The Maritime Advocate–Issue 849



1. When ferries become fatal
2. Red Sea issues
3. Slavery in ports
4. Import controls
5. Newcastle business
6. Seafarers’ rights
7. ICS survey
8. Charterers’ employment orders
9. Use of ammonia
10. Shipbuilding contracts
11. IMO plans
12. Voyage of discovery

Notices & Miscellany

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


1. When ferries become fatal

If nobody cares about safety, then one should not be surprised that accidents happen. Lots of them, with regular fatalities because they happen on water, where people are dependent on ferries to get around. There is no mystery about why they happen, apart from the fact that life is cheap, choice is limited, poverty endemic and corruption a fact of life. Rotten old craft, overloading, often to a ridiculous extent, an absence of controls at terminals where these wretched ferries dock, and any regulatory oversight well down the list of any governmental priorities, in these countries where not enough people in authority, seem to care.

The Baird Maritime Passenger Accident Database offers an annual scrutiny of ferry safety around the world and we should be very grateful for this, because nobody else is bothering to assemble these individual tragedies into a comprehensive form. In his commentary on this record for the past year, Neil Baird notes that 2023 saw double the number of fatalities which had been recorded the previous year, which seems a sad reflection on progress. There were 1308 people who died in ferry accidents during the year and it seems there is going to be no less depressing statistics in 2024, as no fewer than 237 lost their lives just last month, in ten ferry accidents. It is relevant to note that passenger numbers are back to pre-Covid levels, although that can scarcely be taken as some sort of excuse for these depressing totals.

There will probably be little surprise at where most of these accidents are occurring and sub-Saharan Africa racks up the lion’s share of the casualties. Indeed, just two states – Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo – account for some 70% of all the deaths in the past year. Neil Baird also points out that there are numerous difficulties in gathering these statistics as many countries are actively hostile to anything that might condemn them as incompetent regulators and keep very quiet about tragedies in their waters. The real totals are thus likely to be a good deal worse that those published, only those who mourn the dead being aware of these accidents.

Baird makes a number of important points. It is reassuring to learn that no modern, properly designed and constructed and maintained ferry recorded any fatalities last year, so that ferry travel, in general, remains perfectly safe as a means of transport.

And, possibly most important of all is the fact, gleaned from the database over the many years it has been accumulated is that, given the will, at the level of government, it is possible to hugely improve ferry safety. The Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, China and India, all of them enormous users of domestic marine transport, have shown that good regulation, rigorous enforcement and training are, between them, able to drastically improve the safety of their domestic ferry operations. The facts speak for themselves. But sadly, for a variety of entirely predictable reasons, there are other states where users of water craft continue to take their lives in their hands and provide the basis for continually tragic statistics. Corruption and incompetence, allied to a lack of resources and lamentably poor oversight from governments that just do not seem to care, bring their own awful reward.

Neil Baird voices his impatience at the lack of interest at the IMO in all these domestic deaths, and what he sees as the failure of the organisation to more vigorously promote the Model Regulations on Domestic Ferry Safety, which were devised in 2020 by some industry heavyweights, including China. They might use the old adage about “leading a horse to water…” and the difficulty of persuading member states to do things which they regard as their own domestic responsibility. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of expert assistance from ferry using states to organisations like InterFerry who are more than happy to assist any state which is not too proud to avail itself of this assistance. And, it might be reiterated, there are all these examples of success from countries which did have a lot of deaths in their ferry systems, but which now do not. Responsible governments respond.

Michael Grey is former editor of Lloyd’s List.

2. Red Sea issues

The Red Sea crisis has seen ocean freight rates increase faster than the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic as swathes of shippers are told some of their contracts will not be honoured.

Xeneta, the ocean freight rate benchmarking and intelligence platform, has released data which reveals shipping costs on key trades from the Far East to Europe spiked more than 200% in the first 52 days of the Red Sea crisis. This outpaces the increase in rates seen during the first 52 days of the pandemic.

Emily Stausbøll, Xeneta Market Analyst, said: “Rates have not hit anywhere near the levels we saw during Covid-19, but the sudden nature of the Red Sea crisis has seen a more rapid increase in rates, which is arguably creating even more disruption than during the early months of the pandemic.”

