The Maritime Advocate–Issue 835



1. An accident of our times
2. IMO Secretary General appointed
3. Emerging emojis
4. Bilateral seafarers programme
5. Decarbonisation centre
6. Bravery at sea
7. Bunker analysis
8. Black Sea cover
9. Harbour safety
10. Debt repayment
11. Combatting slavery
12. Loss of life
13. Floating rigs
14. Fossil fuels
15. World Maritime theme
16. Turkey links

Notices & Miscellany

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

1. An accident of our times

By Michael Grey

The report into the loss of the bulker Wakashio, which stranded and broke up on the shores of Mauritius in July 2023, has finally been made public by the Panamanian authorities. There are few surprises in this report, the main findings having been earlier made available to the IMO, which was justifiably concerned at the devastation caused to the pristine foreshore by the ship’s spilled bunkers.

It is one of those accidents which might be considered inexcusable. She was a modern, well-equipped ship, operated by a famous Japanese line and managed by one of the most reputable ship managers. Her stranding caused considerable environmental harm, cost the senior officers their liberty, everyone concerned their reputation and the subsequent removal of the wreck and the clean-up, enormous expense. There was just no reasonable excuse for such an occurrence and probably not a lot to be learned from a professional point of view, from the analysis of the events.

And yet…. The loss of the Wakashio might be considered an accident of its time, that just would not have occurred in another era. What was the ship, which should have passed the coast of Mauritius well clear, doing so close in the first place? The answer is clear enough – they closed the land so that they could get a signal on their mobile phones, so that the crew could speak to their nearest and dearest. The date is significant, too, with Covid raging around the world, no shore leave or reliefs and society in general expecting (if they ever even thought about seafarers for a second)shipping to keep world trade and the stuff they all needed, flowing. Crews were expected to work months beyond their contracted tour lengths, with no expectation of any change in their circumstances and additional and cumulative concerns about how their families were faring in the pandemic far away.

The chance of a telephone conversation as the vessel skirted the coasts of Mauritius was something that clearly assumed a lot of importance for this small isolated group of people. There was a birthday on board and some effort to cheer up their unenviable circumstances.

The Panamanian report makes clear all the various things that went badly wrong before the ship came to grief. There was a lack of vigilance, with the watch officer apparently distracted by his phone and unsupported, forgetting the master’s order regarding the closest approach to land. The chart was the wrong scale and it appeared that everybody who could have supported the navigation was otherwise occupied. It was in short, a navigational shambles.

You might say that there was a complete dereliction of duty and you would probably be correct, in an accident which just would not have happened in another age, before personal communications became so important to us all. Most people ashore would be appalled at the prospect of being parted from their mobile devices for weeks on end, and the modern seafarer, although having to put up with such isolation, clearly feels the isolation keenly. In earnest discussions about future labour shortages and how recruitment and retention can be encouraged, it is clear that communications with nearest and dearest, in distant memory confined to snail mail and the agent’s boat, have become entrenched as essential human rights.

Any survey of seafarer attitudes will confirm the importance of communications with employers being effectively rated by their provision of communication access. And seafarers jolly well know, as they sit aboard ships which are wired up for instant data transmission, that the technology is eminently available to keep them in touch, at a reasonable cost.

It might be suggested that this accident was not the first contributed to by the distractions of communication and will not be the last. There is something about novelty in the maritime world that will inevitably contribute to accidents, which just would not have happened had they not been available. The “radar assisted” collision, misunderstandings caused by VHF, AIS, GPS – now mobile distraction, its just the latest addition to the technological armoury which will briefly take our attention, until it is replaced by something else. Artificial intelligence – navigation advised by Alexa – who knows what delights are to come?

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

2. IMO Secretary-General appointed

Arsenio Antonio Dominguez Velasco (Republic of Panama) has been elected as the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), with effect from 1 January 2024, for an initial term of four years.

The IMO Council voted to appoint him during its 129th session (C 129), which met from 17 to 21 July 2023.The decision of the Council will be submitted to the IMO Assembly, which meets for its 33rd session from 27 November to 6 December 2023, for approval.

He is currently director of IMO’s Marine Environment Division. He has been director of IMO’s Marine Environment Division since January 2022. He joined the IMO Secretariat in 2017, first as Chief of Staff to the Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, before being appointed in 2020 as director of the Organization’s Administrative Division.

He was born in the Republic of Panama and graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the Fermin Naudeu Institute in Panama. He went on to study Naval Architecture at the University of Veracruz, Mexico, graduating in 1995. Mr. Dominguez Velasco also holds an MBA from the University of Hull, and a Certificate of Higher Education in International Law and European Politics from Birkbeck University, both in the United Kingdom.

His maritime career began in 1996 as a port engineer at Armadores del Caribe in Panama before moving to become a drydock assistant manager at Braswell Shipyard.

In 1998, Dominguez Velasco moved to London to join the Panama Maritime Authority as head of the Technical and Documentation Regional Office for Europe and North of Africa. He went on to represent Panama in a variety of roles at the organization, culminating in 2014 with his appointment as Panama’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to IMO until 2017.

