The Maritime Advocate–Issue 833

Posted:

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1. Our modern heroes
2. Lithium dangers
3. Misrepresentations
4. Chilean freight crime
5. Duel fuel training
6. Recycling convention
7. Seafarer welfare
8. Life at sea
9. Learning from accidents
10. Energy debate
11. Supreme Court decision
12. Chartering training
13. Ocean conservation
14. Adventurous spirit
15. Decarbonisation effects
16. Scrubber concerns

Notices & Miscellany

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


1. Our modern heroes

By Michael Grey

I had just finished re-reading an old biography of Edward Wilson; doctor, scientist, naturalist, artist and Antarctic explorer, who died with Captain Scott and fellow members of the south polar party, in March 1912. Even across all these years, it is impossible to remain unmoved, reading his final letter to his wife, written when frozen and starving, immured in the blizzard blown tent that would become his tomb. The tale of this doomed journey epitomises the heroic age of exploration and adventure, which defies modern attempts to reinterpret our history.

The connection may seem somewhat perilous to make, but it was just a few days after the polar party had died, their fate unknown for another eight months, that the maiden voyage of the Titanic came to a tragic end; a shipwreck that we have seemingly been unable to forget. And of course, it has all come flooding back again this month, with the search for the Titan submersible and its five occupants monopolising the headlines while their fate in the dark Atlantic depths remained uncertain.

We have now, with the wreckage of the tiny craft now discovered, close to the remains of the liner, moved onwards to the investigation and recriminations phase, with plenty of food over which the media can chew. It is probably best to leave the forensic analysis to the experts, who may, or may not, be able to derive conclusive reasons for the fatal implosion from any shards of carbon fibre reclaimed from the depths. The apparent doubts about the wisdom of its experimental design and whether it should have been used for fare-paying passengers will surely be considered at length by the accident investigators.

We read that there is now a sizeable Titanic “community” and a niche industry active in providing expeditions to view the remains of the liner and the artefacts scattered on the ocean floor around the wreck site. One should not be too judgemental, but is there not something distinctly ghoulish about wishing to take part in such “adventures”, just as it is akin to grave-robbing, as such has taken place on numerous occasions, with items removed by clever submersibles.

The “community” will be quick to defend itself, but it seems to me that there is precious little scientific discovery to be gained from this bit of  grim ocean floor. If we can range around the depths, surely there are better things to do with the technology than to indulge rich adventurers wishing to tick the Titanic off their bucket lists, although, as with the amateurs being shot into space, I suppose the money helps to defray the expenses and fare-paying passengers provide some PR value. You would hesitate to suggest that there is, in these adventures, much public accessibility, either in space or in the depths.

You might insist that these people are willing to take risks and that is what counts as heroic these days. But it is all a bit pointless when innumerable tasks are undertaken at extreme depths by ROVs with all their clever tools and scientific sensors. If you are looking for real heroes, it is worth thinking about salvors, or saturation divers, although they are of course professionals and undertake their risky roles for gain, rather than merely spending it.  The frontiers of deep ocean exploration are being ranged around these days by oceanographic scientists who tell us that there remains a huge amount to learn about the seas that wash our planet and its inter-connected nature. You might argue that these are the true inheritors of those who lived in a far more dangerous, but heroic age, of exploration.

While vaguely on the subject, it is sad to report that of one of my all-time shipping heroes, the Dutch shipowner Piet Vroon has died at the age of 93. He was the very model of a traditional owner, who lived overlooking the great river Scheldt at Breskens, from where he had built a sizeable fleet from a single small coaster in the 1950s. There were few sectors of shipping that he had not involved the company in over the years and he was always on the lookout for opportunities in niche, long-term business. Unlike so many modern operators, who tend towards tunnel vision, when it comes to their trade sector, Piet Vroon was astonishingly well-informed about every aspect of ships and shipping and always free with kindly advice. The shipping world, and that of yacht racing that was his passion, will miss him

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.


2. Lithium dangers

Industry awareness of the dangers of battery fires remains dangerously low, according to Stream Marine Technical (SMT). Standardised training and regulations should come into force sooner rather than later to reduce the significant safety risks electric car batteries pose to vessels and crews, a panel of industry-leading speakers discussed at a recent webinar held by the alternative fuel consultancy service .

Part of the Stream Marine Group, SMT held the webinar in conjunction with Ship Management International to discuss how the industry can work together to deal with the huge fire risks that batteries in electric cars pose to both life and ship.