The impact of the Red Sea crisis, while more immediate, is not expected to be as prolonged as the pandemic – and shippers are becoming increasingly impatient and suspicious of carriers seeking to keep rates elevated for as long as possible.

This is backed by a poll of hundreds of Xeneta customers, which revealed almost two thirds of shippers have been told their minimum quantity commitments (MQCs) are not being honored under existing contract agreements, with carriers pushing them onto the freight all kinds (FAK) market and higher rates.

Peter Sand: Xeneta Chief Analyst, said: “Everyone is accusing everyone at the moment, which is normal during situations when there is so much uncertainty in the market.

“Ocean freight carriers did not invent this crisis and it takes time for them to put in new shipping networks to deal with the disruption caused by diverting away from the Suez Canal.

“However, you can also see this from the shippers’ perspective who may view the rate increases as carriers acting opportunistically to maximise the money they can make.”

With the market expected to peak during February, it remains to be seen how long shippers’ patience will last.

Stausbøll added: “It is inevitable that rates will come down once carriers are able to deal with the capacity crunch in the Far East resulting from ships being delayed returning from Europe via the Cape of Good Hope.

“At the moment shippers may accept the carriers’ argument that it takes time to react to such an unexpected and sudden crisis, but that will only last so long and we may see rates begin to flatten or decline sooner than many anticipated.”

3. Slavery in ports

Maritime charity Stella Maris is taking proactive measures in the fight against modern slavery with the establishment of a dedicated steering group.

The group comprises 23 individuals representing a spectrum of stakeholders, including ferry operators, port businesses, recruitment agencies, port owners, port authorities, charities, Border Force, and the police. It aims to build on the success of Stella Maris’ recent Modern Slavery Identification and Awareness workshops and create a comprehensive action plan to help address modern slavery in UK ports.

Stella Maris partnered with Align Ltd in 2023 to hold six   slavery identification and awareness workshops led by an expert panel and those with personal experience of the issue. The workshops, funded by the Department for Transport through the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, explored critical aspects of modern slavery prevention, indicators of exploitation, risk reduction strategies, emerging threats, and access to support networks for survivors.

Pre- and post-workshop surveys provided valuable insights. Highlighting the scale of the issue, 52% of participants revealed that they were aware of modern slavery victims being identified within or by their organisation, and 60% expressed concerns about potential exploitation in their supply chains.

The workshops identified five key challenges faced by the maritime sector in combating modern slavery and human trafficking:
1. Lack of awareness and knowledge
2. Difficulty in identifying victims
3. Challenges in reporting and sharing information
4. Trust and communication issues
5. Organisational and leadership challenges.

Responding to these challenges, Stella Maris and Align Ltd have formed the Steering Group to catalyse positive change within the sector.
Mark Gibbens, head of logistics at Drax Power Limited, expressed his commitment to the issue, stating, “My company operates a global supply chain, and the workshop has inspired me to join the Stella Maris Steering Group in 2024 to use our position of privilege to promote greater awareness of modern slavery, and to be proactive in improving our industry.”

Tim Hill, Stella Maris CEO, emphasised the significance of the initiative, saying, “With over half of the workshop participants being aware of modern slavery victims being identified within or by their organisation, it’s clear this is a big issue for the maritime sector. The steering group, bringing together diverse perspectives from across the port infrastructure, provides a great opportunity to create a comprehensive and effective action plan for lasting change.”

The first Steering Group meeting was held on January.

4. Import controls

The European Union’s Import Control System 2 (ICS2) is set for its third release on June 3 this year. This will bring significant changes geared towards improving efficiency, optimising risk management and bolstering the protection of EU citizens and the market, the TT Club says in a new opinion piece. See the TT Club website for more details.

5. Newcastle business

Figures released recently reveal a shift in weather and demand has had a significant impact on the Australian Port of Newcastle’s diversified trade results for 2023.

CEO Craig Carmody said the overall trade figure, which contributed $48 billion to the economy, is not representative of a reduction in import and export volumes across a diversified trade.

“Overall, Port of Newcastle had an increase of almost five percent on total trade volume, which can be attributed to the return of China to the Australian coal market, representing a quarter of all coal exports,” Mr Carmody said.