Between 2014 and 2017, Dominguez Velasco chaired IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), and in 2015 he chaired the Technical Committee of the 25th session of the IMO Assembly. Prior to this, between 2010 and 2014, he chaired the Maritime Security – Piracy and Armed Robbery Working Group under the auspices of the organization’s Maritime Safety Committee.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping commented: “It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work with Kitack Lim over the past eight years. Kitack steered the International Maritime Organization   successfully through challenging times, calmly and with direction, and everyone at the International Chamber of Shipping wishes Kitack every success in his future endeavours.

“We look forward to working with Arsenio Dominguez, and know that Mr Dominguez will lead with equal measures of authority, purpose and compassion. The position of IMO Secretary General is not an easy one, and there are undoubtedly challenges ahead as the industry strives to meet the 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets, but it will be a pleasure to tackle these challenges head on with Mr Dominguez for a better and safer future for our industry and its people.”

3.   Emerging emojis

Brian Perrott & Stephanie Morton of HFW have brought to our attention a Canadian Court ruling that an emoji can create a legally binding contract.*

The matter concerned a Canadian grain company called South West Terminal Ltd (“South West”) and a farmer named Mr Achter. The parties had entered into four grain deals previously.

During negotiations for a fifth grain deal, South West sent a photograph of the draft contract to Mr. Achter by phone. This was accompanied by a message saying “Please confirm flax contract”. Mr. Achter responded by sending a thumbs-up emoji.

When no grain was delivered, South West brought a claim against Mr. Achter for breach of contract. Mr. Achter’s position was that the thumbs-up emoji simply indicated that the flax contract had been received. His understanding was that the full contract would follow by fax or email for his review and signature.

The Canadian judge held that the thumbs-up emoji was sufficient to create a binding contract. He considered that the meaning of the thumbs-up emoji was to approve the flax contract and not simply confirm its receipt. His view was that the parties had reached consensus ad item, a meeting of minds, as they had done for previous contracts.


Lawyers are used to debating the meaning of words, but it seems inevitable that this will soon extend to debating the meaning of emojis.

We expect the English Courts would follow a similar approach to the Canadian Court given the right facts. As such, the use of an emoji may be sufficient to constitute acceptance of a contractual offer.

While text exchanges are often considered to be ‘less formal’, it should be remembered that it is possible to enter into a binding agreement via exchanges of text messages. Clarity of communication is therefore important regardless of the channel used.

*South West Terminal Ltd. v Achter Land & Cattle Ltd. , 2023 SKKB 11

It’s a privilege…

Brian Perrott & Stephanie Morton have also considered the issue that if a document is legally privileged, you can withhold  production of it to a third party or court.

“What is and what is not privileged is often a tricky question.  Put at its simplest, legal privilege presents two options: is the document confidential legal advice or is the document produced for the dominant purpose of litigation?

“In this complex area we can share with confidence a few take aways: sending a document to a lawyer does not cloak it in privilege, mass circulation of legal advice can result in the loss of privilege, and commercial advice or commercial chatter around an issue is most unlikely to attract privilege. We have recently conducted a look at privilege from an in-house lawyer’s perspective and the board room and we would be happy to discuss or present our thoughts and guidance with you. Please engage if interested.”

4. Bilateral seafarers programme

Union RMT recently responded to the bilateral agreement between the UK and French Governments over voluntary seafarer employment and welfare standards, launched at a signing ceremony in Paris, where the UK Government was represented by the shipping minister, Baroness Vere of Norbiton.

Bilateral agreements with other nations on short sea shipping routes from the UK were part of the Government’s Nine Point Plan in response to P&O Ferries and DP World’s unlawful attacks on 786 UK seafarers and apprentices sixteen months ago.The UK Government has also launched a voluntary seafarers charter.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “This agreement recognises the threat that unlawful operators like P&O Ferries continue to represent to seafarers across the UK and Europe. We need mandatory employment standards to grow jobs for our Ratings and Officers on short sea shipping routes from all UK ports, including to France. RMT look forward, with optimism to working on delivering fair pay and a new deal for this country’s seafarers, consistent with the trade union rights of French seafarers on international routes, when the voluntary seafarers’ charter is reviewed after the next General Election.

“Now it’s over to P&O Ferries, Irish Ferries, crewing agents and other shipowners to confirm whether they will or will not comply with the seafarers’ charter, including the two week on two week off roster pattern.”

5.  Decarbonisation centre

At a ceremony at the IMO headquarters in London,   Suhail Al Mazrouei, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, and Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, chief executive of DNV Maritime, representing the Foundation Det Norske Veritas, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on establishing a new UAE Decarbonisation Centre.

The Marine Environment Protection Committee’s (MEPC) 80th session this month showed that shipping is now on an accelerating path towards full decarbonisation. However, the challenge of realizing this goal is complex and can only be achieved through a cooperative cross-industry effort.

The new UAE Maritime Decarbonisation Centre, the new joint initiative from the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates and Foundation Det Norske Veritas (DNV), is designed to put this collaborative focus at the centre of sustainable decarbonization. It will work to connect stakeholders from across the maritime industry and beyond, to become a driving force for reducing green-house gas (GHG) emissions globally.

