, and will be underpinned by the Baltic Exchange’s independent Singapore based escrow operation.
The Baltic Exchange’s escrow service is already used for a wide range of transactional work, including the sale and purchase of vessels.The vessel S&P transaction closing service will be driven by a team of SPB specialists with a track record in maritime finance and acquisition of maritime assets, including Singapore-based partners Kate Sherrard and Brian Gordon. They form part of the firm’s Commodities & Shipping Group that advises on all aspects of international trade and shipping across key markets, including Singapore, London, the Americas, Australia and the Middle East.
The Baltic Exchange’s support in providing corresponding escrow services means that shipowners will have access to a trusted, independent and efficient means of holding and exchanging funds when purchasing and selling vessels. This will give all parties confidence that the necessary and compliant due diligence checks are performed, funds are held securely, and the exchange of funds is executed smoothly and professionally with close attention to detail.
SPB partner Brian Gordon said: “We are launching this service to provide a one-stop service for shipowners and offer support for every aspect of a vessel sale or purchase. These include preliminary negotiations, inspection and the due diligence of the vessel, advising on and finalising a Memorandum of Agreement, preparation of documents and vessel for delivery as well as closing of the transaction. In partnering with the Baltic Exchange, an independent and renowned provider of trusted shipping benchmarks, we are able to offer a secure, best-in-class service where we can act in the best interests of shipping clients and provide the high standard of service they deserve.”
The Baltic Exchange Chief Executive Mark Jackson said: “This partnership will deliver a vessel S&P transaction closing service which is second to none. As an organisation which is owned by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) Group and compliant with Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) anti-money laundering requirements, users of the service are assured of a high quality and independent escrow support from the Baltic Exchange for their transactions. Secure escrow accounts are maintained with two leading AA-rated banks in Singapore.”
For further details see: https://www.balticexchange.com/en/membership-services/escrow-service.html
6. Ukrainian seafarers
Ukrainian seafarers have largely returned to international shipping thereby restoring balance in crew availability, reports Danica Crewing Specialists on the anniversary of the war in Ukraine which impacted crewing rotations and seafarer welfare on a huge scale.
Ukrainian seafarers and their families are now mostly based in other European countries, and many are cutting short their shore leave time, meaning crew levels are now back to where they were before the Russian invasion.
Henrik Jensen, CEO of Danica Crewing Specialists, outlined how the crewing situation has evolved over the past year: “When the war broke out about 60% of Ukrainian seafarers were onboard merchant ships. A few wanted to return home immediately but the majority stayed onboard and when their tenure came to the planned end, providing their families were safe, they asked to stay longer to guarantee an income.
“Over the summer this situation changed as seafarers were reunited with their families who had fled to other countries, and at this point many of them extended their shore leave breaks, creating a brief shortage of relievers.
“However, the situation has now changed again and since the autumn we have seen a balance establish between supply and demand for Ukrainian seafarers.”
Mr Jensen explained that the costs of re-establishing family life from scratch in a new country, coupled with the increased cost of living in EU countries and the UK, means Ukrainian seafarers now seek to return to paid work at sea sooner.
“Previously most Ukrainian senior officers were on a four months on/off rotation, but now they are more likely to serve five months onboard and only two months at home, and these patterns are similar for other ranks too. The result of this is that each seafarer spends more time at sea and therefore this has compensated for any seafarers who are still not able to leave Ukraine. I anticipate that this crewing pattern will remain in place for some time to come,” he said.
According to the most recent ICS/BIMCO Seafarer Workforce Report, Ukraine tops the list of countries identified as most likely to supply seafarers in the future. It is a country with a long maritime history – seafaring is a tradition in Ukraine and there are even senior officers who are the third-generation sailors in their family.
Ukraine’s seafarers have undergone a traumatic time. One year on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine some seafarers have begun to talk about their experiences. Speaking to Danica Crewing Specialists three of these seafarers recalled what happened when the tanks rolled in and missiles landed in their home country.
For those at sea this meant days of fear and worry about their families at home caught up in the conflict, while those on shore leave within Ukraine experienced the terror and deprivation of war.
7. Inland navigation safety
Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and the inland navigation sector with the support of the Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR) have collaborated with other European organisations to produce the second edition of the International Safety Guide for Inland Navigation Tank-barges and Terminals (ISGINTT).