“The Port’s exposure to carrying volume risk is evident, put simply, if China did not lift their restrictions, the Port’s volumes would have been the lowest experienced in several years.

“For Port of Newcastle and our region, we need to ensure we continue down our path of diversification. Last year’s results highlight how we cannot continue to rely on a single commodity, we cannot wait and relive what occurred when the steel industry left Newcastle,” he said.
Details on trade figures across 2023 can be found via

6. Seafarers rights

Issues such as illegal recruitment fees are negatively impacting the lives and wellbeing of seafarers and jeopardising the profession’s future, according to the latest annual progress report on seafarers’ rights.

The Delivering on Seafarers’ Rights Annual Progress Report, published by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), is a comprehensive review of the challenges facing seafarers, the shipping industry’s efforts to address challenges, and recommendations for 2024.

The report covers topics including: attracting people to a seafaring career, illegal recruitment fees, corporate action on improving seafarer welfare, as well as an update on data from the RightShip Crew Welfare Self-Assessment Tool.

These issues significantly impact the lives and wellbeing of seafarers worldwide, making it even harder to attract the talent the industry needs to pursue careers at sea. The impact of welfare on recruitment and retention is a huge concern for shipping’s wider viability and sustainability. The prevalence of illegal recruitment fees poses a severe threat, exploiting seafarers, their families and communities, and undermining their rights.

The report shares insights from various organisations and stakeholder groups on the issues facing seafarers, as outlined in the Delivering on Seafarers’ Rights Code of Conduct, and brings together contributions from the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), Nautilus International, Oldendorff Carriers, Rio Tinto, RightShip, and Turtle.

For all the negatives, there has been progress, the report says. Leading shipping companies and charterers are working on a range of initiatives to enhance seafarer welfare, to improve standards and diversity on their ships and within their supply chains. Such efforts play a pivotal role in fostering a supportive and conducive environment for those working at sea, acknowledging their fundamental rights and basic needs.
Furthermore, a recorded increase in companies using the RightShip Crew Welfare Self-Assessment Tool signals a commitment to monitoring and improving industry standards, emphasising the importance of continuously evaluating and advancing the conditions and treatment of seafarers aboard vessels.

The report can be downloaded here:

Steven Jones, CEO of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, said: “This second Delivering on Seafarers’ Rights Annual Progress Report is vital reading for all in the industry. There is progress we can learn from, such as the ideas, innovation, and energy of companies who are investing and making sure their people and social needs are to the fore. However, it is clear that there is so much more to be done. We need to take these lessons and ensure they are not simply the domain of the good companies, we need to make sure there is no place for the bad to operate.”

Frances House, Special Advisor at IHRB, said: “We know the Maritime Labour Convention isn’t enough to prevent seafarers’ rights being undermined. Charterers and container cargo owners should encourage their shipping suppliers to comply with the Seafarers’ Rights Code of Conduct and use the self-assessment tool to improve their performance. This report is a positive sign that uptake of the Code of Conduct is increasing, but verification and transparency around compliance are the critical goals now.”

7. ICS survey

These are challenging times with geopolitical unrest and volatility globally and there has never been a more vital time to capture the views of industry leaders which offer insight and help shape the future direction of the  industry at this critical time, according to the International Chamber of Shipping.

To that end ICS has launched the ICS Maritime Barometer Survey 2023-2024, which continues to track  views on maritime’s risk resilience, future proofing, and decarbonisation.

The survey, which is anonymised, is designed to gather the strategic thoughts and views of maritime leaders across the world. The resulting information will help locate opportunities for collaboration, sense-check  perceptions against   peers, and gain a clearer understanding of where  shared priorities lie on an international and national level.

The year-on-year findings can also help shape strategies when engaging with key stakeholders and leaders in government, providing data-led information on key impact factors for the global supply chain — making it possible to reach out to those beyond the traditional shipping communities and communicate, in one, unified voice, what the industry needs.

This year there is a special focus on reshoring, nearshoring, offshoring and friendshoring to assess ongoing changes to supply chain dynamics in different regions as response(s) to a variety of local and global events. These shifts in policy and trade relations within industries are likely to mirror and/or significantly impact national and regional trade relations — a vital factor for the industry to monitor.

Readers can find the survey here. The deadline to complete this survey is 5 April 2024.

