The Maritime Advocate–Issue 838


1. Tunnel vision
2. Emerging danger of WhatsApps
3. Electric vehicle safety
4. Seafarers’ directory
5. Managing emissions
6. Border controls
7. Carbon capture studies
8. Trinity House
9. Cargo safety
10. Arbitration in London
11. Sampling liquid cargoes
12. AMSA ban
13. German tonnage tax
14. Pilotage
15. Asbestos hazards
Notices & Miscellany

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

1. Tunnel vision

By Michael Grey

Holidays are nearly over and the thousands marooned overseas because of the glitch on the UK air traffic control must surely have got back home, driving their friends crazy with lurid tales of their ordeals. It made a change from the travails caused by striking French air traffic controllers, but those affected would not have appreciated the difference. But with these regular and almost predictable disruptions to holiday plans, it always occurs to me that those operating alternative modes of transport, such as ferries, miss a trick.

If I was in charge of DFDS or Stena, I would, as the holiday period with its inevitable chaos approached, have crack teams of marketing executives standing by, ready to rush out the attractive alternatives to sleeping in an airport departure hall for several days or queuing for ten hours to be told your flight has been cancelled. At the height of the disruption, there was a rail travel expert putting the case for her favoured mode of transport so poetically, it almost brought tears to my eyes while I was washing up the dishes. All that was missing from her paean of love for the iron road, was its logical conclusion of the train arriving alongside the ferry berth, with a handsome ship alongside.

But all is not sweetness and light in the ferry business. We heard just today that the Shetland Island Council, so fed up at progress in the replacement of its inter-island ferry fleet, much of which is getting long in the tooth, is seriously contemplating connecting some of their islands with tunnels. You have to be slightly suspicious here, as it was only a month or so ago that news came from these northern islands that there was a serious movement to break away from the United Kingdom and join with their ancestral cousins in Norway. Norway is mad keen on tunnelling – they are even building one as a short cut for ships and doubtless there will be enthusiastic Norwegian civil engineers booking hotel rooms in Lerwick this week.

It is almost pointless to repeat here a sort of litany in favour of ferries when compared to fixed links, because there is an unfortunate fascination about the latter, that leads the authorities into spending eyewatering sums on bridges and tunnels, where ferries would have been infinitely cheaper, quicker to deliver at (usually) the contracted price and of pleasingly variable capacity. If the demand outstrips supply, just build bigger or more of them. What could be simpler? But invariably the beguiling tales from the civil engineers, offering employment, ease of travel and the thrill of ordering up millions of tons of concrete, will persuade the hapless decision-makers.

It could also be something of a ploy to stir the Scottish government in Edinburgh into some positive movement on Shetland ferries, by reminding them of the need to consider the age and infirmity of these useful and important little ships. Mind you, one suspects that just mentioning the word “ferry” to a member of the SNP government will have them rushing to the door, such are the frightful associations it will bring to mind. The ill- fated Calmac duo at Fergusons shipyard on the Clyde seem destined to cause endless embarrassment, and firm delivery dates have once again receded. But this should not be considered typical in the ferry construction world.

But the Shetland need for newer and better ferries emphasises once again the requirement for all island communities to be properly served by decent shipping. The Scottish islands fleet ought to justify a regular rebuilding programme, properly funded, rather than a sort of “make and mend” policy of not doing anything until the situation is absolutely desperate.

It was some months back that a very sensible proposal, involving the Australian designer Stuart Ballantyne and various Scottish associates was to organise the replacement of the considerable number of island ferries on a more systematic basis. It was suggested that the number of ships which were needed would more than justify a modern, local, construction facility, with ships built under cover, in series. Such a successful specialist operation would surely also be able to bid in confidence for export business. It was a well thought out scheme, but did not proceed any further, which might be thought typical these days. There is, regrettably in too many areas, a proliferation of tunnel vision.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List

2. Emerging danger of WhatsApps

HFW has put together an interesting piece on the potential dangers of WhatsApp penned by Brian Perrott and Colin Chen (

Great Britain’s energy regulator has fined Morgan Stanley £5.41m for failing to record and retain traders’ electronic communications.