Speakers at the webinar included, Tony Int’ Hout, Director at Stream Marine Technical. Tim Springett, Policy Director, UK Chamber of Shipping, Jan Polderman, Founding Member BlueTack, specialists in marine incident management, and Kelly Malynn, ESG strategy lead for marine insurers Beazley.

Tim Springett  told delegates that corners of the industry are becoming increasingly concerned over the dangerous fire risks of Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIBs) as the proportion of vehicles powered by LIBs, being carried on Ro-Ro ferries increases. As the vehicles begin to age and the batteries deteriorate, the risk of dangerous fires steadily increases, he explained.

Tony Int’ Hout  explained battery fires are normally created from two initiating causes, such as damage to the battery caused by a collision, incorrect charging regime or wrong charging, incorrect installation, a battery being incorrectly stored, or a malfunction of the battery.

Talking about the current training requirements for crews,  Int’ Hout, said: “The regulations are not really robust enough yet. Even if you have 85 firefighters onboard, similar to a standard cruise ship, they can respond to the fire very quickly, but the challenge lies with dealing with a battery fire, they are very hard to put out. We do not have enough training in fire safety with any of the alternative fuels that are coming into the industry.”

There have been 387 LIBs fires since 2012,  Springett reported. “While this figure is relatively low when you take into account there are 16million electric vehicles globally, there is little training or awareness to ensure crews know what to do when faced with a LIB fire,” he said.

Talking about the dangers, he explained: “When these fires do occur they are much more difficult to put out, compared to other types of fires crews have to put out. The triangle of fire – heat, fuel, oxygen – is the first thing one learns on a fire safety course. But with LIBs there is a tetrahedron of fire. There is an additional effect of a chemical chain reaction. Once the thermal runway starts, that fire is unstoppable. Flames in LIB fires will be pulled towards the nearest energy source.”

“STCW fire safety training is based on completely different types of fires and burning materials, so this is something that should be addressed. The industry should look at what the appropriate requirements for training are going forward.”

The IMO is to begin a review of the STCW fire safety training in 2025, but even then it will take two years to complete and then seven years to adopt, warned  Springett. The UK Chamber of Shipping is treating the dangers of LIB fires as a priority, he added, and it will be looking at setting out a number of proposals and guidelines that can be turned into legislation, and eventually adopted by the IMO.
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Jan Polderman highlighted the added dangers of toxic fumes and vapours that come from a battery fire, along with the added risk of electrocution.

He said: “We believe the way forward for the industry is to collect data, analyse it, develop new systems or re-develop existing systems, test new ideas – and this is important, test, re-test and test again, develop training for responders and build further on experience.”

To see the webinar in full click here


3. Misrepresentations

Brian Perrott and Colin Chen of HFW have drawn to our attention a recent case1 which has shed light on representations in the context of a claim concerning deceit and unlawful means conspiracy.

The first claimant co-founded a company, IBSL, in 2006. In 2016, relationships between senior management became tense. The shareholders ultimately entered into a divestment transaction, pursuant to which shares in IBSL were sold to a new company, IBSHL. In 2019, the first claimant ceased to be the CFO, and was eventually dismissed from his employment by IBSHL.

Broadly speaking, it was alleged that the defendants had made a number of misrepresentations, which had induced the first claimant and his partner to enter into the transaction. There were allegedly eight occasions on which the defendants’ words or conduct gave rise to implied misrepresentations regarding the first claimant’s employment after the transaction. For example, one of the defendants had written to say “I have nothing personal against you and I would continue to benefit from you as the CFO…”, whereas another had said “it sounds good” at the end of a meeting.

Mr Justice Butcher held, amongst other things, that none of the misrepresentations had been made. He was not persuaded by the claimants’ evidence. For example, meeting notes generally did not seem to have been kept.

In dismissing the claim, Mr Justice Butcher clarified that whether a representation of intention has a ‘continuing’ effect (in the sense that it can ‘continue’ after it is made and so be capable of being relied upon) depends on the precise nature and circumstances of the representation. However, “in relation to many representations of intention, it may well be that they should not be regarded as having any continuing effect”.

Mr Justice Butcher also clarified that, in the context of a claim for deceit, it is a necessary requirement for the person making a representation to have intended the representation to have been passed on to the representee. A mere expectation that a representation would be passed on to a representee (e.g. to the first claimant’s partner) will not suffice, although it may be good evidence of such an intention.

