The Maritime Advocate online–Issue 627


1.Corruption in Shipping
2. How Shipowners Can Benefit from Electronic Bills of Lading
3. Blowout Preventer Systems (“BOPs”) and Well Control
4. Force Majeur in the Ukraine
5. Cruising Chinese Style
6. People and Places

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1. Corruption in Shipping

This story appears in the new and go ahead Splash24/7 zine, launched by Sam Chambers and our good friends at Maritime CEO.

Annapolis: Shipping is hit by more cases of corruption than just about any other industry, Alexandra Wrage, the president and founder of anti-bribery compliance expert TRACE, says in today’s Maritime CEO interview.

“In many ways, the shipping industry is exposed to more levels of corruption than any other industry,” Wrage says, “as it is a global industry that does not have a mature anti-corruption compliance culture.

“This industry,” she continues, “is traditionally very opaque, and has only made a slow shift to greater transparency. Fraud, bribery, and other illegalities are endemic to some parts of the industry, and the world.”

Wrage, a Canadian national now living the US, is the author of Bribery and Extortion: Undermining Business, Governments and Security.

Progress is being made to tackle the scourge however, something that was recognized at the end of March when TRACE named the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) the winner of its Innovation in Anti-Bribery Compliance Award for their success in building an industry-wide compliance culture and model that can be replicated by other industries and joint initiatives.

MACN was the first organisation to establish compliance standards for the maritime industry for tackling bribes, facilitation payments and other forms of corruption by developing and sharing best practices and collaborating with key stakeholders to develop sustainable solutions and collective actions programs.

Wrage has plenty of recommendations for how shipping firms should tackle corruption.

“Compliance must be embedded in the commercial activities that drive the shipping industry,” she concludes.

Read it all in:-

2. How Shipowners Can Benefit from Electronic Bills of Lading

Aline Bezerra of Bolero writes:-

International Trade is an area of endeavour which is guided by historical experience, caution, reliability and commercial custom. The procedures of international trade are underpinned by law, central to which is the bill of lading and its quality of negotiability. These features contribute to the durability of the paper bill of lading and highlight the flaws of traditional paper processes for the essential document of title. In recent years, manufacturers have had to become masters of automation in many areas of production and distribution in order to remain competitive. Banks have reinvented banking by using networks and automated teller machines. Carriers, forwarders and shippers have become used to many electronic innovations to aid transparency, cost control and customer service. For example ordinary dry twenty foot containers arrive straight from the makers with a little built in steel pocket to use with tracking devices. It poses the question as to why international trade is one of the last great walks of commercial life to adopt digitised and automated procedures for its documentation. Having said that, in recent years there is an emerging sense that the time has finally come for electronic bills of lading (eBLs).

The benefits of shipowners adopting electronic bills of lading have not diminished since they were first conceptualised in the 1980s. At first they were seen as a simple cost saving measure, undercutting the high cost of production and distribution by courier. And still today, the offices of carriers and NVOCs are often crowded out at the end of the day by the arrival of the couriers to take away the day’s shipping documents in large metal trollies.
Today it is possible to say that the eBLs aid the cause of efficient distribution in general. Once captured, the eBL is observable throughout the transaction from consignor to consignee as the goods move from origin to destination. This certainty overcomes some of the deepest vulnerabilities of the traditional paper process. After all, the use of paper bills still provides a vital component to documentary frauds in international trade. Sets of documents, uncertain arrival times, delays in transmission from bank to bank and the use of letters of indemnity to navigate these problems all play some part. Liability underwriters all warn that letters of indemnity, designed to comfort the parties under the contract of carriage are often of uncertain legality and enforceability even when countersigned by a first class bank. The electronic document, moving from party to party on a single secure electronic platform is easy to track, audit and accomplish for international traders. Moreover, the reality of modern international trade is that there is a large sandwich of documents moving with the bill of lading, things like packing lists, customs declarations, dangerous goods identification, origin, condition surveys, pre and post carriage freight documents, warehouse documents, special handling instructions and the like. The certainty of transit of these documents is improved when they are consigned along with an eBL.