“The establishment of the UAE Maritime Decarbonisation Centre reflects our unwavering commitment to addressing climate change and promoting sustainable practices within the maritime industry,” said Suhail Al Mazrouei. “By collaborating with DNV, we aim to leverage their expertise and global network to drive innovation and accelerate the adoption of decarbonisation technologies. The Centre will play a pivotal role in advancing our national and regional sustainability goals, while contributing to the global efforts in combating climate change.”

“The Foundation Det Norske Veritas is driven by a desire to help society tackle major global transformations,” said Remi Eriksen, President and chief executive of the Foundation Det Norske Veritas and DNV. “The recent IMO decision to greatly strengthen international shipping’s emissions targets will spur the maritime industry to accelerate its transition. At DNV we deeply believe that cross-industry collaboration is vital to realising this goal and are working to share our deep and broad industry expertise through maritime decarbonisation centres in key regions of the world. The founding of the UAE Decarbonisation Centre, in cooperation with the Ministry, is another significant milestone for the industry and we look forward to welcoming new partners in the future.”

The Centre will take a multi-faceted approach, working on leading joint industry research programmes, collaboration with governmental, industry, and academic stakeholders, and attracting and developing new talent to the industry. In addition, the Centre will focus on programmes that incubate and accelerate the development of new technologies and provide a centralized hub for information on decarbonization solutions.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with the UAE’s Ministry of Infrastructure & Energy to establish the Maritime Decarbonization Centre,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime. “Initiatives like the Centre are essential as we look to accelerate towards a decarbonized future. We need to build via cooperation, foster innovation, and scale local strengths into global leadership. With its strategic location and strong support from industry leaders, the Centre is poised to become a hub for maritime decarbonization efforts.”

The partners are planning to launch the Centre at the beginning of 2024.

6. Bravery at sea   

Caleb Halle, Aviation Survival Technician Second Class of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), based at the Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, is to receive the 2023 IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea, for his outstanding courage, endurance and determination shown during the rescue of the seven-strong crew of the tugboat Legacy in January 2023.

Four individuals or sets of nominees will receive certificates of commendation for their acts of bravery. A further 13 will receive letters of commendation.

On 14 January 2023, the tugboat Legacy was en route towing a barge when its tow lines snapped in strong winds and heavy swells. The vessel and its crew of seven were adrift in violent rolling seas, 35 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland on the east coast of the United States of America.

After several unsuccessful rescue attempts by a USCG cutter, a helicopter rescue team was dispatched. Helicopter CG-6566 was to execute a rescue plan led by Aviation Survival Technician Second Class (AST2) Caleb Halle.

Once at the incident scene, the helicopter crew attempted a hoist operation from the stern of the Legacy. In hugely challenging circumstances, AST2 Halle was able to help one survivor to reach the rescue basket before determining it was unsafe to continue. He identified a safer location on the main deck and notified his crew to reposition. AST2 Halle ensured the safe recovery of two further survivors. Running low on fuel, the helicopter had to depart the scene. But AST2 Halle volunteered to remain on site to reassure the four remaining tugboat crew and to assist a relief Coast Guard helicopter when it arrived.

Helicopter CG-6024 reached the scene as darkness was falling, making conditions increasingly difficult. Communications between AST2 Halle and the helicopter were lost as it approached, and after several failed attempts to deploy its rescue swimmer, Halle was able eventually to assist his colleague to reach the violently pitching main deck of the tugboat. Working together, they managed to hoist the four remaining tugboat crew to safety.

AST2 Halle conducted a final search inside the Legacy to ensure no one was left behind. A large wave hit the boat – and at this point the water-tight seal of his survival suit was damaged.

As the two rescue swimmers were, themselves, about to be hoisted off the tugboat, it suddenly pitched violently upwards, throwing them both into the freezing and turbulent water, close to the tugboat propellers. AST2 Halle’s survival suit was beginning to flood. The situation was critical, but once the helicopter was able to regain position, both rescue swimmers were finally winched from the sea.

The Panel of Judges agreed that, throughout the operation, AST2 Caleb Halle clearly demonstrated exceptional bravery and determination, despite the extreme conditions and the complexities of a multi-unit rescue, coupled with communications failures.

Certificates of Commendation

The Council agreed to award certificates of commendation to:

1. The crew of the tug vessel SL Diamantina, nominated by Australia, for their crucial role in the three-day-long coordinated rescue of 21 crew members from the bulk carrier Portland Bay, carrying 1,000 tons of fuel oil. A marine pollution incident was prevented.

2. José Cardoso Lemos, subsistence fisher, nominated by Brazil, for his bravery, selfless actions and determination in singlehandedly pulling 25 survivors off the sunken passenger vessel Dona Lourdes II to safety on his fishing boat, before assisting with the recovery of the bodies of others who had drowned.

3. The crew of the fishing vessel Zhe Long Gang Yu 05668, nominated by China, for their outstanding courage and tireless efforts during the rescue of another fishing vessel, the Zhe Ling Yu Yun 30058, which had caught fire, with flames quickly spreading due to strong winds. Twelve survived; sadly, one fisherman lost his life.

