Mark Dickinson, General Secretary Nautilus International, Talks Seafarers' Pay, Working Conditions, Connectivity & Technology, Criminalisation, Gender Diversity And More
Mark Dickinson, is General Secretary of the trade union Nautilus International, with members in waterborne transport sectors all over the world – from deepsea oil tankers to river cruises. Mark has spent over 40 years in the maritime industry, which began when he joined the British Merchant Navy as a Navigating Cadet in 1978 at the age of 16. In 1983, having secured his Officer of the Watch Certificate he moved ashore to study and gained a Bachelor of Science with honours in Maritime Studies from the University of Wales. In 1992, he gained a master's degree with distinction in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics.
Mark joined Nautilus International in 2000 (then known as NUMAST) as an executive officer. He previously worked for the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) in two spells from 1987 to 1991 and 1992 to 2000, from 1995 he was the ITF's Assistant General Secretary with responsibility for maritime activities. During his time at both the ITF and Nautilus International, Mark was heavily involved in the development of the Maritime Labour Convention – the seafarers' Bill of Rights, from the initial concept to its adoption in 2006.
Amongst other successes, our work over the past year has included securing improvements in pay and conditions for seafarers, influencing discussions at the highest level including the IMO and governments on issues that affect seafarers including, fatigue, maritime safety and connectivity for seafarers at sea. We also negotiate collective bargaining agreements to protect and enhance the working conditions of thousands of maritime and shipping professionals.
What does the Merchant Naval Medal award mean to you?
It is a great honour to receive the medal and I am humbled by the support I’ve received from both my colleagues and peers across the industry.
Whilst I’m delighted to be recognised alongside many esteemed recipients past and present, I want to show my appreciation for the support I’ve received from those I work with at Nautilus, our members and my family, who have all made significant contributions that made the award possible – without that support my mission is impossible.
How would you describe the working conditions of seafarers?
Since the launch of our jobs, skills, the future campaign in 2015, we’ve been lobbying the government and industry to secure improved working conditions for our members which has resulted in some real improvements for those working in maritime – just check out the our award winning publication the Telegraph and our website for evidence of those wins. Despite this, there’s still a lot of work to be done to bring the conditions faced by seafarers, and others in the maritime and shipping industry, in line with workers ashore.
Physical fatigue and mental health not only impacts on individuals, but also on the vessel and wider economy. It’s a very serious issue which must be addressed, and measures taken for the issue to be alleviated. At Nautilus International we have a 24/7 helpline, a worldwide network of lawyers and are part of the Nautilus Federation – a family of global maritime trade unions, this ensures that our members can always find the support they need, when they need it, wherever they are in the world. We are also developing a new mobile app which will give members instant access to advice and guidance following an incident.
I also find it shocking that in this day and age, access to the internet at sea is not viewed as a basic requirement. At home we take this for granted and being able to contact anyone in the world at the touch of a button with devices in our pockets is fantastic. But why shouldn’t seafarers also be able to do this when they’re working away for months on end? We’re working hard to improve this situation, allowing seafarers to feel less isolated when working at sea.
Generally, is it fair to say pay is aligned with the role of being a seafarer?
Being a seafarer is a unique profession, of which there are few parallels and often is a labour of love. Pay is just another area in which there is often a discrepancy with on-shore roles, despite the challenging and critical nature of the job.
Regulations allow seafarers to work over 90 hours a week on contracts that stipulate that they could be away from home for up to a year at a time. Despite these sacrifices, unfortunately many seafarers are still not paid a fair days wage for a fair days work. Flag states continue to allow employers to import cheap labour to undercut their own nationals and, in recent years unfavourable market conditions have placed further downward pressure on wages in shipping. This makes pay negotiations very difficult.
In November, I led the seafarers’ delegation on behalf of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) at talks within the ILO Joint Maritime Commission to call for a raise in the global minimum wage which applies to seafarers (specifically for ABs). Around 1,650,000 seafarers crew the world’s ships, with many of these working very long hours, in dangerous conditions. And for some, this work is in return for a pittance.