The case highlights some of the difficulties that might arise in relation to a claim based on implied misrepresentations. It also reminds us of the importance of keeping contemporaneous records.

1 Goyal and another v BGF Investment Management Ltd [2023] EWHC 1180.


4.  Chilean freight crime

The latest analysis from international freight insurer, TT Club and business improvement consultants BSI SCREEN, reports dramatic 2022 year-on-year increases in freight crime in Chile with incidents of theft estimated to be up 27%  on pre-pandemic levels.

The report highlights:   a 450% increase in the frequency of insurance claims in 2022, an  increased value of claims over the same period of 820%,  and over half of cargo crime incidents involve hijacking. Most common commodities targeted were electronics (25%) and foodstuffs (20%)

TT Club has once more come together with BSI SCREEN, this time with the Logistics Association of Chile (ALOG) and the crime investigation unit, Signum Services (an associate of TT within the Thomas Miller Group), to focus on a worryingly dramatic trend in the Chilean freight transport sector.  The extensive report, based on the wide-reaching data resources of the four organisations, has recently been published.  Entitled ‘Freight crime in Chilean supply chains’ it is available for download HERE.

In an introduction to the risk landscape, the report notes that pandemic-induced measures such as quarantine, restrictions in movements and curfews, had the effect of reducing the incidence of cargo theft for much of 2020 and 2021.  However, last year, with such limitations lifted, levels of crime sprang back with a vengeance to 27% higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to ALOG data.

“The underlying factors that seem prevalent in explaining the alarming statistics seem to be predominantly social and economic in nature,” comments TT’s Managing Director of Loss Prevention, Mike Yarwood.  “Inflation, increases in the cost of living and social unrest have motivated individuals to turn to crime.  These circumstances, which also encourage a larger black market, particularly in foodstuffs, instil heightened criminality in the population.”

Indeed, the report found that criminal organisations that are behind much of the theft have exploited to a greater degree than in the past those employed in the supply chain, to provide valuable data and information on cargo flows, nature of loads and an ability to falsify delivery instructions. Labour strikes, also common in a recession, create pinch points in the usual smooth flow of goods. Such locations become a focal point for crime. The reported statistics show that second to hijacking as a mode of theft (57%), is the combined activity of stealing from a facility or of a vehicle itself, when cargo is at rest, contributing to 32% of all incidents.


5.  Duel fuel training

Newly-appointed member of the Methanol Institute,  multi-disciplinary methanol consultancy Green Marine,  has recently finalised a specialist training programme for crews on methanol dual-fuel vessels, supplementing baseline regulatory training requirements with practical, experience-based learning.

The scale of the crew training challenge presented by the fuels required for decarbonisation is at least as great as the technology hurdles the industry faces. A recent report commissioned by the Maritime Just Transition Task Force Secretariat predicts a rise in the number of seafarers needing training on alternative fuel technologies in the 2040s to between 310,000 and 750,000 people.

Green Marine’s Asia team is participating in the development of rules and standards for methanol bunkering in Singapore, including taking part in a panel of experts to establish policy and training. Stakeholders include local regulators and academics, industry associations and classification societies, in addition to bunker operators.

The crew training programme was created based on practical knowledge gathered over a decade of experience working on methanol dual fuel vessels with services from design consultancy to newbuilding construction supervision, technical management and operations.

The curriculum, which can be delivered onboard, in a classroom or online, was developed to address the knowledge gaps between theoretical regulation and practical experience in the use of methanol as marine fuel. Green Marine is able to supplement regulatory baselines with real life experiences based on operational experience, emergency troubleshooting and the application of historical data.

“Green Marine’s team members have played a significant role in the evolution of methanol as a marine fuel – and in particular bunkering and onboard handling – since its earliest days,” said MI CEO Gregory Dolan. “We are very happy to have Green Marine as a member and we look forward to working together in future to share its operational expertise and practical knowledge as the industry continues its transition to cleaner operations.”

“Our methanol specialists are captains and chief engineers with first-hand knowledge of working with methanol as a fuel and how to ensure these dual fuel ships operate safely,” said Morten Jacobsen, CEO of Green Marine. “Theoretical knowledge is little use in real life situations when you need to know what to do; we bridge that gap and provide practical knowledge to support crews in adopting this methanol dual fuel technology.”


6. Recycling convention

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the Hong Kong Convention) is set to enter into force within 24 months, after Bangladesh and Liberia became Contracting States to the Convention.