4. Aviation Survival Technician Third Class John Walton, rescue swimmer on board helicopter CG-6009, Aviation Training Centre Mobile, Sector North Bend, United States Coast Guard, nominated by the United States. AST3 Walton played a vital role in saving the life of a person thrown overboard from the motor yacht Sandpiper when it capsized.

Letters of Commendation will be sent to:

1. The Master and crew of the M/V Guo Yuan 8, nominated by China, for their roles in the rescue in severe weather and sea conditions of five of the 22 crew members of the capsized cargo vessel Jin Tian.

2. The Master and crew of the M/T Liao You 123, nominated by China, for the rescue in strong winds and freezing temperatures of the three crew of fishing vessel Liao Ying 35419 who were suffering from hypothermia.

3. LV Pierre Bonneau, MP Vanessa Legall and MT Guillaume Colin, helicopter detachment of the Flotilla 34F on board the patrol frigate Prairial, French Navy, nominated by France, for their roles in the international rescue operation of the Peruvian Navy vessel BAP Guise, which had caught fire.

4. Louis Vasseur, volunteer rescue swimmer and crew member on board the all-weather boat SNS 086 Cap Fagnet, Fécamp Rescue Station, National Sea Rescue Society, nominated by France, for the rescue of two crew members of the sailing vessel Appollonia during a storm.

5. Clément Belin and Nino Verlie, crew members of the intervention, assistance and rescue tug Abeille Normandie, nominated by France, for their rescue using an inflatable boat of two people who were being swept off Carnot dyke at Le Portel in the Pas-de-Calais due to rough seas.

6. Diego D Sachs, Sascha Kümpel, Nick Tamm and Marek Möckel, members of a Towing Assistance Team of the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration, nominated by Germany, for their actions which saved the lives of those onboard the cargo vessel Royal II which was disabled and drifting towards the coast and at risk of grounding or collision. A serious marine pollution incident was avoided.

7. Captain Anil Choudhary and the crew of the M/V Helios Leader, nominated separately by India and Singapore, for their contributions to the rescue operation of more than 300 people on board the wooden boat Lady R3 which was adrift and taking on water in rough seas.

8. The crew of the patrol vessel 3016, Coast Guard Station Donghae, Republic of Korea Coast Guard, nominated by the Republic of Korea, for the 63-hour long rescue of 10 crew members of the fishing vessel 133 Samhwa which had suffered engine failure and lost communication in extreme weather.

9. Captain Yeonghwan Park, Master of the fishing vessel 2016 Sinaesan, nominated by the Republic of Korea, for the rescue of the nine-strong crew of the sinking cargo vessel Hyundai Fashion. They had abandoned ship in dangerous waters and deteriorating weather conditions.

10. Captain Anatoliy Golev and the crew of the tanker NCC Najem, nominated separately by Saudi Arabia and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), for their roles in the rescue in strong currents and high waves of 35 survivors who were found in the sea after their vessel capsized. They also recovered a body.

11. The team of the Fene Strategic Base (A Coruña), including the officer responsible for SAR and pollution response operations, and the diving intervention unit of Ardentia Marine, Maritime Rescue and Safety Agency, nominated by Spain, for the night-time rescue in rough seas of the only crew member of the capsized sailing vessel Jeanne Solo Sailor.

12. DCC Michael A Filippone, DC1 Rilee E Williams, DC2 William J Parker and DC2 Kevin B Smith, Damage Control Division of the USCGC Midgett, United States Coast Guard, nominated by the United States, for their professionalism and diligence during the international rescue operation involving the Peruvian naval vessel BAP Guise which had caught fire.

13. Captain Sergey Vasiliev, Master of the M/V Nordic Qinngua, nominated by the Faroes, for the rescue in heavy seas and strong winds of two people who had abandoned their capsized rowing boat and were found in a life raft in heavy seas and rough winds.

Rescuing migrants at sea

The Panel of Judges decided that 15 nominations of merchant vessels involved in the rescue operation of migrants, submitted by Georgia, India, Marshall Islands, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), will receive certificates in Special recognition for merchant vessels and their crew involved in the rescue of mixed migrants at sea (resolution A.1093(29)). The captain and crew nominated by India have already been issued with such a certificate.

Currently, only member states can nominate crews deserving of recognition in the rescue of migrants at sea carried out by merchant vessels. Following an increase in the number of nominations received from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in consultative status with IMO, the panel of judges agreed that resolution A.1093(29) should be revised by the IMO Secretariat to allow the submission of nominations by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) in cooperation with IMO and NGOs. The Council agreed to forward the revised draft Assembly resolution to the Assembly for adoption, to allow submission of nominations by IGOs and NGOs, as well as by member states.

7. Bunker analysis

FuelTrust has released a new report examining bunker discrepancies in the maritime industry, which includes examples of unethical practices and fraudulent activities related to bunkering.