8. Charterers’ employment orders

Does the negligent navigation defence under Article IV(2)(a) of the Hague Rules apply where, in breach of charterers’ employment orders, a vessel proceeds into territorial waters and waits at anchor there, in breach of local law? It may or may not, depending on the facts of the case. This is one of the issues considered by a recent online digest of cases by Hill Dickinson.

For further details see the law firm’s website.

9. Use of ammonia

The use of ammonia as a ship fuel could contribute to eutrophication and acidification, due to ammonia leakage and emissions of nitrogen oxides. One of the possible emissions is laughing gas, which is also a greenhouse gas with a much higher warming impact than carbon dioxide.

Switching to ammonia as a marine fuel, with the goal of decarbonisation,can instead create entirely new problems. This is shown in a study from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, where researchers carried out life cycle analyses for batteries and for three electrofuels including ammonia. Eutrophication and acidification are some of the environmental problems that can be traced to the use of ammonia – as well as emissions of laughing gas, which is a very potent greenhouse gas.

In the search for viable fossil-free marine fuels, ammonia has been on the agenda for several years as one of the strongest alternatives. Ammonia (NH3) is a carbon-free fuel and has the advantage of a higher energy density than, for example, hydrogen. It can also be liquefied fairly easily although it is a gas at standard conditions. However, a significant disadvantage is that the production of electro-ammonia – which requires electricity – is very energy intensive.
Moreover, the new study shows that an eagerness to rid the shipping sector of carbon emissions, by using ammonia, might create entirely new problems instead.

“Although ammonia is carbon-free, its combustion in engines is not free from greenhouse gas emissions”, says Selma Brynolf, Chalmers researcher and co-author of the paper. “Engine tests have shown varying degrees of emissions of laughing gas, which is a very potent greenhouse gas with more than 200 times the global warming impact than carbon dioxide.”

“There is simply a lack of deeper risk analyses of what a switch to ammonia could mean”, says Fayas Malik Kanchiralla, PhD student at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers and lead author of the paper.

The alternative with the lowest cost is environmentally problematic.

The researchers used life cycle assessment and life cycle cost to evaluate technical viability, environmental impacts, and economic feasibility for four types of renewable energy carriers, for three different types of ships. The energy carriers examined included electricity via batteries, and three electrofuels: hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia. The energy carriers were in turn used in combination with both engines and fuel cells.

The study shows that ammonia and methanol have the lowest cost of the alternatives studied.

“The market is usually drawn by costs, and since electro-ammonia has the lowest cost, the market is aiming towards it. There is a hype around this fuel in shipping today. But if, and when, we make a shift to ammonia, it is to solve the problem of using fossil fuels, and at the moment it seems like we might end up creating more problems instead”, says Fayas Malik Kanchiralla.

This is because ammonia comes with a set of environmental disadvantages. Its use as a fuel can affect air and water quality due to ammonia leakage and emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), such as laughing gas (N2O). Fayas Malik Kanchiralla and his colleagues stress the importance of controlling this for ships operating in areas with emission controls, for example a sensitive marine area such as the Baltic Sea.

Electrofuels are synthetic fuels that are produced with electricity, in a process where energy-rich molecules are made from other molecules. These fuels are defined as ‘green’ when they are produced with renewable electricity. But the study shows that all three green electrofuels have a higher environmental impact than traditional fuels in terms of human toxicity, use of resources such as minerals and metals, and water use.

Eutrophication and acidification are some of the risks

The use of ammonia is associated with substantial toxicity challenges and risks, which are manageable, but would increase the complexity of the safety systems required. This would potentially limit the use of the fuel to only deep-sea cargo ships.

“Among the environmental problems that can be traced to use of ammonia are eutrophication and acidification”, says Fayas Malik Kanchiralla. “To sum up; even though green ammonia is a fossil-free and relatively clean fuel, it is probably not green enough for the environment as a whole. More risk assessments on the emissions of ammonia, and the related nitrogen compounds, need to be done before adopting this fuel for shipping.”

The study also shows that it is very difficult to find a simple non-fossil fuel solution that both works for all types of ships and is able to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in shipping. Assessing the environmental and economic aspects of different fuel options for the shipping sector is complex, and several factors need to be considered when developing climate strategies for various types of ships and modes of operation.