The Hong Kong Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment.

The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force 24 months after the following required criteria have been met:

  • not less than 15 States;
  • not less than 40% of the world’s merchant shipping by gross tonnage; and
  • ship recycling capacity of not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of the combined merchant shipping of those States mentioned above.

These conditions have now been met and the Convention will enter into force on 26 June 2025. Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest ship recycling countries by capacity. Liberia is one of the world’s largest flag States by tonnage.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim commended Bangladesh and Liberia for the accessions.“I congratulate Bangladesh and Liberia for depositing their instruments of accession, triggering within 24 months the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, and the global regime for safe and environmentally sound  recycling of ships. This is a momentous day for the IMO, for the international shipping industry, for the marine environment, and specially for workers and local communities in ship recycling countries globally.”

“Bangladesh has made huge strides in recent years in improving its ship recycling regulation and standards to meet the Hong Kong Convention requirements. I take this opportunity to also thank the Government of Norway for their continued support to the IMO-implemented project on Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh (SENSREC), which has helped make this accession possible. I would also like to express my deepest appreciation to Liberia. As a prominent flag state, their accession to the Hong Kong Convention will provide a major advancement to Liberia’s regulatory framework and would enable the tonnage criteria to be met,” Mr. Lim said.

“I invite other Member States, who have not yet become a party to the Hong Kong Convention, to do so as soon as possible, “he added.
The Hong Kong Convention was adopted at a diplomatic conference held in Hong Kong, China, in 2009.

It embraces the “cradle to grave” concept, addressing all environmental and safety aspects relating to ship recycling, from the ship design stage through to the end of the ship’s life, including also the responsible management and disposal of associated waste streams in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

The Convention places responsibilities and obligations on all parties concerned – including shipowners, ship building yards, ship recycling facilities, flag States, port States, recycling States.

Upon entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry onboard an Inventory of Hazardous Materials. Ship recycling facilities authorized by Competent Authorities will be required to provide a Ship Recycling Plan, specific to each individual vessel to be recycled. Additionally, Governments will be required to ensure that recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the Convention.


7. Seafarer welfare

The Mission to Seafarers has published an industry report containing the preliminary outcomes from the Executive Roundtable event held during Singapore Maritime Week 2023. The results highlight the breadth of opportunities to improve seafarer welfare.

The aim of this forum was to identify effective solutions to the challenges faced by seafarers and drive meaningful change in seafarer welfare. Building upon data from the Seafarers Happiness Index, with supporting insights from sponsors Standard Club part of NorthStandard, Idwal, and Inmarsat, The Mission to Seafarers facilitated the roundtable event to address five crucial areas that significantly impact the lives of seafarers:

  • Access to shore leave and connection with loved ones
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Package, security, diversity, career progression
  • Living and working conditions
  • Support and management on board and ashore

Over 100 solutions were identified during the event, organised into the five main areas explored. These solutions cover a wide range of areas, from standardising shore leave policies and advancing communication technologies to providing mental health resources and fostering a supportive work environment. They also address issues of fair treatment, career progression, living conditions, and effective support and management on board and ashore.

Ben Bailey, Director of Programme at The Mission to Seafarers, said: “It was truly inspiring to witness the diverse range of ideas and opportunities that were put forward to help address and bridge the gaps in seafarers’ needs to enhance the experience of working at sea. When confronted with the immense challenges that seafarers encounter, it can often seem daunting to identify what more can be done to make a difference. However, our report from the roundtable held at Singapore Maritime Week is brimming with innovative ideas and actionable steps that can be taken. Whether by The Mission to Seafarers or others, there are ideas present in this report that every organisation can contribute towards and embrace, fostering a collective effort to better support the dedicated men and women who work tirelessly at sea.”

Steven Jones, founder of the Seafarers Happiness Index commented: “As we celebrate International Day of the Seafarer, we are seeing change driven by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) frameworks. This means every part of the industry is compelled to make improvements. The focus of the Executive Roundtable on Crew Welfare and the follow-up activities are focused on solutions. Finding the answers to the questions that seafarers are asking and finding the ways of making every aspect of life at sea better. This initiative is about having the imagination, vision and determination to fix the ills which are so damaging to seafarers, and we thank all those who have shared their insights, experience and enthusiasm.”