FuelTrust’s analysis found that between 2021 and 2022, more than 39% of global bunkers exhibited a fuel content delta of 2% or more compared to the amounts stated in their delivery paperwork. The primary issue identified was the introduction of water into the fuels during the journey from onshore storage tanks to the ship’s bunker tank. This problem typically involved an increase from 0.1% to above 0.25% water content, which, although below the regulated threshold, still resulted in average losses of $14,910 per affected delivery.

The maritime fuel market has a long history of not being transparent. Bunker fuels account for more than 50% of a vessel’s operational expenses, meaning fraudulent practices and inadequate supply chain management can significantly affect the profitability of vessel owners and charterers, and fuel suppliers. Just this month, eleven Ships lost propulsion, and over 100 ships were affected in a single incident of fuel contamination in Houston.

Even fuel considered “on-spec” (meeting specified quality standards) experiences volume or content issues, leading to financial losses or engine problems. In the past year, over 600 vessels were disabled through fuel problems, despite the fuel being ‘on-spec’, resulting in estimated global supply chain losses exceeding $5 billion. Both fuel suppliers and shipowners incurred financial losses, which are difficult to detect and make claims against.

FuelTrust’s AI-based approach to creating a trusted fuel ecosystem through transparency and traceability addresses the challenges in the fuel supply chain, particularly in the maritime sector. By providing visibility into the final outcomes of fuel products, fuel suppliers can better understand and validate their offerings, while fuel buyers can combat fraud, minimize losses, and mitigate environmental risks.

Jonathan Arneault, CEO and Co-Founder of FuelTrust commented: “This new research across the global bunkering market emphasizes the need for better transparency. By providing visibility, traceability, and security throughout the fuel supply chain, FuelTrust is improving operational efficiency, helping reduce environmental impact, and fostering trust among all stakeholders.”

“As the latest contamination case demonstrates, it’s essential that ship owners, bunker suppliers and charterers can gain better insight into their fuel supply chains. Better information on the fuel we use is also a foundational block of any serious GHG reduction strategy.”

Please find a link to the whitepaper on ‘The cost of fraud in the maritime fuel market’, here:

8. Black Sea cover

According to an article in Hellenic Maritime News quoting a Reuter’s report, insurers are reviewing whether to freeze cover for any ships willing to sail to Ukraine after Russia said recently it will suspend participation in a UN-backed deal that allows the export of grain through a Black Sea safe corridor.

The agreement, brokered by Turkey last July, aimed to alleviate a global food crisis by allowing Ukrainian grain blocked by the Russia-Ukraine conflict to be exported safely.

“Due to the collapse of the Black Sea corridor deal, most shipowners will now refrain from calling Ukrainian ports,” Christian Vinther Christensen, chief operating officer with Danish shipping group Norden told Reuters.

Insurance has been vital to ensure shipments through the corridor and industry sources said the suspension by Russia was being evaluated in terms of whether cover in some form could continue.

“Some underwriters will look to take advantage with a hefty increase in rates. Others will stop offering cover. The (key) question is whether Russia mines the area which would effectively cease any form of cover being offered,” one insurance industry source said.

The Lloyd’s of London insurance market has already placed the Black Sea region on its high-risk list.

“Annual cover remains in place but voyages to listed areas will be assessed individually as and when seen,” said Neil Roberts, head of marine and aviation at Lloyd’s Market Association, which represents the interests of all underwriting businesses in Lloyd’s.

Additional war risk insurance premiums, which are charged when entering the Black Sea area, need to be renewed every seven days. They already cost thousands of dollars and are expected to go up, while shipowners could prove reluctant to allow their vessels to enter a war zone without Russia’s agreement.

“I don’t believe there are many enquiries at the moment as getting an owner to operate on past charter terms without an initiative would be difficult,” another industry source said.“Danger money hire rates would probably be required, aside from the provision for extra insurance costs.”
Commenting on the situation,  IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said:   “I deeply regret to learn of the disruption to the Black Sea Initiative. The unimpeded flow of shipping around the globe is of critical importance and central to the work of the IMO. The movement of ships through the Black Sea Initiative and its impact in getting food to those who need it most, as well as stabilizing world food prices, is proof that shipping must always continue to move. IMO remains ready to support the UN’s efforts to find pathways for solutions to preserve the global supply chain and food security.”

9. Harbour safety

The International Harbour Masters Association (IHMA) has joined in an industry initiative to promulgate a vision for the improved safety and security of global trade by taking advantage of unified information and data sources to bring greater awareness and understanding of the issue.

The IHMA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as a result of collaboration with the  Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS); Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP); Container Owners Association (COA); International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) and Ship Message Design Group (SMDG) which inaugurated the MOU in March of this year.  Concentrating on improved safety during the global transport and handling of goods that have the potential to cause injury to the workforce and/or damage to the environment, all the signatories have a commonality of purpose. The chief aim is to create a framework for cooperation that enables each signatory to benefit from any of the other’s activities in respect of their areas of joint interest.

The leading industry bodies will be able to coordinate data, research and best practices across global cargo supply chains to further develop awareness throughout the freight industry, amongst operators, regulators and policy makers as to practical and effective measures to improve safety.