Although not many European seafarers will actually be paid the ILO minimum, it is the floor upon which many other pay bargaining agreements are built. Therefore, it is vital that it rises in line with the general rise in the cost of living and in real terms too.
I am pleased that we managed to secure an increase in the minimum - it will rise to USD 641 per month over the next two years. However, shipowners need to remember that wage agreements like this outline the minimum amount of pay seafarers should receive – not the maximum. When you consider what seafarers endure at work and the efficiencies that the Merchant Navy has achieved in recent decades, as well as the importance of shipping to the global community, it is clear that this increase is justified.
What more can the industry do to support their well-being?
Despite seafarers bringing us 95% of everything we consume as a nation, sadly there are still a number of areas of improvement to ensure professionals in the industry have the opportunity to work, progress in their careers and feel protected, safe and happy in their jobs.
A simple bullet list of easy-to-implement improvements would be:
¨ Arranging working patterns so that they are not detrimental to physical and mental health.
¨ Improving standards of accommodation.
¨ Providing adequate leisure and exercise facilities.
¨ Providing a nutritious diet.
¨ Reducing stress by providing adequate resources
¨ Removing the culture of blame and finger pointing.
¨ Reduce administrative burden and unnecessary interference often imposed from ashore.
Are IMO/ILO Guidelines of Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident fully adhered to in practical terms?
No, Nautilus’ recent survey on criminalisation showed that 87% of seafarers still fear being criminalised whilst carrying out their work. The fair treatment of seafarers is one of our biggest priorities at the moment as we are continuing to see people disinclined to embark on a career at sea due to the danger of criminalisation.
The criminalisation of the maritime profession has a damaging impact on not only the individuals who can suffer unfair treatment, but also on the recruitment and retention of skilled and experienced personnel. Sadly, seafarers remain at high risk of being treated as scapegoats after accidents at sea, and through our campaign, we hope to highlight the issue at the highest levels of government and within the industry, in addition to providing practical support to ensure that members’ rights are protected.
How will Brexit affect the UK maritime sector?
Brexit is going to have an impact on the maritime sector, as it will with the vast majority of other industries. Given the huge contribution shipping makes to the economy, the government needs to place the maritime industry at the heart of discussions.
The real frustration is the lack of understanding of how things will look after the UK’s departure and in the years that follow as we are still with less than three months to go staring at the possibility of a no deal exit from the EU. Britain depends on shipping and we need clarity and certainty for the years ahead, to ensure that Brexit does not create new barriers to our members continued employment. This is why Nautilus has led efforts to ensure that UK issued CoC’s will continue to be recognised by EU member states post-Brexit.
UK seafarers will need support to ensure they have the best chances of securing training, decent jobs and career progression at sea and ashore, both within the UK maritime cluster and beyond. Whatever your views on the merits of the EU, it does uphold and enforce significant worker employment and social rights and standards including working time and paid leave and has been responsible for introducing legislation covering minimum standards and workers’ rights. These rights must be protected and guaranteed once we leave the EU.
Technology; threat or complement to seafarers' jobs?
It is absolutely vital that people are not forgotten in the scramble to bring smart ships onto the seas. The debate so far has concentrated too much on technological and economic factors. Properly introduced, automation and digital technologies could transform shipping in a positive way – making it more rewarding, healthier and safer and of course more efficient – but managed poorly, they could undermine safety and erode the essential base of maritime skills, knowledge and expertise. This is no kneejerk opposition to automation, but rather a genuine desire to see it used in a way that improves the safety and efficiency of the shipping industry and the working lives of all within it.
Is gender diversity at sea a reality?
I think the industry understands that there is a problem in attracting women into considering careers in the maritime industry. Accepting this is the first step but we must work together to address this. At Nautilus, we are keen to work to support female maritime professionals and encourage more women into the profession.
Through Maritime UK, we recently teamed up with almost 40 leading UK shipowners and maritime industry groups to launch a new initiative to increase the number of women in shipping, signing a pledge to improve fairness, equality and inclusion in the sector.
Women currently account for just 3% of the seafaring workforce and we need to increase this. Given that many other similarly traditionally male-dominated industries have managed to turn this around, I see no reason why the maritime industry can’t as well.