George Haysom, CCO at Idwal, added: “Idwal was delighted to play a part in this highly productive session with top industry executives taking time out of a very hectic week to workshop ideas for solutions to some of the main seafarer wellbeing issues facing the industry. We are keen to keep momentum going and excited to share our own data to bring more transparency of on-board welfare conditions to the debate. We look forward to our involvement in the next developments as they reach a more action-focused stage.”

The Mission to Seafarers is committed to assessing each solution and determining its feasibility. While some ideas may already be in progress, others may require further exploration and collaboration. The Mission’s focus will be to translate the findings into actionable work streams, underpinned by an effective action plan, strong partnerships, and targeted goals, which will give us the best possible chance of delivering the tangible outcomes that will improve the lives of seafarers.

In the coming weeks, the proposed solutions will undergo careful review to determine the most suitable approaches for addressing the identified issues. A position document will be developed to evaluate these proposed fixes, and individuals interested in specific areas will be invited to participate in the implementation process.

To access a comprehensive document containing the proposed solutions, please visit: https://www.missiontoseafarers.org/wp-content/uploads/Seafarer-Welfare-Exec-Roundtable-Review-Singapore-2023.pdf


8. Life at sea

Global maritime network Stella Maris has launched the latest version of its Life at Sea report, which focuses on the  work its port chaplains have done and continue to do to support seafarers and families impacted by the war in Ukraine.

The Stella Maris Life at Sea report 2022: Kindness amid conflict contains stories of how Stella Maris’ chaplains have made a vital difference to many seafarers and families facing hardship and desperation. Stella Maris offered safe housing for Ukrainian refugees, deliver humanitarian relief, and reunite families.

Stella Maris, working in partnership with the shipping industry, has so far provided £150,000 in grants to 300 Ukrainian seafarers and their families over the last year.

Stella Maris CEO Tim Hill said, “From the day war broke out, Stella Maris has been on the ground supporting seafarers and their families facing an unprecedented crisis. Today, our team remain in the port city of Odesa, doing everything possible to stand with those who need help.”

Stella Maris said in the coming year, funds will be needed to:

• Continue providing financial support to out-of-work Ukrainian seafarers and their families facing economic hardship, and;
• Grow the mental health counselling service it established in 2022, to provide relief for the increasing numbers of men, women and children suffering trauma and poor mental health because of the war.

The Centenary Emergency Fund also needs support to provide crisis help to seafarers of all nationalities and backgrounds, around the world, in cases of abandonment, hospitalisation, death at sea and piracy.

The Life at Sea report 2022 can be found here.


9. Learning from accidents

In an exclusive interview to SAFETY4SEA, Oessur Hilduberg, Head of the Danish Maritime Accident Board (DMAIB), explains that the investigation bodies now use a variety of new data collection strategies and analytical frameworks. This methodological shift is based on the recognition that marine operations are complex in nature, and has a substantial effect on what can be learned from accidents. See the Safety4Sea website for more information.


10. Energy debate

The British Ports Association (BPA)   has called on ministers to reverse a decision to remove the industry from a Government support scheme designed to provide relief to businesses from high energy prices.

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS) is the successor to the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which provided support to businesses from October 2022.

Some ports now say that energy is a higher cost than wages – traditionally a port’s highest cost base. As inflation shows no sign of abating in the near future, ports are warning that the move to exclude ports from the new scheme could add direct costs to supply chains. It could also destabilise tentative moves towards further port electrification and the supply of electricity to port users.

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive at the British Ports Association said: “It is disappointing that ministers have cut ports out of the new energy support scheme and it is likely that this will add direct cost to supply chains.

Ports’ immediate options for reducing fuel consumption are extremely limited and this decision piles additional cost pressure on the industry at a difficult time. We hope Ministers will reconsider.

The previous energy bill support scheme was welcomed by ports at a time when ports’ primary cost bases – wages and energy – were soaring. Also our ports compete internationally so keeping costs down is good for encouraging trade and inward investment into the country.

Whilst the new EBDS is more modest, our sector is still feeling the strain from high energy costs. This has been exasperated by the Government’s 2022 removal of red diesel tax benefits for landside port operations. The red diesel tax change alone added significant cost to operations without any support for port electrification. Including ports in the EBDS would make the Government’s aim of supporting moves to electrification – where feasible – more realistic.”


11. Supreme Court decision

Hill Dickinson has drawn to our attention the recent Supreme Court decision upholding Buchanan -v- Babco.