The UK REMIT regime1 applies, broadly speaking, to all market participants in Great Britain who enter into transactions for wholesale energy products.2

In August 2023, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)3 announced that it had imposed the £5.41m fine for non-compliance with the UK REMIT Enforcement Regulations.4 Ofgem found that, based on responses to requests for information, and in relation to relevant communications from 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2020, Morgan Stanley had not taken reasonable steps:

to ensure that communications discussing wholesale energy product transactions, made by traders using WhatsApp on their personal devices, were recorded or retained (Regulation 8(3)); and

to prevent relevant communications from taking place which it could not ensure were recorded or retained (Regulation 8(6)).

Although Morgan Stanley had policies prohibiting the use of non-company approved messaging systems for business, it failed to take reasonable steps to monitor compliance with the policies and the risks of non-compliance.


This fine represents the first time that Ofgem has penalised a violation of UK REMIT of this nature. The powers provided to Ofgem under Regulation 8 of the UK REMIT Enforcement Regulations are crucial for ensuring that it may fully investigate and enforce against potential cases of non-compliance with UK REMIT. Such cases might relate to insider trading and market manipulation.
Exchanging instant messages via WhatsApp may be considered as a convenient form of communication. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is possible for such messages to result in legal consequences – and these may not necessarily be of a regulatory nature.
1 The retained EU law version of Regulation (EU) No. 1227/2011.

2 “Wholesale energy products” includes contracts for the supply of electricity and natural gas, and related derivatives, which are deliverable in the UK or the EU (irrespective of whether the market participant is a UK or EU entity).

3 On behalf of the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (GEMA).

4 The Electricity and Gas (Market Integrity and Transparency) (Enforcement etc.) Regulations 2013/1389.

3.   Electric vehicle safety

There are growing concerns within the shipping community, including marine underwriters, about fires breaking out on car carriers and roros with the assertion that many of these fires are attributable to electric vehicles. In response, the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) has researched these claims and published recommendations on the safe carriage of electric vehicles (EVs).

Lars Lange, IUMI Secretary General, explains: “Our paper draws on a body of scientific research which demonstrates that fires in battery EVs are not more dangerous than fires in conventional vehicles, nor are they more frequent. Although statistics continue to be gathered, they currently estimate that, in general, there are fewer fires from EVs  compared with fires from conventional vehicles when driven over the same distance.”

Research also proves that there is only a minor difference between total energy released during an EV fire and one that is related to an internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV). Once established, vehicle fires are largely (approx. 80%) fuelled by the car body and interior parts rather than the propulsion system. However, the potential for thermal runaway (when the battery suffers an unstable chemical reaction) exists for EVs whereas it is not a consideration for ICEVs. Thermal runaway makes fires hard to extinguish, hence mitigation measures such as boundary cooling must be employed rapidly. Moreover, the risk of re-ignition is higher for an extended period of time.

In the paper, IUMI makes important distinctions between roros and pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs) noting that many roros will stow cars on open decks where air flow makes fire-fighting more challenging. Ropax vessels (where passengers are also carried) present additional issues such as passengers wanting to charge onboard and the possibility of cars being loaded that are older and potentially less safe. Conversely, PCTCs tend to carry vehicles tightly packed leaving little room for emergency access and facilitating the rapid spread of a fire.

In light of this, IUMI concludes:

• Early fire detection and verification/confirmation is critically important to reduce the time between detection and firefighting response to a minimum. Options, in addition to the conventional systems, could include thermal imaging cameras and AI powered systems.
• Drencher systems are effective for fire-fighting onboard roro and ropax vessels both for EV and ICEV fires and should be installed alongside video monitoring systems.
• CO2 extinguishing systems, if applied quickly, are successful in fighting PCTC fires and their capacity should be doubled. High-expansion foam fire extinguishing systems have also proved to be effective to prevent heat transfer from one vehicle to another.
• Early detection, confirmation and a short response time are crucial to fight a fire successfully. On board PCTCs, fixed systems should always be applied before manual fire-fighting is employed.
• A clear policy is required on which cargo is accepted or rejected. Vehicles should be screened with used vehicles being checked carefully for hidden damage.
• Charging onboard ropax vessels should be permitted subject to relevant risk assessments and control measures. Safety mechanisms built into EVs are usually activated during charging.

The IMO’s Sub-Committee on Ship Systems and Equipment (SSE) will start work on the “Evaluation of adequacy of fire protection, detection and extinction arrangements in vehicle, special category and ro-ro spaces in order to reduce the fire risk of ships carrying new energy vehicles” beginning in March 2024.
Lars Lange concludes:“The regulatory process will be an opportunity to improve safety requirements making them fit for the new reality of large numbers of alternative fuel vehicles being carried on board vessels. IUMI will continue to contribute to this debate.”