The purpose of ISGINTT is to improve the safe transport of dangerous goods at the interface between inland tank barges and other vessels or shore facilities (terminals). The safety guide is compatible with other international maritime guidance for seagoing vessels (e.g. International Safety Guide for Oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT)). It is not intended to replace or to amend current legal requirements, but to provide additional recommendations.
The guide makes recommendations for inland tankers and terminal personnel on the safe carriage and handling of such products typically carried in petroleum, chemicals or liquefied gas inland tankers, as well as the terminals handling those inland tankers.
A risk-based control philosophy continues to be central to the safety practices included in the guide. Karen Davis, Managing Director, Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF), says:
“By enhancing risk awareness, ISGINTT seeks to foster an environment where the uncertainties associated with some shipboard operations are reduced not solely by prescription, but also by encouraging barges and terminal crew, as well as their employers, to identify the risks in everything they are doing and to then implement fit-for-purpose risk reduction measures.
“This puts the focus on people and is, therefore, entirely consistent with a strategy related to the human element which has had increased focus in recent years.”
Central to the guide is a number of safety check-lists covering ship/shore as well as inland ship/maritime ship (and vice versa) transhipment of cargo and slops. These check-lists have been developed to reflect the individual and joint responsibilities of the tank barge and the terminal and can be easily adopted by all ports and terminals.
Lucia Luijten, Secretary General, Central Commission for the Navigation of the Rhine (CCNR), says:“Safety is critical to the tank barging industry, and it is hoped that this revised guide will become the standard guideline on the safe operation of inland tank-barges and the terminals they serve.
“We are confident that ISGINTT will not only contribute to the further improvement of the industry’s excellent safety record but will also bring us closer to the goal of zero accidents to which we all aspire. We, therefore, recommend it to all interested parties.”
The guide can be downloaded for free on the OCIMF website here: https://www.ocimf.org/publications/books and the ISGINTT website here: https://www.isgintt.org/
8. Bullying warning
Our thanks to Carra Miller of Miller’s Marine Digest for the following information relating to IMO recent activities:
“The US Coast Guard office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing issued an update regarding the International Maritime Organization’s Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training and Watchkeeping. The Sub-Committee has developed amendments to the STCW code to combat bullying and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual harassment during its meeting from February 6 to February 10. The United States submitted a proposal developed in consultation with the National Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee and the National Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee, which the Sub-Committee agreed to use as the basis of the draft amendments to the required personal safety and social responsibilities training.”
9. Tug casualty
A marine company has been fined £2million after unsafe practice led to the death of a crewman.Svitzer Marine pleaded guilty to failing to operate a vessel safely and failing to provide a safe system of work, causing the “avoidable tragedy” of 62-year-old Ian Webb falling into the water, a Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) report explained.
Heard at Liverpool Crown Court on 20 February, the tragic death sparked an investigation by the MCA which identified a catalogue of the company’s failures.
On the evening of Mr Webb’s death, January 27, 2019, Svitzer Marine’s tug Millgarth cast off from the Tranmere north jetty, in the river Mersey, in storm force conditions. Mr Webb, the vessel’s chief engineer, released the mooring lines and attempted to return to the tug, stepping down from the jetty on to a fender. The tug was free from the jetty and rolling in the swell of the river.
After he fell into the river Mr Webb was eventually rescued by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, but died from the effects of cold water immersion.The investigation by the MCA revealed Svitzer Marine had not completed a risk assessment of the Tranmere jetties, despite crews raising concerns.
Svitzer Marine had failed to instruct crews in how to operate rescue equipment, failed to ensure rescue equipment was correctly fitted, and failed to ensure safety drills were being conducted, the investigation found.
Svitzer Marine was fined £2million and ordered to pay £136,711 costs, totalling a sum of £2,136,711. During the sentencing Judge Byrne described what happened as an “avoidable incident”, adding: “This operation was inherently unsafe in any conditions but in these conditions even more so.”
10. Port vulnerabilities
The US shipping administration MARAD has issued an advisory note warning of threats including cyber attacks and other dangers. The advisory seeks to alert maritime stakeholders of potential vulnerabilities to maritime port equipment, networks, operating systems, software, and infrastructure.
Maritime ports, facilities, and infrastructure, worldwide, are vulnerable to physical and cybersecurity exposure through foreign adversarial access to port equipment and supply chain information management systems. Specifically, proprietary foreign adversarial companies manufacture, install, and maintain port equipment that pose potential vulnerabilities to global maritime infrastructure information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) systems. In the last few years, the US Government has published several documents illuminating the risks associated with integrating and utilizing LOGINK, NucTech scanners, and foreign port cranes.