The Supreme Court has issued its judgment in the case of JTI Polska Sp Z o.o. and Ors -v- Jakubowski & Ors [2023] UKSC 19, affirming the House of Lords’ decision in James Buchanan & Co. Ltd -v- Babco Forwarding & Shipping (UK) Ltd. [1978] AC 141.

The appellant road carrier had pursued a leapfrog appeal to the Supreme Court against the first instance decision holding the carrier liable under Art 23.4 of CMR for the excise duty payable on 289 cases of cigarettes stolen during a CMR transit.

In Buchanan -v- Babco, the House of Lords held that excise duty payable in respect of excisable goods lost or stolen during transit is recoverable in full from the carrier (in addition to the market value of the goods), as ‘other charges’ under Article 23.4 of CMR).

In the present appeal, whilst the carrier accepted that in light of Buchanan the first instance court was bound to hold the carrier liable for the excise duty, it submitted that the House of Lords’ decision was wrong and should be departed from, and applied for a certificate enabling a direct appeal to the Supreme Court. The appeal was accepted on the basis of criticism of Buchanan by academics and the Court of Appeal in the case of Sandeman Coprimar SA -v- Transitos y Transportes Integrales SL [2003] EWCA Civ 113; [2003] QB 1270.

Article 23.4 of the CMR Convention provides:

‘In addition, the carriage charges, Customs duties and other charges incurred in respect of the carriage of the goods shall be refunded in full in case of total loss and in proportion to the loss sustained in case of partial loss, but no further damages shall be payable.’

Courts in other jurisdictions have either adopted a ‘broad interpretation’ of Article 23.4 (as per Buchanan) in which charges incurred due to a loss in transit are recoverable from the carrier, or a ‘narrow interpretation’ in which recovery is limited to those charges which would have been incurred if the carriage had been performed without incident, thus excluding excise duty levied as a result of loss or theft.

The Supreme Court acknowledged that there were powerful arguments in favour of the narrow interpretation, in particular those based on the object and purpose of Chapter IV of CMR and the structure of the compensation scheme for the loss of goods. However, the Court determined that the travaux préparatoires, which the appellant had sought to cite in support of the narrow interpretation, was unable to demonstrate a definitive legislative intent in relation to the wording of Article 23.4.

The Supreme Court considered that the broad interpretation was tenable on the basis of the arguments heard by the House of Lords in Buchanan and similar findings made by the higher courts in other CMR jurisdictions (including Denmark, Belgium and Lithuania). As such, the Supreme Court found that the required threshold of the decision in Buchanan being shown to be untenable had not been met. As such, the Court ruled that Buchanan should be upheld and by doing so maintained the status quo.


12. Chartering training

Signal, the diversified shipping services group, whose activities include commercial ship management, software development and investments, has opened up access to its online Tanker Chartering Academy for all. The free to view 10-module programme has been created to explain the entire process of fixing a vessel as well as tanker operations, port disbursements and post-fixture activities. See www.thesignalgroup.com/academy for further details.

The Academy programme was initially created to help the fast-growing Signal train its shipping professionals, software engineers, and data scientists to ensure that they understand the fundamentals of the tanker shipping business. It is now being made available to Signal customers, partners and the wider shipping and trading community to provide entry level knowledge.

Signal founder Ioannis Martinos said: “Shipping companies have big digital ambitions, but to deliver on those, they need to attract onboard talent which often has little or no exposure to our industry. How can you build and deploy helpful solutions if your technologists don’t understand the shipping business? Having struggled with this in the past, we built a program based on what really happens in the tanker chartering setting. We’ve had great internal success with it, so we wanted to share with others.”


13. Ocean conservation

The government of Barbados is preparing to pour an extra US$50 million into ocean conservation efforts over the next fifteen years after replacing conventional debt with a Blue Bond we read on the ICS website. The innovative debt conversion will help the country to extend marine protected areas, supporting biodiversity, boosting climate resilience and safeguarding a key tourism resource.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said: “This will allow Barbados to secure and protect our marine environment and also help us expand our blue economy, both of which are of critical importance to our people and our very way of life.”

The financing was developed in cooperation with The InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) and The Nature Conservancy, with financing arranged by Credit Suisse and CIBC First Caribbean.

Among the conservation commitments attached to the bond are the development of a marine spatial plan (MSP) based on input from stakeholders including the maritime transport and fishing sectors alongside tourism and conservation experts. The outcome will provide a framework that balances development and conservation interests, while addressing the cumulative effects of human use of the 55,000sq km of coastal oceans around Barbados.