Captain Paul O’Regan, President, IHMA said, “As the professional body for those with responsibility for the safe, secure, efficient and environmentally sound conduct of marine operations in port waters, IHMA recognises that accidents and incidents happen in port as well as at sea,” he said.  “This collaboration with the MOU partners and the other organisations will help us to enhance safety throughout the ports sector and create a platform for mutually beneficial work on safety initiatives in the maritime environment.”

In welcoming IHMA, the CEO of ICHCA, Richard Steele said, “it is a first-class addition to have the IHMA on-side because harbour masters play a crucial role in both maritime safety and the ship shore interface.  Their leadership on navigational safety along with an essential contribution to wider operational safety, security and environmental protection puts them at the crossroads of the activities that the MOU partners are seeking to continuously improve.”

10. Debt repayment

The International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC)   has warned stakeholders to ensure measures are in place to cover additional financial obligations when settling unforeseen invoices.

In the latest edition of its Claims Review,   ITIC shared a case study where a ship was arrested to force the ship owner to compensate their agent for unpaid debts for a tug owner’s services during previous rescue efforts of a different ship within its fleet.

The ship owner, whose ship experienced difficulties in the Atlantic, requested a ship agent to arrange tugs to attend to the ship. The agent arranged for tugs to participate in the ship’s rescue, but the ship subsequently sank.

The agent later received invoices totalling US$220,000 from the tug company, which they passed to the owner.

The owner claimed they were in financial difficulties due to losing their ship and could not pay the invoice. They promised to pay once one of their other ships had been sold, but it was undetermined when this might be. In the meantime, the agent was coming under pressure to settle the invoices of the tug company directly.

ITIC wrote to the owner but did not receive a response. ITIC noted that another ship operated by the same owner was heading to a French port. France is considered an “arrest friendly” jurisdiction as it usually allows for the arrest of sister ships. The ship in question had a different registered owner, but advice from French lawyers confirmed that an arrest should be possible as the beneficial owner appeared to be the same.

The ship was arrested, and to obtain its release, the owner placed security through a cash deposit into the court’s account. The ship was released and negotiations for the payment of the invoices began.

Ultimately, the tug owner agreed to lower their demands to US$ 100,000, and the matter was settled for this sum by the owner.

Mark Brattman, Claims Director at ITIC, says: “If a shipping line becomes bankrupt, suppliers will look to get paid by any means and from any party. Having suitable insurance in place can therefore be very helpful for agents finding themselves in these situations.”

11. Combatting slavery

Maritime charity Stella Maris has launched a new workshop series across the UK.  These workshops are aimed at empowering individuals to identify cases of modern slavery within the maritime industry, supporting victims and survivors of modern slavery and raising awareness of the issue.

According to the most recent report from the International Labour Organisation, there has been a 10% increase in forced labour since 2016. This is a trend recognised by Stella Maris chaplains around the world. Seafarers and fishers who endure extended periods away from home and who may face isolation on vessels can be particularly susceptible to exploitation. In response, Stella Maris is taking proactive steps to address and help combat this issue.

The newly developed workshops, funded by the Department for Transport through the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, will provide participants with essential knowledge and tools to identify signs of modern slavery and to respond effectively to potential cases. The sessions will be led by a panel of experts and will focus on key topics, including: recognising indicators of exploitation, ways to reduce the risks of modern slavery, understanding the emerging threats and trends in modern slavery, and identifying and accessing appropriate support networks for those escaping modern slavery. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear the voices of some of those who have experienced modern slavery firsthand.

Speaking about the initiative, Tim Hill MBE, CEO at Stella Maris, stated, “We are extremely proud to launch these workshops as part of our ongoing commitment to improving the welfare of seafarers and fishers. Forced labour and modern slavery have no place in the modern maritime sector in the UK. By empowering individuals to recognise and address instances of these crimes, we can help to create a safer environment for those who work at sea.”

The workshops will be open to front-line port personnel, including ship visitors, ship operators, port authorities, law enforcement agencies, and other port stakeholders who come into contact with seafarers and fishers. To ensure accessibility and increased reach, the workshops will be held in six locations around the UK: Liverpool, Bristol, Hull, Glasgow, Portsmouth and Belfast. To find information about the workshop series, visit the Stella Maris website at 

12. Loss of life

Human Rights at Sea and over 300 signatories have called for an urgent independent investigation into the circumstances of the recent loss of an estimated 650 lives as a result of a shipwreck on 14 June 2023, off the coast of Pylos, Greece.

The letter restates the relevant legal position and emphasises that Greece has not only the right but, importantly, the duty to intervene, assist and rescue those on board irrespective of their status as migrants or smugglers, regardless of whether they asked for or refused assistance, even though the incident took place on the high seas.
The signatories of the letter emphasise that this incident highlights the urgent need to address the issue of pushbacks and the practice of ‘delayed/non-assistance’ in the Mediterranean. These practices not only undermine well-established legal obligations but also cast doubt on fundamental principles of international law and, more importantly, are leading to tragedies at sea.