For more information about Nautilus International please click here.
Adolfo Utor, President of Baleària, Talks Innovation, Efficiency, Social Responsibility, Free Trade, LNG And More
Adolfo Utor is the President and main shareholder of the Baleària, Spain’s leading shipping company in the transport of passengers and cargo between the Balearic Islands and the Iberian Peninsula (through the ports of Barcelona, Valencia and Denia). Baleària are one of the largest operators in the Strait of Gibraltar connecting Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands with the ports of the Peninsula. Internationally, Baleària have an ambitious expansion plan, with operations extending to Morocco, Algeria, US and the Caribbean.
Utor, always linked to the shipping industry, also chairs the Commission of Regular Lines of ANAVE (association of which he was president from 2009 to 2015) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Valencian Association of Employers (AVE), among other high-profile positions. He is also the Academic Director of the Chair of Business Culture of the University-Business Foundation (ADEIT) of the University of Valencia.
Our success is a result of our own convictions, in the clarity with which we approach our transcendent mission each day, and our ability to adapt to change by being innovative.
What are your main objectives for Baleària?
Baleària has two main objectives; firstly, respond to our stakeholders’ expectations by ensuring competitiveness; secondly, to fulfil our transcendent mission in a sustainable way: unite territories by sea and facilitate free trade, the mobility of people, goods, knowledge and culture, and thereby contribute to the progress and welfare of citizens of the territories in which we operate. Therefore, our objectives are to deploy a fleet that is increasingly eco-efficient and to provide excellent services to our customers, generating resources to continue doing what we like the most, building ships and opening new lines.
We are one of the pioneering shipping companies worldwide in the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), applied to maritime transport. We have been promoting these types of projects for over six years now;
Baleària’s new LNG fast ferry, currently under construction
a few examples are that we are currently building two ferries powered by this clean energy with an investment in excess of €200M, engine re-fitting for six ferries of our fleet and the commissioning of the first gas generator on-board a passenger ferry last year. In addition, we have strategic alliances with other companies that also work in this area, namely Naturgy, Wärtsilä o Rolls Royce.
It is one of Baleària’s strategic goals is to grow the group’s business project by focusing on and expanding in foreign markets. Passengers coming from the North African lines – where we have an ambitious expansion plan, both in Morocco and in Algeria – have increased by 17% over the last year.
We also work on the implementation of social responsibility policies that allow us to contribute to the development of the territories where we operate. In this respect, we have reinforced our commitment to sustainability by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, in order to continue innovating and generating wealth in favour of people and the environment.
How is Baleària different from the competition?
Our competitiveness is based on innovation and high capacity to adapt to new market demands, such as the quality of services and actions in terms of sustainability and the environment. We have a clear desire for continuity, we work thinking long term – we appreciate and look after of our image and reputation as a reference for great value. We believe and comply with our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which encompasses social responsibility actions, which are carried out in part through the Baleària Foundation dedicated to culture, environment and solidarity.
We are dedicated to maritime transport, a millenary activity, which has always been present in society. If it grows sustainably, our company will also do so. Our commitment to the well-being of society and the environment is absolute and unconditional. It is our duty to do this together. We consider our main strength to be the degree of commitment and cohesion displayed by our teams, attributes that result in our ability to be competitive.
You offer a variety of services, which have more demand?
The most mature market is that of the Balearic Islands; it is more stable and more predictable. On the other hand, the routes covering the Strait of Gibraltar are more volatile and subject to many changes depending on the season, partly due to the entry and exit of operators and in part by the strong interventionism of public administrations on both sides of the Strait. Regarding the Caribbean, despite being an emerging market, it has great potential for growth and is in the process of development. We also have a wide margin to increase market share and achieve stability with reference to new routes in the last two years – Melilla (Spain), Nador (Morocco) and Mostaganem (Algeria).
Finally, we are looking forward to our partnership with Fred. Olsen Express in relation to the new routes between the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands.
What other aspects would you highlight about these services?