The Minister of the Environment and National Beautification of Barbados, Adrian Forde, said: “Having the full participation of all stakeholders is essential to this process. We need them to share information about our marine space to ensure that equitable consideration is given to all relevant sectors.”

The initial phase of planning, initiated in January, involves the creation of institutional, financial, legal and political frameworks to support the development of the marine spatial plan. One key ambition is to ensure that at least 30% of Barbados’ coastal waters are ultimately designated as protected areas.

The progress in Barbados echoes wider developments taking place to protect large swathes of Marine Protected Areas around the world. In late June the United Nations adopted the landmark High Seas Treaty. This follows the significant breakthrough in March 2023 when nearly 200 nation States took part in the discussions and came to an agreement in finalising the text of the treaty.

It builds on the requirements to protect the marine environment contained in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). One of its important features is that it sets out a process to enable the establishment of cross-sectoral Marine Protected Areas and other area-based management tools in the high seas and the underlying seabed. This is of particular note as currently with just over 1% of the high seas region protected, the BBNJ will be a key tool in delivering agreed upon targets of 30% global MPAs.

Read more here.


14. Adventurous spirit

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) recently launched a video titled ‘An Adventurous Spirit’, signifying the start of a global campaign to address the seafarer shortage.

‘An Adventurous Spirit’ is the result of collaboration between ICS and its network of members to produce a resource that the whole shipping industry can use in its recruitment efforts. The 10-minute video was produced using first-party testimonials gathered from current seafarers who shared insight into what their roles entail, speaking openly about the benefits and challenges of working at sea.

An estimated 90,000 STCW (International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) certified officers are needed by 2026 to operate the world merchant fleet. ‘An Adventurous Spirit’ has been created in response to this challenge to urgently recruit more people to the industry and keep global trade moving.

Nirmalesh Chandra Nirmal, 2nd Officer, Fleet Management Ltd, Hong Kong, SAR, who features in the film, said:“It was an honour to be involved with the making of ‘An Adventurous Spirit’. As a seafarer myself I know what a fantastic career this can be, and I am passionate about helping other people see this too. Seafaring is a challenging career, but the rewards are great. You will have opportunities for growth that can see you climb the career ladder, progressing to more senior roles at sea or transitioning to roles on land and making friends and memories that will last you a lifetime.”

Alongside the full-length 10-minute 45 seconds video is a 2-minute version created for use on social media. Multiple formats have been created so that the video is a flexible resource and can be used by industry across different platforms, tailoring it to their own recruitment efforts.

Kathryn Neilson, Director, Merchant Navy Training Board, which is charged with promoting seafaring as a career in the UK, said: “Highlighting the numerous exciting opportunities open to all those considering a new career path is key if we are to attract more people into the Maritime industry.  This video will be a hugely valuable resource in the promotion of seafaring careers and will showcase the excellent and unique benefits a career at sea provides, from experiencing life on board with international crew to travelling the world.”

Natalie Shaw, Director of Employment Affairs, International Chamber of Shipping, said:“The shipping industry, like many other industries, is facing a recruitment crisis. We wanted to set shipping apart from these other industries by showing what an attractive career seafaring is. What makes this video unique is that we are hearing from seafarers themselves, talking openly about their jobs, the challenges, and the opportunities.

“This video is a resource for the whole of the industry, and I encourage you to use it in your recruitment efforts when  you are promoting a career at sea”.

Please click here to download the 10 minute 45 second video from Vimeo.

Please click here to download the 2 minute video from Vimeo.


15. Decarbonisation effects

Launched on the Day of the Seafarer, ISWAN’s new survey seeks to understand the impact that the rapid technological changes to decarbonise maritime are having on seafarers’ job satisfaction and wellbeing at sea.

In recent years, seafaring has undergone huge technological change, as the maritime sector begins to respond to the climate emergency and the urgent need to decarbonise shipping. Seafarers are at the heart of this transformation and are being called upon to rapidly adapt to operating new technological systems onboard and dealing with the challenges of working with new and often potentially hazardous fuels.

The drive to decarbonise brings with it the enormous challenges of ensuring that seafarers have the training and skills that they need to manage new technologies and fuels safely. A recent study commissioned by the Maritime Just Transition Task Force found that up to 800,000 seafarers could require additional training to handle alternative fuels and technologies by the mid-2030s.