“From a life cycle perspective, one needs to find different types of solutions for decarbonisation for different kinds of ships”, says Fayas Malik Kanchiralla. “There is no silver bullet. More research and more life cycle analyses need to be done.”

The study How do variations in ship operation impact the techno-economic feasibility and environmental performance of fossil-free fuels? A life cycle study has been published in Applied Energy and is written by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Research Institutes of Sweden. The research was funded by the Swedish Transport Administration, the competence center TechForH2 and the project ‘HOPE’.

10. Shipbuilding contracts


Paul Collier and Jonathan Cockerill of Clyde & Co have put together an article entitled Shipbuilding Contracts: Legal Issues Arising from Technological Change and Innovation. For a copy of the full article contact communications manager Andrea de Palatis on

The authors say that decarbonisation is radically changing shipbuilding. In addition to shipowners taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions and future-proof their fleet, international legislation targeted at increasing the efficiency of vessels has led to significant changes in the specifications of ships on order and under construction at shipyards.

“There have been rapid technological developments as a result of decarbonisation initiatives. Significant numbers of ships under construction at the world’s leading shipyards have dual-fuel engines, and some shipowners are looking to acquire vessels with rotor sails, which can significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Shipyards and buyers are increasingly looking at constructing ships capable of consuming alternative fuels including ammonia, hydrogen, and methanol, once these become commercially available.

“However, the implementation of innovative technology in ships also brings significant risk, particularly when the technology is still evolving and international standards for that technology are in the process of being fully developed.

“Shipyards and buyers would, therefore, be well advised to consider the legal issues and the allocation of risk when entering into shipbuilding contracts which are based on emerging technology. These include considering the allocation of design risk, the scope of warranty provisions, and the process for modifications during construction.

“The incorporation of nascent technology such as alternative fuel engines into vessels carries with it risks specific to that technology. By its nature, such technology is less well tested and, consequently, poses a risk that a vessel may not be able to perform as intended if the technology or its design is defective.

“The most straightforward manner for addressing risks relating to vessel design or technological design is for the shipyard and buyer to allocate the risk of design defects under the shipbuilding contract. In principle, it is possible for design risks to be allocated to either the shipyard or the buyer, under principles of freedom of contract.

“However, if design risk is not expressly allocated in a shipbuilding contract, the buyer is likely to be in a strong position to argue that the design risk is the responsibility of the shipyard, although this will depend on the wording of the contract in question.

“Buyers may seek to rely, in particular, on Aktiebolaget Gotaverken v Westminster Corporation of Monrovia & Or [1971], where the Court held that obligations to remedy defects in “materials used and work performed” in respect of waterproof hatch covers extended to design errors, on the basis that design errors were capable of being characterised as “bad workmanship”.

“Furthermore, buyers may also seek to rely on MT Højgaard A/S v E.ON Climate & Renewables UK Robin Rigg East Ltd & Or [2017]. In this case, a contractor agreed to design, fabricate and install the foundations of wind turbines, with technical requirements providing that “the design of the foundations shall ensure a lifetime of 20 years”. The technical requirements required the contractor to submit a detailed design for the foundations of the wind turbines in accordance with an international standard, J101, published by DNV.

“Although the contractor designed and fabricated the foundations in accordance with the J101 standard, shortly after completion of the project, the foundations started to fail. It later transpired there was an error in the J101 standard, which meant that the foundations did not have a “lifetime of 20 years”.

“The Supreme Court held that compliance with the J101 standard was only a minimum requirement under the contract, and the contractor had a duty “to identify any areas where the works need[ed] to be designed to any additional or more rigorous requirements” in order to comply with contractual performance criteria.

“If a shipyard does not wish to be liable for the risks of design defects affecting components in their vessels, it is important that this is expressly stated in the shipbuilding contract. Shipyards should also be mindful of whether other contractual provisions could have the effect of expanding a straight-forward obligation to construct according to an agreed specification into an obligation to build a vessel which complies with that agreed specification and also to wider standards.

“Alternatively, if a shipyard is prepared to accept liability for the risks of design defects potentially present in the technology used to build the vessel, the shipyard should consider whether it would be in a position to claim against their subcontractors for any losses caused by defective components the latter supplied, and whether their insurance coverage is sufficient.