The guidance says that potentially impacted maritime industry stakeholders “should apply cybersecurity best practices for Access Control (identity and access management), vulnerability mitigation, and configuration management, and should:
• Posture themselves to increase their cybersecurity and cyber resiliency to respond to and report any incidents that could inhibit the ability to continue operations.
• Improve their knowledge of how port equipment is integrated into their port network to mitigate potential vulnerabilities.
• Stress the importance of understanding and knowing who maintains access to the foreign maritime technology throughout their port or facility.
• Be wary of untrusted network traffic. Treat all traffic transiting your network – especially third-party traffic – as untrusted until it is validated as being legitimate.
• Ensure infrastructure operational resiliency, regarding system security, as well as the ability to maintain equipment and sourcing for critical parts and upgrades.”
Notices & Miscellany
Women in Shipping
All About Shipping has recently announced its latest list of the top 100 women in shipping. For details of all the winners see:
Associated British Ports (ABP) has become the first ports group in the world to be approved by the IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment) to act as a training provider for IEMA courses.
As a result, ABP employees have started benefitting from the IEMA-accredited course “Environmental Sustainability Skills for the Workforce” from January 2023. The training, delivered by ABP Academy, the company’s in-house training provider, focusses on providing fundamental awareness of environment and sustainability issues.
Kerry Thompson, ABP Group Head of Academy, added: “This concentrated one-day course provides a practical introduction to environmental sustainability, equipping our workforce with the knowledge, understanding and motivation to make a positive difference within their role at ABP.
“This is ideal for all ABP colleagues especially those working in and around our ports. It will help embed environmental sustainability across all job roles.”
The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is the global professional body for individuals and organisations working, studying or interested in the environment and sustainability.
CEO Sarah Mukherjee MBE, IEMA, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that Associated British Ports are using our IEMA courses for their staff. It’s crucial that we equip our workforces with the skills and training needed to embed environmental and sustainable practice across all job roles, in order to meet our net zero goals. It’s great to see ABP embracing their commitment to the clean energy transition.”
Alan Tinline, Group Head of Health, Safety and Environment, added: “We are really pleased that the ABP Academy has become the first IEMA-approved training provider in the port sector.”
“This will help us meet the increased environmental sustainability demands from our stakeholders by growing the environmental management skills of colleagues across ABP.”
A true digital twin
Join the RINA webinar on ensuring the structural integrity of marine vessels using testing data and structural simulation on Tuesday, February 28.
Register for the webinar
ICS has launched the new and improved edition of Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention. Seafarer competence is a critical factor in the safe and efficient operation of merchant ships and has a direct impact on the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.
The new edition of Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention will help shipping companies ensure crew compliance with STCW and sets out the mandatory regulations and recommended guidelines in a modern and user-friendly way.
Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention, Fourth Edition, is available to order at an RRP of £135 and is available in both print and digital ebook versions which are accessible on multiple platforms.
Post Brexit advice
The London Shipping Law Centre is holding an in-person and webinar event to discuss jurisdiction agreements, anti-suit injunctions and Norwich Pharmacal orders following Brexit. This talk will consider how parties establish jurisdiction post-Brexit with a particular emphasis on the important role played by jurisdiction agreements. It will then consider two very important tools in commercial litigation: the anti-suit injunction which can now be used to restrain a party litigating in an EU state and Norwich Pharmacal orders, which can now be served out of the jurisdiction on foreign respondents for an order against an innocent party caught up in wrongdoing to reveal the name of the true wrongdoer. The event will be held on March 6 at the IDRC in London.
Maritime People & Culture
Recruitment consultant Spinnaker is holding the 15th annual Maritime People & Culture Conference which will take place on the 11th & 12th May 2023 in London.
Find out more about this event
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Smart boss + smart employee = profit
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Dumb boss + dumb employee = overtime
A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he needs.
A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn’t need.
GENERAL EQUATIONS & STATISTICS
A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband.
A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend.
A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
To be happy with a man, you must understand him a lot and love him a little.
To be happy with a woman, you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.
Married men live longer than single men do, but married men are a lot more willing to die.
PROPENSITY TO CHANGE
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t
A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, and she does.
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
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