It is, however, crucial that seafarers’ wellbeing is not overlooked amidst the urgent imperatives to upskill seafarers and to meet environmental targets. The rapid technological changes in maritime come at a time when seafarers have already faced unprecedented levels of challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic, the crew change crisis and the lack of shore leave have all added additional pressures to what was already a highly demanding and often stressful profession. These factors are already leaving some seafarers to seek alternative careers on shore, contributing to a growing recruitment and retention crisis in the shipping industry.

From contact with seafarers through its helplines and regional casework, the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) is concerned that the changes that the maritime sector is undergoing in order to achieve net zero carbon by 2050 could be placing additional stress on seafarers’ mental health and potentially further eroding their wellbeing at work. In response, ISWAN is launching a new survey that seeks to better understand the impact that the adoption of new decarbonising technologies and the associated inspection regimes are having on the welfare of both seafarers and onshore staff. As well as understanding the difference – whether positive or negative – that technological change is making to working in maritime, the survey also seeks to gain insight from seafarers and shore-based staff into how shipping companies and crewing agents can best support them to adapt to the rapid pace of change.

Chirag Bahri, ISWAN’s International Operations Manager, said: ‘This year, IMO’s Day of the Seafarer focuses on seafarers’ central role in protecting the marine environment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the vital role seafarers play in implementing the wide-reaching changes that will be needed for the maritime industry to reach zero carbon. However, this cannot be at the expense of seafarers’ wellbeing. ISWAN’s new survey aims to shed light on how the shipping industry can give seafarers the support they need to put into practice the technological changes that will be needed to meet international decarbonisation goals. This will be crucial in ensuring that the maritime industry can recruit and retain the skilled and motivated crew that they will need to operate the zero-carbon global fleet of the future.’

ISWAN’s survey can be accessed here, and is open to all seafarers and shore-based staff.


16. Scrubber concerns

In a recently published study from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, the researchers used four different types of port environments to investigate the levels of contaminants emitted from five different sources. They found that the combined emissions of metals and environmentally hazardous substances is putting the marine environment at risk. Ninety per cent of the harmful emissions came from ships fitted with scrubbers, whose purpose is to clean their exhaust gases.

“The results speak for themselves. Stricter regulation of discharge water from scrubbers is crucial to reduce the deterioration of the marine environment,” says Anna Lunde Hermansson, a doctoral student at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers.

Actual data from Copenhagen and Gdynia were used for two of the ports covered. They were selected due to high volumes of shipping traffic, and a substantial proportion of these ships having scrubbers.

The results showed that the cumulative risk levels in the ports were, respectively, five and thirteen times higher than the limit that defines acceptable risk.


Notices & Miscellany

Reader comments on COLREGS

Bogdan Grabowski (Capt., retired) writes:

As in the past I read your article in the Maritime Advocate, issue 832 with interest and amusement. Especially close to my heart (and my experience) was the section about COLREGS. I used to study the subject and was always wondering who was behind the most recent edition (1972).

Almost all previous versions (starting from the 12-th century Rules d’Oleron until 1929) made sense and were prompted by real needs of the maritime world (e.g. the 1905 disaster forced the establishment of fishing boats’ lights). The two subsequent versions (1948 and 1960) slightly modified the above and addressed contemporary navigational tools. None were perfect but the 1972 edition ….well, you nailed it in your second paragraph – I couldn’t express it better.

For my own sake I formulated an explanation:

Until 1960 the Rules of the Road were conceived and worded

BY THE MARINERS FOR THE MARINERS

The 1972 version was devised and worded

BY THE LAWYERS FOR THE LAWYERS!

And, lest we forget, legal minds are still working and probably concocting something new – God help all the future seamen.
 

Manjit Handa writes

If the IMO is going to attempt a comprehensive review of COLREGS,  the only way to ensure a wider acceptance and understanding of the new version would be the provision of a translation into the native languages of the ethnic groups that contribute the most officers to the maritime community i.e. India, China, Philippines, Indonesia etc

As an example to support my argument, I would like you to attempt to translate Rule 8f of COLREGS into Hindi or Mandarin. A painful bout of migraine will ensue.

Compliance with COLREGS is more of a cultural issue than merely a rule-based order. In some cultures, giving way at sea (which is what it is, even if COLREGS has abandoned that term) is worse than surrendering to an enemy in a battle. You ought to hear the vehemence of the VHF exchange when neither of the two ships in a crossing situation want to give it up. The motto is “ME? NO WAY.”

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