In the letter, academic experts on migration, asylum, human rights law, public international law, the law of the sea and international criminal law raise important legal questions and call for a comprehensive examination of the incident.

Dr. Elizabeth Mavropoulou, Lecturer in International Law (University of Westminster), one of the initiators of the letter, and former Human Rights at Sea Head of Research, highlights the importance of legal clarity:

“While the investigation of the tragic incident is ongoing, it is important that we steer clear from any intentional or unintentional misrepresentation of the current state of international law relating to search and rescue. Contrary to popular belief, for the purposes of search and rescue, the high seas or international waters are divided into zones between states. In this case, the migrant boat in distress was within Greece’s search and rescue zone, and therefore Greece had a legal duty to rescue”.
The full text of the open letter and the list of signatories can be found here:

13. Floating rigs

The floating rig market has long since crossed an inflection point incentivising the reactivation of cold-stacked tonnage, yet operators remain disciplined in their approach, according to new research by Maritime Strategies International.

In its Q2 MODU Report, MSI notes an improvement in energy market conditions has driven up rig demand against a backdrop of inelastic supply, supporting utilisation, earnings and newbuilding prices for mobile offshore drilling units.

This healthier outlook, in addition to concerns about the capacity of the active fleet to meet forecast demand, have shone the spotlight on the cold-stacked fleet. The oil market plunge between 2014 and 2016 saw the proportion of the cold-stacked floater fleet go from 8% to 25% in just two years. Day rates remained dismal through the second half of the decade and total floater supply has since contracted to rebalance the market with further scrapping.

Now with demand improving, the decisions of a handful of operators will largely determine the segment’s near-to-medium term supply and demand balance. There are notionally 41 cold-stacked floaters as of May 2023 – 22 of which are 6th or 7th generation assets and would be deemed most competitive.

As a side note, at an estimated $600m, a newbuild UDW drillship would come at a considerable cost; and the rig owners with balance sheets that could make such an outlay all have pools of cold-stacked units, for which reactivation would make more economic sense.

“Rig owners differ materially in their approach and attitudes towards their stacked fleets. Transocean has the largest fleet of cold-stacked units and hence lays claim to the most operational leverage within its peer group,” says Pradip Adhikari, Data and Markets Analyst, MSI. “For Valaris, reactivation will only be considered where a meaningful return can be made on reactivation costs under a firm contract. This strategy is evident in its most recent reactivation, the Valaris DS-8, which secured a three-year contract with Petrobras at a $430,000/day rate.”

For the likes of Diamond Offshore and SOCAR, MSI expects little appetite for reactivation of first to fourth generation units but there is growing interest in assets that can command higher rates. Diamond recently reactivated the Ocean GreatWhite and has given no indication of any such plans for the three remaining units.

“Noble Corp and Seadrill have four cold-stacked high-spec drillships between them which have been actively marketed in recent tenders – we think these are likely to join the active fleet soon given the current demand-side momentum,” adds Adhikari.

14. Fossil Fuels

The EU’s landmark green shipping law will still leave the bloc dependent on fossil fuels beyond 2050, new Transport & Environment (T&E) analysis shows. The review of the EU’s FuelEU Maritime also shows that EU shipping will fall behind where it needs to be in every decade up to and beyond 2050, meaning the sector will almost certainly overshoot the target of keeping global heating to 1.5 degrees.

In April this year, the EU passed the world’s most ambitious green shipping law to date, which among other things set a mandatory target for the sector of 2% green e-fuels by 2034. But T&E’s analysis shows that this is not ambitious enough and by 2040 fossil fuels will continue to power three-quarters of European shipping’s energy needs.

Under the current law, 6% of shipping will run on green e-fuel by 2035 and this will rise to 24% by 2040. To ensure the sector decarbonises on time, the share of green e-fuels will need to be at least 18% and 85% in 2035 and 2040 respectively, alongside strong energy efficiency measures.

Alex Springer, shipping analyst at T&E, said: “Last year the EU took a major stride in tackling carbon emissions from ships by introducing the world’s first green fuels mandate for shipping. But in the midst of a climate crisis, what it requires of shipping companies is not enough. The EU’s failure to get shipping to zero by 2050 puts the bloc’s entire Green Deal at risk. Europe’s policymakers must go bolder and revise the targets immediately following next year’s European elections.”

15. World Maritime Theme

“Navigating the future: safety first!” has been selected for the International Maritime Organization’s 2024 World Maritime Theme, which will culminate in the celebration of World Maritime Day on 26 September 2024.

The theme reflects IMO’s work to enhance maritime safety and security, in tandem with the protection of the marine environment, whilst ensuring its regulatory development process safely anticipates the fast pace of technological change and innovation.

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said: “This theme would allow us to focus on the full range of safety regulatory implications arising from new and adapted technologies and the introduction of alternative fuels including measures to reduce GHG emissions from ships as IMO strives to ensure the safety and efficiency of shipping are maintained, and potentially improved, so that the flow of seaborne international trade continues to be smooth and efficient.”