The full IUMI paper is available here

An IUMI podcast on this subject was recorded   and features Martti Simojoki from IUMI’s Loss Prevention Committee and Hendrike Kühl, IUMI’s Policy Director. Listen to the podcast here

4. Seafarers’ directory

Global maritime charity Stella Maris has announced  the launch of a brand new version of its Port Chaplain Directory, a  tool which helps seafarers and fishers get access to pastoral, practical and spiritual support wherever they are in the world.

The Stella Maris Port Chaplain Directory 2023 lists telephone numbers and email addresses of the charity’s 257 chaplains in 353 ports across 57 countries worldwide.

It also highlights the ports in which Stella Maris Seafarers’ Centres are located. These centres provide a welcoming space where seafarers and fishers can go to relax, pray, contact family, socialise, and speak to a chaplain away from the environment of their ships.

Stella Maris CEO Tim Hill said, “Providing up to date and accurate details enables our network of chaplains to provide holistic care for seafarers and fishers in port after port worldwide. Our Port Chaplian Directory is a valuable resource both for crews and stakeholders in the maritime industry such as P&I clubs, shipping agents and port officials.”

The Directory was sponsored by Tindall Riley, Managers of the Britannia Group.Copies of the Directory have been sent out to Stella Maris chaplains globally for distribution to seafarers and fishers and ships.

It can also be found online at

5. Managing emissions

An integrated solution that enables ship operators both to manage emissions liabilities and trade carbon allowances under the impending EU ETS regime for shipping has been launched by maritime data firm OceanScore.

“The industry faces a major challenge to navigate the complexity of the new regulation and mitigate financial risk due to the requirement to purchase carbon credits to cover the cost of emissions, which will reach €8 billion or more annually,” OceanScore’s co-Managing Director Albrecht Grell said.

“The interplay between owners, managers and charterers creates significant complexities unique to shipping and poses potentially significant risks, especially for ship managers, if not managed properly. Excel alone will not be sufficient to maintain transparency and control of these processes.” 

The Hamburg-based firm has therefore developed the web-based ETS Manager to manage and monitor the entire process from automatically ingesting vessel operational data, assessing the need for EU Allowances (EUAs), allocating them to owners or stakeholders, requesting and accounting for them, and tracking open positions. It incorporates the advanced trading tool EUA Trader, powered by RWE Supply & Trading, to buy and sell EUAs.
Shipping companies, as the designated Document of Compliance holder (DoC holder) under the EU ETS regime, will be required to surrender to the authorities EUAs based on their annual emissions, starting at 40% of emissions in 2024 and rising to 70% and 100% of emissions in 2025 and 2026, respectively, under the three-year phase-in of the scheme.

This will necessitate having administrative systems in place to track emissions and determine the volume of EUAs required, as well as to assign the costs of these to the owner or charterer based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle to avoid unnecessary financial exposure for the DoC holder, typically a ship manager.

OceanScore’s co-Managing Director Ralf Garrn explained the regulation poses issues such as how to accurately monitor emissions, how to acquire and trade EUAs, which trading platform to use, how to achieve the best price, how many EUAs should be purchased and who should pay for carbon credits.

“With the clock ticking to implementation of the EU ETS, shipping companies need to understand the practical implications and initiate efficient systems to address these issues and ensure compliance. A solid monitoring solution, properly covering the many different options to deal with the ETS regime, is a necessity given the complexities of shipping and the ETS regulation,” he said.

6. Border controls

Commenting on the recent publication of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), setting out new controls to protect the UK against security and biosecurity threats and create a world-class border system for trade in goods, the British International Freight Association says it will mean a very hectic start to the new year for its members.

BIFA Director General, Steve Parker says: “Our members will already be in the process of moving all export declarations from CHIEF to CDS by 30 March 2024 and will now need to make sure they are ready for the delayed introduction of remaining sanitary and phytosanitary controls, as well as full customs controls for non-qualifying Northern Ireland goods, which will now be introduced from January 2024. Then from April 2024, will also have to implement checks on medium risk animal products, plants, plant products and high risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU.

“This further delay to the overall timetable is actually relatively short. Those BIFA members that are actively involved in handling the movement of the types of products imported into the UK for which Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks, safety and security declarations, and health certifications are required will be hoping that they will see a return on the time and money that they have invested in staff and resources to meet the original and five times revised implementation timetable.