“By contrast, where innovative technology is used in vessel construction, buyers should consider whether the shipbuilding contract gives them the option to reject delivery if the vessel’s technology does not comply with minimum performance standards. Buyers may also wish to ensure that they have a right to receive liquidated damages if there is a shortfall in performance of the vessel’s technology during sea trials.”

The authors also comment on warranty provisions and modifications during construction. They say that:

“The rapid development of technology used in shipbuilding is likely to be a significant positive for the maritime industry and, in particular, for efforts to decarbonise the sector.

However, nascent and emerging technology also brings with it risks. For this reason, shipyards and buyers are actively encouraged to consider the precise allocation of risk in shipbuilding contracts, as well as the manner in which the contract should deal with any modifications during the construction process.”

11. IMO plans

IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez shared the organization’s plans and focus areas for the next four years, with the aim of ensuring safer, more secure and environmentally friendly shipping.

Speaking at a press conference at IMO Headquarters in London recently, Dominguez outlined four strategic priorities: IMO’s work to regulate international shipping; its support to Member States – particularly Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries; enhancing public awareness and image; and relations with people and stakeholders.

He said: “As a global industry that is responsible for transporting over 80% of trade around the world, shipping is indispensable. One thing I am very focused on is to make this Organization a more diverse, inclusive and transparent institution.”

The Secretary-General touched on various challenges and opportunities for the maritime sector.

Highlighting the ongoing attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, he condemned the attacks and underscored the paramount importance of protecting seafarers’ lives. He continued to call for the de-escalation of tensions and the freedom of navigation of ships in the area.

Trade volume going through the Suez Canal has fallen by 42% over the last two months, according to estimates by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The Secretary-General underscored the resilience of shipping in the face of global challenges and confirmed that IMO is actively dialoguing with countries, industry partners and the international community to find solutions.

The Secretary-General provided an update on IMO work towards decarbonizing shipping by or around 2050. This makes it the first UN agency and first sector to define a global strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions, including mandatory measures to deliver on targets.

A timeline has been set, following IMO processes:

  • March 2024 – Advance discussions of ‘mid-term measures’ to support emissions reduction in the medium term. These measures include a global marine fuel standard and pricing mechanism. An interim report of the impact assessment that these measures will have on countries will be considered by the Marine Environment Protection Committee at its 81st session (MEPC 81).
  • October 2024 – Finalization of impact assessment (MEPC 82)
  • Spring 2025 – Approval of measures (MEPC 83)
  • Autumn 2025 – Adoption of measures (six months after MEPC 83)
  • Supporting transparency, diversity and inclusion

The Secretary-General stressed his commitment to encouraging a culture transparency, diversity and inclusion in the work of the IMO.

Training programme
The IMO is in search of maritime professionals to join a year-long training programme that will enable them to design effective national strategies for maritime decarbonization.

Governments from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are invited to nominate participants to take part in the Sustainable Maritime Transport Training Programme (GHG-SMART).

Funded by the Republic of Korea, the aim of the programme is to support the implementation of the 2023 IMO Strategy to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Shipping. The strategy was adopted unanimously by 175 countries in July 2023, reflecting the sector’s shared commitment to global climate action, laying the path towards net-zero shipping by or around 2050.

GHG-SMART is a joint annual training programme between IMO and the Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) on the implementation of the IMO 2023 GHG Strategy, specifically designed for LDCs and SIDS. It involves a series of online training courses and field visits throughout the year, including core training, assignments, engagement webinars and one-week practical training in the Republic of Korea, combined with industry visits.

The training programme for 2024 will cover:

  • How to develop a National Action Plan (NAP) for maritime decarbonization for a SIDS or LDC
  • How to raise finance for maritime decarbonization projects for SIDS and LDCs
  • How to develop the national road maps for marine fuel transition, ship technology transition and port development transition in-line with the IMO GHG Strategy aspirations
  • How to identify specific training needs related to port and hinterland transport-related GHG emission reductions options, policies, strategies and solutions
  • The training programme design has a special focus on the long-term engagement of trainees based on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) principles.