It is thus to be expected that the Bolero eBL has immediate attractions for those involved in varying types of trades, predominately commodity. It is impossible to dishonestly amend or falsify the electronic documents. Amendments of condition statements which sometimes appear on the face of a traditional bill of lading and which have not been made by the Master or Carrier, such as the degree of corrosion on a shipment of steel products, are precluded. The documents and wordings used as eBLs are those used and favoured in the various trades. The carriers’ liability is no different under the eBls as under paper bills so far as P&I insurance is concerned. In fact the International Group of P&I Clubs have long accepted Bolero Bills of Lading as squarely within their terms of cover. The early adopters of eBLs are companies in the oil trades, grain and ore and like businesses. A cursory examination of the North West European short sea oil trades demonstrate how beneficial eBLs are. In a business where parcels of an oil cargo are sold and traded many times while the cargo is in transit , the on-carriage to destinations in inland Europe by barge means that the potential for error is high in terminals using the conventional approach.

Operators in the unit load and container trades are the next in line to see wider adoption of the eBL. To date some have been content with simple electronic sending of facsimiles which stem only a few of the advantages of Bolero’s secure electronic documents. As ever, the container shipping companies look to squeeze costs on a per unit basis. It may be in the era of the giant container ships, operators are on their mettle to find greater economies in the different departments. The scope for simple economies of scale in the box trades are reaching a logical conclusion. Many changes to the way equipment is observed, maintained and reported are likely as well as changes in the ways of administration, accounting and documenting of cargo. Customers of transport and shipping companies have long grown used to the ability to track their shipments. Soon the era of cheap, rapid and reliable eBLs will be upon the industry and another costly traditional practice will become obsolete.

3. Blowout Preventer Systems (“BOPs”) and Well Control

Our good friends at Blank Rome have sent in the following Action Item

BSEE has proposed significant changes to BOP systems and well operations in light of the five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Stakeholders in offshore oil and gas operations should carefully evaluate the proposed new measures, review safety procedures, and consider commenting on the Proposed Rule before June 16.

Highlighting the five-year anniversary of the M/V Deepwater Horizon incident, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) issued its long-awaited Proposed Rule on April 17, 2015, regarding Blowout Preventer Systems (“BOPs”) and Well Control, and the Department of Interior (“DOI”) published a joint BSEE/Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) notice describing the reforms the agencies have implemented since the 2010 incident. (See Proposed Rule and Joint Notice.) The following is a summary of these new developments. Comments are due on the Proposed Rule on June 16, 2015.

Click below to view the full text:-

4. Force Majeur in the Ukraine

In the recent edition of Interlegal’s e-zine, Nikolay Melnykov and Alexander Chebotarenko report that the concept of force majeur and its determination have changed:-

Those changes determine the force majeure as “extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances that make it impossible to objectively perform obligations under the terms of the agreement (contract), or obligations under the laws and other regulations, namely the threat of war, armed conflict or serious threat of such conflict, including but not limited to enemy attacks, blockades, military embargo, acts of foreign enemies, general military mobilization, war, declared and undeclared, acts of public enemy, disturbances, acts of terrorism, sabotage, piracy, riots, invasion, blockade, revolution, rebellion, insurrection, riots, curfews, expropriation, forced removal, takeovers, requisition, public demonstrations, strike, accident, wrongful acts of third parties, fire, explosion, prolonged outages of transport regulated by relevant decisions and acts of public authorities, closure of the Straits, embargo, prohibition (restriction) for export / import, etc., and emergency events caused by exceptional weather conditions and natural disasters, namely epidemic, severe storm, cyclone, hurricane, tornado, flood, snow accumulation, ice, hail, frost, freezing sea, canals, ports, passes, earthquake, lightning, fire, drought, subsidence and landslide and other natural disasters, etc.”

Although the concept of force majeure is clearly defined, the list of extraordinary and unavoidable circumstances is certainly not exhaustive.

Also the innovations empower Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (UCCI) and, that actually new, – Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry certify of force majeure upon request of the persons concerned. The fact of force majeure is confirmed by the relevant certificate of UCCI, issued within seven days from the date of application…..

Today, the procedure for confirmation of force majeure is more simple and unified. Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and its authorized regional chambers are the only institutions in Ukraine authorized to issue certificates to evidence force – majeure.