“Those members, along with the trade association, have been cautious with any government announcements setting out new dates and an implementation timetable for the BTOM, and will continue to be so, as uncertainties remain.

“Whilst we need to thoroughly review the document in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how it will impact on the work of the freight forwarding and logistics companies that BIFA represents, a few things are clear.

“The BTOM does not address fundamental concerns raised by BIFA with DEFRA regarding the suitability of using the present Port Health Authorities to handle international trade.

“Whilst certain parts of the August 2023 version of the BTOM are an improvement over its previous incarnation, the trade association notes that that there are references to the Single Trade Window (STW) which is still very much under development. It is important to emphasise that the implementation of the BTOM is reliant on the implementation of a workable STW, as the two programmes are dependent on one another. After the STW has been developed additional time will be needed to link commercial IT systems to the STW.

“In view of the fact that large IT projects are often delayed there have to be concerns regarding the envisaged timetable.

Some comments in the document state that certain elements of the BTOM have not been finalised and that the timetable may be changed at a later date. In Kent, for example, clarity is essential for traders of SPS goods, but the document states that: “The provision of Inland Border Control facilities in Kent for goods entering the UK through the Short Straits  (Port of Dover and Eurotunnel) is being reviewed.” This uncertainty is not helpful for traders involved in this particular trade and makes it difficult to finalise decisions on routing and ensuring regulatory controls are complied with on such shipments.”

7. Carbon capture studies

Technology group Wärtsilä is now offering carbon capture and storage (CCS) feasibility studies to shipowners and operators, as part of moves  to research, develop and bring to market maritime CCS technologies. The studies have already been conducted on a range of vessel types including ro-ro and ro-pax vessels, a drill ship, a container vessel and a gas carrier.

The process takes four to six months of study and design work. Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment’s experts are involved in ship design at an early stage to conduct engineering work to understand how CCS can be smoothly integrated once the technology is launched to market.

Wärtsilä is conducting the feasibility studies across both newbuild and existing vessels. Retrofit CCS installations will be significantly smoothed by the presence of a scrubber onboard. Wärtsilä Exhaust Treatment is already offering CCS-Ready scrubbers to the market, which are integrated onboard in a way that enables a CCS system to be added easily in the future once the technology is commercialised.

During the feasibility studies, Wärtsilä’s experts closely examine the existing naval architecture of the ship and work to understand how the power, space and exhaust demands of CCS can be accommodated onboard. Owners will receive a qualified analysis of the costs of CCS integration, and a clear list of considerations on how a potential retrofit would be conducted in the least intrusive way.

Conducting the studies today enables Wärtsilä to bring forward the early stages of CCS integration and, in doing so, lower the barrier to entry once the technology is commercialised in the near future. The studies also serve to educate customers on the upsides and particular considerations associated with installing CCS onboard their vessels. 

8. Trinity House

Upon Captain Ian McNaught’s retirement in February 2024, Rear Admiral Iain Lower will join Trinity House as the Deputy Master and Chief Executive Officer.

He will be joining   from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission following a successful 32-year career in the Royal Navy, during which time he commanded four warships from Patrol Vessels to Destroyers on operations across the globe, from the Falklands to the Arabian Gulf.

Ashore he was Naval Assistant to the First Sea Lord, Head of the Africa Plans team at the UK’s Permanent Joint Headquarters and, on promotion to Commodore in 2016, the Chief of Defence Staff’s Liaison Officer to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in The Pentagon – a fascinating and rewarding posting that straddled the change in US Administration.

More recently, on promotion to Rear Admiral, he became the Royal Navy’s Director of Strategy, Policy, and External Affairs. An executive member of the Navy Board, he was responsible for strategic planning, policy alignment, international liaison, reputation management and public affairs including relations across Whitehall, think-tanks, academia and the maritime sector.

At the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, as the Director of Strategy, Communications & Commonwealth Affairs, he led the development and implementation of the new organisational strategy. He is also a trustee of The Seafarers’ Charity.

9. Cargo safety

The UK P&I Club and TT Club have signed up for Safetytech Accelerator’s Cargo Fire & Loss Innovation Initiative (CFLII).

The Initiative, launched in February 2023, is a  multi-year collaborative technology acceleration programme focused on reducing cargo fires and loss in maritime and its impact. It is already supported by Anchor Partners, COSCO Shipping Lines, Evergreen Line, HMM, Lloyd’s Register, Maersk, the Offen Group, ONE and Seaspan, which represent around 50% of the total liner shipping market.