We have increased our presence in the Port of Valencia; we are the first operator in terms of the volume transported of passengers, vehicles in regime of passage and ro/ro cargo, as well as number of annual port calls. In addition to the daily connections to Ibiza and Mallorca, we added the route to Mostaganem (Algeria) in 2016 – service provided with four weekly calls.
The Strait of Gibraltar is an area of significant importance for the company due to the traffic volume of the Ceuta and Tangier lines from Algeciras, where we are also the leading shipping line in passenger and vehicle numbers.
In your view, what the main challenges facing the maritime sector and in particular the movement of passengers?
I believe that governments should pay more attention to the maritime transport sector and the strategic importance of having large local operators that will promote business. In order to achieve this, it is essential to obtain a more competitive Special Registry; specifically about the hiring of 50% of foreign seafarers, we would like to see these procedures simplified and without limitations, or the possibility of homologation of recognised companies in the processing of flag certificates, as it happens in most countries with important fleets.
These two measures would align the Spanish Registry to the rest of the European registers and would facilitate the growth of our fleet, and generate wealth and employment for our territory. On the other hand, passenger transport by sea has great potential for growth, everything is about improving the quality of ships and services, increase their frequencies, incorporate all the innovations that are available with new technology.
Excellent, frequent, comfortable, entertaining and punctual services. For short distances the maritime alternative is the best alternative.
What new markets do you plan to explore in the next 5 years?
We currently operate in five countries (Spain, Morocco, Algeria, USA and the Bahamas) and we all have an interest in expanding our services. Between the United States and the Bahamas, for example, we operate with the island of Grand Bahama, but we are studying adding new connections with other Bahamian islands. We are also assessing different projects in the Caribbean region; Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
We are also interested in being able to expand services in Europe with new ports in North Africa. We are also focusing on the “motorways of the sea” promoted by the European institutions, a space of growth with a lot of projection.
William P. Doyle, CEO & Executive Director of Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), Talks U.S. Dredging: Legislation, Infrastructure Investment, Digitisation, Jones Act And More
William P. Doyle is CEO & Executive Director of Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), the national trade association for the U.S. dredging and marine construction industry. With a Degree in Law and Marine Engineering, Doyle initiated his career at a shipyard in Quincy (Massachusetts) breaking out and laying-up ships during the first Gulf War. After he graduated he sailed as an Officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine, in both the domestic and international trades for ten years, gaining valuable experience at sea. He then moved on to serve as Chief In-house Counsel and Director of Government & Legislative Affairs and later as Chief-of-Staff with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and Co-Counsel for the American Maritime Congress. In 2008, Doyle was appointed under the George W. Bush Administration as the Director of Permits, Scheduling & Compliance for the Office of Federal Coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects where he managed the pre-filing and permitting activities of 24 federal agencies including the Army Corps, NMFS, DOT and DOI agencies.
William Doyle was nominated and appointed twice by President Barack Obama, and unanimously confirmed twice by the U.S. Senate as a Commissioner to the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) where he served under the Administration for four years. He remained onboard with the Donald J. Trump Administration for an additional year, taking on his current role at DCA.
Please talk to us about your role and responsibilities as CEO of DCA:
Right now, most of my day is consumed with partnering with US Army Corps of Engineers, educating congressional leaders, advocating for funding for beach nourishment, harbor deepening, and coastal restoration projects, and interacting with the private sector companies.
I am the face and voice of the association. When taking on this job, I promised to raise its profile and that’s what I am doing. We have a great story to tell.
The private sector U.S.-flag dredging industry is amid a USD1.5 billion dredging fleet rejuvenation. Our new investments include four large cutter suction dredgers, two large hopper dredgers, and approximately 50 barges built in shipyards across the U.S., including Eastern Shipbuilding, C&C Marine Shipyard, Corn Island Shipyard, Conrad Shipyard, and Halimar Shipyard. In addition, one of my companies recently began the design phase on a self-propelled large hopper Glenn Edwards Class dredge, and another company has begun the long-lead time equipment procurement process for two 6,000 cu yd. hopper dredges.