5. Cruising Chinese Style

A fascinating essay on the expereince of taking a cruise by novice Chinese cruise passengers. The market for such things is still small in China, but bound to be much larger. Some things are not surprising. The food must be good and Chinese and the bars do not do much business. Enthusiastic gamers at the tables figure. An essay for the budding specialists in P&I cruise liabilities. We found this Bloomberg piece courtesy of the Browser.

6. People and Places

Classification society ClassNK (Chairman and President: Noboru Ueda) has opened a new exclusive survey office in Cadiz, Spain with operations beginning today.

Cadiz is a port city located in south-western Spain, home to well-established shipyard facilities. The Cadiz Office joins an existing network of five survey offices throughout Spain in Bilbao, Algeciras, Barcelona, Ferrol, and Las Palmas.

With the establishment of the Cadiz Office, ClassNK now operates a global service network of 131 exclusive survey offices worldwide.

Sailor’s Society, one of the largest seafarer support charities operating internationally, has used Singapore Maritime Week to launch its unique Wellness at Sea coaching and support programme to Asia’s shipping industry.

Wellness at Sea has been designed to promote health and well-being among the world’s seafarers by promoting cultural awareness, emotional intelligence, social skills and spiritual well-being alongside more familiar skills competence.

The programme supports the mental and physical health of seafarers in a holistic, manner, addressing five topic areas: social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness.

The charity developed Wellness at Sea in response to calls from shipowners and managers in Asia who expressed concern over crew attrition rates and the complex problem of maintaining wellness on board.

Sailors’ Society will offer the course at two levels for Cadets and Officers. In 2015 the Officer Programme will be offered to selected companies to integrate with their in-house training programmes. The Cadet Programme will be available through maritime training colleges working in partnership with Sailors’ Society.

Project Manager Johan Smith will run the course in five international locations, coaching in each of the five areas and empowering attendees to pass on the lessons they have learned to crew-mates and others under their command.

Mike Schwarz of IIMS has launched an accreditation scheme (in association with IMCA) for vessel inspectors.


Aidan C Holly has joined the marine & energy claims team in Aspen Insurance UK in Fenchurch Street.

From the Avo Archive

The website of this newsletter contains all the editorial material since the inception of the Maritime Advocate as a print based quarterly in 1997 under the founding aegis of John Guy, Chris Hewer and Manfred Arnold. Readers can go to the site and search the database on the home page in its entirety. If you are looking for an old case, an old controversy or you would just like to see how many times you and your firm have featured in our annals feel free to access the archive. It is like this e-zine, free to Readers and we always appreciate the support of advertisers and sponsors.

We were looking at the many references to corruption in the \frchive when we were distracted by this item in Issue Issue 57 dated 27th May, 02

No place like home

A READER has passed on these supposedly authentic extracts from letters sent to housing associations and local councils throughout the UK.

“I am writing on behalf of my sink that is coming away from the wall.”

“Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant.”

“My lavatory seat is cracked. Where do I stand?”

“I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.”

“Fifty per cent of the walls are damp, fifty per cent have crumbling plaster, and the rest are plain filthy.”

“The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.”

“Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces.”

“Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two children and would like a third, so please send someone round to do something about it.”

“This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broken and we can’t get BBC2.”

“That’s his excuse for dogs’ mess that I find hard to swallow.”

My First Funeral

As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service for a homeless man, with no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost; and being a typical man did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew, who was eating lunch, but the hearse was nowhere in sight.

I apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and stepped to the side of the open grave, where I saw the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long, but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I poured out my heart and soul.

As I preached the workers began to say “Amen”, “Praise the Lord”, “Glory”, and such. I preached, and I preached, like I’d never preached before: from Genesis all the way to Revelations — I wasn’t going to let this homeless man go out without someone taking notice of the service! I closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to my car.

As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, “I ain’t never seen anything like that before — and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for more than 20 years.”

[Source: JumboJoke.Com]

Old Man and the Sea

The Fish Tamer. Rather a fine and atmospheric short film on the sea courtesy of the on-line cultural zine Aeon.

Thanks for Reading the Maritime Advocate online

Maritime Advocate Online is a weekly digest of news and views on the maritime industries, with particular reference to legal issues and dispute resolution. It is published to over 15 500 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 45 000 Readers in over 120 countries.