The programme will help expedite the uptake of technology and best practice by identifying specific opportunities where technology can make a difference, shaping joint requirements, identifying technology solutions, undertaking trials and developing best practices and recommendations. It has already started working on a solution for early fire detection in cargo holds.

 Stuart Edmonston, Loss Prevention Director at UK P&I Club, said, “We are really excited to join this initiative, to roll our sleeves up and get involved with the other Anchor Partners. Fires on board container ships keep happening, with depressing regularity, often resulting in tragic loss of life and catastrophic damage to ship and cargo. A large proportion of these fires are completely preventable, and we find that losses could have been mitigated by better practices. This is an industry-wide problem that requires collaboration. The only way to improve safety is to work together, share ideas, and identify and utilise modern technological solutions.”

Mike Yarwood, Managing Director of Loss Prevention at TT Club commented on his organisation’s commitment to safety, and prevention of cargo-initiated fires in particular: “As an insurer of many elements of the container supply chain, we have long campaigned for improved certainty for classification, declaration and packing of cargo in containers.  We look forward to engaging with fellow partners to improve safety and certainty of outcome in the supply chain.”

 The Initiative has a broad technology scope, encompassing three significant topics of concern. The first relates to onboard cargo control, including whether cargo has been properly loaded, secured and monitored during transit. The second area covers onboard fire, the ability to rapidly detect fires and prevent propagation through effective onboard response, particularly on cargo vessels such as container ships and car-carriers. The third topic of concern relates to the challenges created by the increasing scale of vessels.

For further information see

10. Arbitration in London
London handled more than 85% of the world’s maritime arbitration in 2022 according to the findings of a comprehensive new report published today by law firm HFW.

The report – The Maritime Arbitration Universe in Numbers – analyses the latest figures from leading maritime arbitration associations and institutions, including those not yet publicly available. London was revealed to have maintained its position as the global centre for international maritime and transportation arbitration cases in 2022, handling approximately 1,907 new cases. This represents an almost 12% increase on the 1,703 cases in 2021.

London’s closest rival Singapore handled 96 new references – the equivalent of 5% of the capital’s caseload – despite reports of the Asian state’s growing popularity as an arbitral seat. Paris, meanwhile, handled 36, approximately 2% of London’s caseload, and Dubai handled 0.4% of London’s caseload.

Maritime and transport arbitration featured prominently in London arbitration institutions’ caseloads in 2022, with the LMAA seeing the highest volume of references since 2016 and 37% of the London Court of International Arbitration’s referrals for arbitration falling within this sector.  

Commenting on the report’s findings, Michael Ritter, Partner at HFW, said:“London has long held a reputation as a trusted and neutral forum for international arbitration cases, and with a history of maritime expertise, it is clear that it remains the favoured jurisdiction for maritime arbitration.

“Figures from our research show that Brexit has not threatened London’s status as the most trusted jurisdiction for the resolution of shipping arbitrations, with the capital’s crown looking set to remain unchallenged going into 2024. Furthermore, London’s nimble responses to challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic have only further solidified its position in the market.

“While international competition is on the rise, with other key players such as Singapore and Hong Kong emerging from the rest of the pack, we do not expect to see any significant decline in London’s popularity in the years ahead.”
You can access the full report here: HFW | The Maritime Arbitration Universe In Numbers: Is London’s crown under threat…

11. Sampling liquid cargoes

Taking proper samples of liquid cargoes is vital to protect shipowners’ interests when allegations of cargo contamination arise and P&I club Gard has produced an overview of the process.

Disputes relating to “off-spec” or contaminated liquid cargoes are a recurring problem, the club says. Gard is often involved in cases where the shipowner has no independent evidence as to the cause of an alleged cargo contamination. The source of the problem could be in the shore tank at the load port, in the shore pipeline during loading or on board the vessel itself. The cargo could even have been manufactured out of specification prior to delivery to the terminal for shipment.

However, if the cargo is found to be “off-spec” when the vessel arrives at the discharge port, and there is no evidence of contamination from the load port, the vessel could be faced with a potentially large claim even if the vessel is not at fault.

12. AMSA ban

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has banned the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier MSXT Emily from Australian waters for one year, after finding apparent serious issues of wage theft and seafarer mistreatment onboard.