As Chief Executive of DCA, I also serve as Co-Chairperson with an Army Corps Executive on the Industry/Army Corps Hopper Dredge Management Group (ICHDMG) discussing national dredging policy and coordination of assets for dredging harbors, channels, ports, waterways, beaches and coastal regions of the U.S. . I am also the Chairman of the Pipeline Task Force (PTF), Council for Dredging & Marine Construction Safety (CDMCS) which focuses on the best means to find the exact location of natural gas and oil pipelines buried in the seabed before dredging commences. Further, I serve as a Board Member for National Waterways Conference (NWC) promoting common sense policies for the Nation’s water resources - public safety, a competitive economy, national security, environmental quality and energy conservation. Finally, I am on the Board of Directors of the American Maritime Partnership (AMP)- the broadest, deepest coalition ever assembled to represent the U.S. domestic maritime industry, i.e., Jones Act.
What are the key objectives of DCA for 2019?
A key objective for 2019 is to work closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers on dredging schedules. The Army Corps has an aggressive two-year and five-year work plan. There is more funding now for dredging than there has been in decades. This means that dredging assets and equipment must be scheduled appropriately, and this includes a balancing of beach nourishment work with harbor and channel maintenance dredging while at the same time being ready for the annual cresting of the Mississippi River.
Another important objective is reducing the frequency of striking submerged pipelines. I am the Chairman of the Industry-Government Pipeline Task Force. The primary focus of the Pipeline Task Force, first and foremost, is to prevent injuries and save lives in the dredging industry. We are first addressing Army Corps regulated dredging projects in federal navigation channels. The types of pipelines for this phase include natural gas and liquid lines. Finally, the task force is focused on finding industry solutions and best practices rather than implementing regulations or enacting laws. The task force includes U.S. dredging companies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the State of Louisiana Pipeline Safety Division, the Coastal and Marine Operators Pipeline Industry Initiative (CAMO), and representatives and member companies of the American Petroleum Institute, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, and the Louisiana Mid-continent Oil & Gas Association.
How important is the Jones Act for the American dredging industry?
I am a big supporter of the Jones Act. I began my career in the maritime industry at the age of 19, as a cadet breaking out ships for the first Gulf War at the old Beth-steel, General Dynamics Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts.
The dredging industry is an integral part of the 500,000 jobs supported by the U.S. maritime industry. Investment decisions are reliant on the perceived permanence of the Jones Act – the single, most fundamental domestic maritime law that has enabled the overall U.S. maritime industry to generate $100 billion in annual economic output, $30 billion in annual employee compensation, $11 billion in annual tax revenues, and $46 billion in value-added. A strong and vibrant U.S. Merchant Marine is integral to America’s national and economic security, of which the U.S.-flag dredging industry plays a vital role. I believe in my companies and their business models of building ships and vessels in U.S. shipyards, registering their vessels in the United States and staffing them with American officers and crew. I intend to vigorously defend their investments by helping to preserve the Jones Act into perpetuity.
Dredging workload is increasing in the US to give way to post-Panamax vessels. Is the industry prepared for the uplift in production?
We are prepared. And, we are building more dredges, scows, crane barges, tugs, tender boats, pipelines and other equipment to meet all the dredging needs of the United States.
What does the Senate's vote in favour of WRDA 2018 mean for DCA?
With President Trump’s signing in October of America’s Water and Infrastructure Act / Water Resources Development Act (AWIA/WRDA) it closes the loop on a hugely successful bipartisan legislative year. It is not just WRDA though. This has by far been the most consequential year of infrastructure related legislative activity that I have ever seen or been involved with securing. It’s huge.
Although infrastructure improvements for the United States was not addressed in a single bill, much was taken care of in several individual and wipe sweeping legislative measures enacted into law including - FAA Authorisation; Minibus - Energy & Water, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Legislative Branch, 2017 Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Bill, Bipartisan Budget Omnibus Act. All these laws combined provide for billions of dollars for dredging activities.
What role does digitisation have in dredging operations?