Safety has been at the heart of all of IMO’s activities since the Organization was established in 1948. The regulatory framework is continuously evolving as gaps become apparent and as a result of IMO’s proactive work to anticipate changes needed to accommodate emerging technologies and innovation – a prominent example being the currently ongoing development of a goal-based Code for maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS Code).

2024 marks 50 years since the adoption of the 1974 SOLAS Convention, the key IMO treaty regulating maritime safety.

Digitalisation and automation are increasingly revolutionizing the shipping industry by introducing new technologies that enhance safety, security and efficiency, optimise performance, reduce environmental impact and ensure sustainability.

This is improving the overall efficacy and competitiveness of the shipping industry, making it possible to design, construct and operate ships more efficiently, handle more cargo, reduce costs and enhance customer satisfaction.

Shipping transports about 90% of global trade and is the least environmentally damaging mode of transport. It is manifestly obvious that improving the safety of ships and reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions go hand in hand – both are critical to achieving a sustainable and efficient maritime industry. The theme “Navigating the future: safety first!” promotes IMO’s ambitious and accelerated GHG reduction policy which includes the assessment of safety risks, that come with the introduction of new and adapted technologies and alternative fuels, and the development of regulatory measures to address and ultimately mitigate those risks.

The theme is also closely linked to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 7 on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by facilitating access to clean energy research and technology; SDG 8 on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; SDG 9 on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation; SDG 13 on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; and SDG 14 on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The IMO Council, meeting for its 129th session, endorsed the theme following a proposal by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

16. Turkey links

UK logistics company Davies Turner has welcomed plans for a broader UK-Turkey free trade agreement.

The UK and Turkey have committed to negotiate an updated Free Trade Agreement (FTA) designed to deepen the trade relationship between the two countries.

Tariff-free arrangements like the one signed in 2020, which was rolled over from when the UK left the EU, covering goods, but not areas such as services, digital and data, support the trading relationship between the  two countries, and bring benefits to UK importers and exporters, as well as the freight forwarding and logistics companies that manage their supply chains.

That’s the opinion of Alan Williams, company director, who adds that a new broader deal could boost trade and help businesses maximise opportunities in this area.

Williams says: “The tariff-free trading agreement signed in 2020, along with the problems in long distance supply chains, which have increasingly prompted traders to turn to Turkey as an alternative source of supply to countries in Asia, has had a major impact on the uptick in trading volumes between the two countries over the last two years.”

Notices & Miscellany

Climbing for charity
The Sailors Society is taking part in a   fundraising adventure – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  Sailors’ Society is a global maritime welfare charity supporting seafarers and their families in need, day and night 365 days a year.  Established in 1818, it continues to meet the welfare and wellbeing needs of seafarers and their families, wherever they may be.
To get more information and to book now please go to the Sailors’ Society website:

Cyber security

Cyber security is critical to enable the clean energy technologies and infrastructure that need to be deployed and operated at scale by the energy industry in the coming decades.

DNV’s new global report Energy Cyber Priority: Closing the gap between awareness and action,  explores the changing attitudes and approaches to cyber security in the energy industry.

Timely payments

MarTrust was featured in Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide recently. The article highlights the challenges faced by seafarers in receiving timely payments due to geopolitical conflicts and supply chain disruptions affecting traditional financial institutions. Read the full coverage here: Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide – Enabling Smooth Payments for Seafarers During Times

Starting them young! – Sam Ignarski’s grandson, Henry, with his container ship, a gift from Colin and Debra Lewin.

Please notify the Editor of your appointments, promotions, new office openings and other important happenings:

And finally,

(With thanks to Paul Dixon)

Here are definition questions and their answers from the exam to become a doctor at the Moron School Of Medicine:

QUESTION                           ANSWER

1. Artery                                 The study of painting

2. Bacteria                              Back door to cafeteria

3. Barium                                When doctors make mistakes

4. Bowel                                 A letter like a, e, i, o, u

5. Caesarian Section               A district in Rome

6. Cauterize                            Make eye contact with her

7. Coma                                  Punctuation mark

8. Cat scan                              Searching for kitty

9. Congenital                          Friendly

10. Dilate                                To live long

11. Enema                               Not a friend

12. Impotent                            Important and well known

13. Labor Pain                         Getting hurt at work

14. Medical Staff                    A Doctor’s walking stick

15. Morbid                              Make another bid

16. Nitrate                               Much cheaper than day rate

17. Out patient                        A patient who has fainted

18. Pelvis                                Cousin of Elvis

19. Post operative                   Letter deliveryman

20. Recovery Room               Place to do upholstery

21. Rectum                            Damn near killed ’em

22. Rheumatic                       Thinking of love

23. Secretion                          Hiding something

24. Seizure                            Marc Anthony’s friend

25. Tablet                              Small table

26. Tumour                           More than one

27. Urine                              Opposite of you’re out

28. Varicose                         Very, very close

29. Vein                                Conceited

30. Benign                           After you be 8 years old

Thanks for Reading the Maritime Advocate online

Maritime Advocate Online is a fortnightly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 20,000 individual subscribers each edition and republished within firms and organisations all over the maritime world. It is the largest publication of its kind. We estimate it goes to around 60,000 readers in over 120 countries.


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