AMSA inspected the ship at the Port of Hay Point, in Queensland, and found evidence of several violations of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.The vessel had been chartered by K-Line to load a cargo of coal for discharge in Japan.

Seafarers onboard the vessel had not been paid in accordance with their Seafarer Employment Agreements (employment contracts): four contained apparently-forged signatures from employees, and five seafarers appeared to have been coerced into signing new employment agreements which had lower salaries.

In one case, a seafarer had signed a new contract, while they still held a contract valid for a further four months, for 50 per cent less pay. Inspectors found evidence that more than US$77,000 in unpaid wages had been owed to seafarers working onboard the MSXT Emily.

 For a full list of ships AMSA has banned, visit:  Refusal of access list and letters of warning list (

13. German tonnage tax

Law firm WFW has highlighted that attention should be paid to the newly published guidelines of the tax authorities on the German tonnage tax regime which provides further clarification on related aspects (subject to final and pending court decisions).

The German tonnage tax regime (implemented in 1999) offers shipping companies a low lump-sum taxation on the profits from their international operations. The German tax authorities published guidance in 2002 on some matters on the interpretation of the tonnage tax law (with few changes then being made to that guidance in subsequent years). After more than twenty years, the German tax authorities have replaced their original guidance. These changes relate mainly to court decisions and changes in law.

Under the tonnage tax regime (section 5a Income Tax Act), businesses and individuals with seagoing vessels and place of effective management in Germany can – under certain conditions – elect to be taxed on the basis of a deemed profit related to the ship’s tonnage.

The application of the tonnage tax regime mainly requires that merchant ships operate in international traffic, ship management is carried out in Germany and an irrevocable application is filed in the business year during which the merchant ship was built or bought (commissioning).

Under case law, merchant ship(s) must be operated on a long-term basis in order to benefit from the tonnage tax regime. In underlying court decisions, the highest German tax court established presumption rules in this respect. This (unwritten) requirement is considered by the tax authorities within their newly published guidance in which they also consider the presumption rules.

14. Pilotage

Britannia P&I Club has recently highlighted the issue of pilotage in its online information.  Pilots are familiar with the local waters and can help to ensure the safe passage of ships. However, pilotage can also be a high-risk activity and the Club continues to see incidents involving ships under pilotage. These incidents have highlighted the importance of effective bridge resource management (BRM) during pilotage.

BRM is a systematic approach to managing the resources available on the bridge, including the master, pilot and other bridge team members. It involves establishing clear roles and responsibilities, communicating effectively and regularly training crew members. Effective BRM can help to prevent incidents during pilotage by ensuring that everyone on the bridge is working together to guarantee the safe passage of the ship.

This article extends the Club’s previous guidance covering Ship Pilotage and Intervention. 

Case study

The master received information from the pilot regarding the planned berthing procedure, which included a 180-degree turn to port side. Two tugboats were positioned on the starboard side of the ship, forward and aft. Before initiating the turn, the pilot informed the master that he believed the tugboats currently in use were underpowered for the intended manoeuvre. As a result, the pilot decided to rely on the main engine and rudder to assist with the turn.

The master then issued a command to turn the helm hard port. However, since the main engine was stopped, the ship did not respond to the helm. To compensate for this, the order was given to move forward at a slow speed while requesting the tugboats to apply maximum force in pushing the ship.

Unfortunately, shortly after implementing these measures, the master observed the distance between the vessel and the jetty diminishing rapidly, indicating a high risk of collision. Consequently, the master ordered the ship to move in full astern and instructed the crew to drop the port side anchor. Regrettably, despite these actions, the vessel was unable to avoid making contact with the jetty.


Master-pilot Exchange (MPX)

It was apparent that an effective MPX had not been conducted. Carrying out an MPX under time pressure may lead to insufficient information exchange and, in extreme cases, situations where various sections of the pilot card and the MPX checklist are not discussed and merely ticked to show compliance. A timely challenge from the master should assist in discussing the plan in sufficient detail and provide the opportunity to consider the risks and contingencies. In the case study, given the pilot’s consideration that the tugs were underpowered for the turn, more effective planning should have taken place. A slower approach speed should have been used, especially because of the narrow and short approaching distance to the berth.

Ineffective Intervention

The master also failed to challenge the pilot’s plan in the above case study. The most common reason why individuals refrain from a safety intervention is related to personal concerns that the intervention may result in a defensive or angry reaction. Intervention may be a difficult skill to learn and personnel may require mentoring in this respect. It is recommended that masters and other bridge team members receive such mentoring and the practice of challenging colleagues is embedded through training and navigational assessments.