The two top-performing participants of the GHG-SMART programme (one female and one male) will be offered fully funded scholarships to study for a Master of Science in Maritime Energy Management at the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden.

The scholarships cover the full costs of studying at the university, including university fees, accommodation at the WMU residence, a monthly living allowance and an outbound air ticket to their home country after graduation.

The GHG-SMART programme is open to nominations from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which are particularly impacted by climate change and economically reliant on their maritime transport.

Nominated participants must be proficient in the English language.

They should have good understanding of maritime (including GHG) issues, work in a relevant field within their Governments and preferably intend to engage in maritime energy and decarbonization policy of the country.

Each country may nominate up to two participants. If two candidates are nominated, one must be female, to support gender equality.
Member States should send their nominations by email to: with copy to:

Giuseppe Maxia, Principal Administrative Assistant, Sub-division for Partnerships and Projects, Technical Cooperation and Implementation Division, IMO

Download the Call for Nominations

The deadline for nominations is 16 February 2024.

Notices and Miscellany

Seoul office
GAC Group, a leading provider of shipping, logistics and marine services in the Asia-Pacific market, has opened its first office in Seoul in a strategic move which underscores its commitment to strengthening operations to serve the growing, dynamic South Korean market.

South Korea’s shipping industry is one of the world’s most vibrant and successful, accounting for more than 10% of global maritime trade. Exports from the country are set to rise by 7.9% in 2024 to reach US$680 billion, according to forecasts by the Korea International Trade Association, while imports are expected to grow 3.3% in the same period.

“We see great potential for growth in the Korean market and are committed to expanding our services while seeking synergies with our operations in the region,” says Daniel Nordberg, GAC’s Group Vice President – Asia Pacific & Indian Subcontinent.

For more than three decades, the Group has worked with local partners to provide a comprehensive range of shipping services at South Korean ports.

“The opening of our new office in Seoul is a testament to our belief in the potential of the Korean market,” adds Nordberg.  “Having been a part of the Korean maritime landscape since 1985, the time is now right to establish a stronger local presence to build solid relationships with customers, respond more effectively to their needs and further solidify GAC’s position as a world class provider of shipping services.”

The Seoul new office is run by Keun Jeong Lim, who brings 34 years of global shipping industry experience, strategic vision and in-depth knowledge of the local maritime landscape to his new role.

HFW expands ship finance


Law firm HFW has continued to expand its Greek ship finance offering with the hire of a leading team in Piraeus, led by partners Robin Parry and Ronan Le Du.

Robin and Ronan each have decades of experience on ship finance matters and join HFW alongside a team of six lawyers and three business services professionals from Ince, where Robin was head of the finance practice in Greece.

This follows HFW’s recent recruitment in Piraeus of legal director and ship finance expert Antonella Karalis from Australian bank ANZ. The latest move makes HFW one of the largest ship finance teams in Greece.

Topics in transport

AKD’s Trending Topics in Transport seminar is set to take place on Tuesday 27 February 2024. During this seminar, current legal developments in transport will be discussed.

•    Guido de Vos, lawyer at the AKD Transport & Trade team, will discuss the legal implications of various recent developments concerning the sustainability of Schiphol Airport and the aviation community at large.
•    Emile Hallo, lawyer at AKD’s Energy team, will discuss the legal structuring regarding the operation of EV-charging systems, focusing on risks and opportunities for the logistics sector in light of regulatory developments such as zero-emission zones and the AFIR regulation from the EU fit for 55 package.
•    Jorian Gunst, lawyer at the AKD Transport & Trade team, will provide further insights on the legal challenges that road carriers and other logistic service providers will face due to zero emission zones, and he will also elaborate on the obstacles and contractual solutions for cargo interested parties.

Those interested in attending the seminar can register using the button displayed below. Registration should take place before 13 February 2024.


And finally,


With thanks to Paul Dixon

Advice from tech support

Tech Support: “I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.”

Customer: “Ok.”

Tech Support: “Did you get a pop-up menu?”

Customer: “No.”

Tech Support: “Ok.  Right click again.  Do you see a pop-up menu?”

Customer: “No.”

Tech Support: “Ok, sir.  Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?”

Customer: “Sure.  You told me to write ‘click’, and I wrote ‘click’.”