Contingency Planning

Decisions taken without considering all available alternatives or operational limitations may turn out to be sub-optimal. This risk could be mitigated by an effective risk assessment and contingency plan. These would also support effective decision making while on passage and the outcome should be integrated into the MPX. In the case study above the underpowered tugs meant that there was little room for error when conducting the turn. Contingency planning is vital where decisions are being made under excessive time pressure and without adequate consideration.

Detecting Insufficient Situational Awareness

While not applicable to the above incident, enhanced situational awareness can often be the difference between an incident occurring or not. Appropriate communication and rehearsed escalation practices should assist in detecting and addressing inadequate situational awareness.

The master of a ship has the right and duty to intervene if they believe that the actions of a pilot could endanger the safety of the ship. However, there are a number of difficulties that can make intervention challenging, such as the pilot being the most experienced person on the bridge and the master not feeling confident enough to intervene. Despite these difficulties, it is important for masters to be prepared to intervene, or challenge the pilot in a timely manner. This can be done by training masters and bridge team members on the importance of intervention and when to intervene, providing sufficient company support and through embedding an effective safety culture.

The Club has created a poster to be used on board ships to help share the guidance.

15. Asbestos hazards

Law firm Lanier & Co have put together a briefing note on the on-going hazards relating to the use of asbestos, either now or in the past. Many law firms will remember the test cases in UK courts relating to shipbuilders and seafarers who had contracted mesothelioma while working in the shipping industry. 

For more information on this important issue see

Notices & Miscellany

Port state control

SAFETY4SEA is providing a masterclass on port state control, to be held in Greece on 26 September 2023.

For details see their website

Maritime legal services

The London Shipping Law Centre with Norton Rose Fulbright will be holding a seminar on 26the September at 6.00pm to discuss “The New Anatomy of Maritime Legal Services: collaboration, innovation and the “more for less” conundrum.


The Marcura Group has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ShipServ, a leading maritime online procurement platform and marketplace.

This strategic acquisition marks a significant milestone for both companies and is expected to be finalised in the coming weeks.
Idwal HQ

Idwal, the leading provider of vessel inspections, benchmarking and analysis, is pleased to announce the opening of its new Asia headquarters in Singapore. This strategic move marks Idwal’s expansion into the high-growth Asian maritime market. 

The Singapore office will serve as Idwal’s hub for Asia, enabling the company to provide enhanced sales support, technical expertise and superior customer service to ship owners and operators across the region. Idwal chose Singapore for its reputation as a world-leading maritime centre and strategic location at the heart of Asian shipping routes.

NI conference

The Singapore branch of The Nautical Institute will hold its annual conference on 27 October 2023 in Singapore after a successful event last year. Guest of Honour, Mr. Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive, Maritime Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), will grace the event and deliver the welcome speech.

This year, the conference will be held at M Hotel Singapore for the first time, and close to 200 shipping professionals and industry leaders from the maritime industry across the region are expected to attend.

A detailed programme along with the line-up of speakers will be released at a later date and interested parties can now register at: 

DNV report

The latest edition of  DNV’s maritime forecast, covering the period to 2050 is now available. The report takes a look at the decarbonisation journey, regulations and technologies.

Download the full report

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

And finally,

(With thanks to Paul Dixon)


The Law of Volunteering – If you dance with a grizzly bear, you had better let him lead.

The Law of Avoiding Oversell – When putting cheese in a mouse trap, always leave room for the mouse.

The Law of Common Sense – Never accept a drink from a urologist.

The Law of Reality – Never get into fights with ugly people, they have nothing to lose.

The Law of Self Sacrifice – When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last.

The Law of Motivation – Creativity is great, but plagiarism is faster.

Boob’s Law – You always find something in the last place you look.

Weiler’s Law – Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.

Law of Probable Dispersal – Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.

Law of Volunteer Labour – People are always available for work in the past tense.

Conway’s Law – In any organisation there is one person who knows what is going on. That person must be fired.

Iron Law of Distribution – Them that has gets.

Law of Cybernetic Entomology – There is always one more bug.

Law of Drunkenness – You can’t fall off the floor.

Heller’s Law – The first myth of management is that it exists.

Osborne’s Law – Variables won’t; constants aren’t.

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 week 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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