Digitalisation is here. The hopper dredges, cutter head suction dredges, tugs, dump scows, survey boats, you name it … they are all equipped with digital technology or moving in that direction. Here’s one specific example: recently, I had the opportunity to visit the start-up operations for what is commonly referred to as Phase II of the Boston Harbor deepening project. I was particularly impressed with the new technology that Cashman Dredging has designed and implemented to prevent inadvertent placement of dredge material in non-authorised ocean disposal sites. Cashman Dredging set out to find a solution to the human error problem of accidentally discharging dump scows outside of the designated dump sites. What they came up with is the Scow Geofence System (SGS). The system itself is comprised of a small computer and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver that is connected to the scow controls. SGS utilises a relay that connects it to the scows programmable logic controller (PLC). The PLC controls the communication, engine start and stop and the sequencing of the hydraulics for the split hull scow. Basically, the SGS does not allow a scow to dump its dredge material unless the barge is inside a predetermined geographic zone, or so-called “geo-fenced” area. Even if a crewmember activates the scow’s dump switch, the barge will not split open if the vessel is not within the geographically fenced area. The vessel must travel into the geo-fenced area for the dredge material to be discharged.
More to the point, SGS locks the PLC control of the scow-opening process within seconds of the GPS antenna transiting outside the predetermined geofence ocean dump site. Notably, there have been no accidental discharges of dredge material since implementation. This is all good for the operator, regulator and the environment. It’s quite likely that geofencing for dump scows will become an industry standard.
Where do you see DCA in 5 years?
The dredging industry is going to thrive. We have enough work and construction projects for the foreseeable future and that includes outwards of five years. We’re going to make sure projects are completed, working closely and partnering with the Army Corps. The DCA is also going to help eliminate striking submerged natural gas and oil pipelines. Our pipeline task force is going to develop a best practices manual over the next year related to dredging in areas where buried pipelines exist. The U.S. is turning its attention to the beneficial use of dredge material. And we’re serious about it. We’ll be spending a lot of time advocating for the beneficial use program. Finally, the DCA is going to continue highlighting the capital expenditures and investments that the U.S. dredging companies are making through building new Jones Act vessels.
For more information on DCA please click here
Peter Sand is Chief Shipping Analyst at BIMCO, the world's largest international shipping association, with 2,000 members in more than 120 countries (comprised of shipowners, operators, managers, brokers and agents).
Peter has worked for Statistics Denmark, compiling public accounts and doing international statistical work in relation to the European Union and United Nations. He then joined D/S NORDEN and during the rise and fall of the dry bulk markets, Peter gained experience in the fields of executive assistance, caretaking of investors and the art of transforming financial data and shipping statistics into analysis, presentations and reports. Later on he worked with CSR with a focus on sustainable shipping. Peter left D/S NORDEN as Senior Analyst and member of the Corporate Social Responsibility Board and joined BIMCO in 2009. He holds an MSc in Economics from the University of Copenhagen.
BIMCO do not expect the trade war to end any time soon. This means that “disruptions” like what we have just seen may be repeated at any time. There really is no ‘likely’ scenario for 2019 when it comes to US exports of crude oil to China. A trade war moves business beyond ‘as usual’. Watch out for the policy developments.
BIMCO is monitoring the trade developments closely – and will report to BIMCO members and wider industry interests on the impact of the elevated barriers to free trade have on the global shipping industry.
US vs China trade war - what are the most probable opportunities for seaborne trade?
Overall it depends on whether you focus on liner shipping or tramp shipping as well as the implications for the short, medium or long term. For liner shipping we have seen US retailers stock up, prior to the implementation of the tariffs. For Chinese importers we have generally seen demand go down. As the latter is the backhaul leg, the impact on the shipping industry is not that important. But for the frontloading of goods to the US, a more quiet off-season is expected to counterbalance that effect. We are going to see that over the coming four months, leading up to the Chinese New Year in early February 2019. For the longer term, in case the trade war goes on, other far eastern manufacturing hubs may emerge. But making changes to existing supply chains is absolutely not what most people want in the industry – not to mention that it's far from straightforward doing it.
For tramp shipping (mainly dry and wet) the most probable opportunities are changes to trade lanes that causes sailing distances to go up. We have not seen much of that yet. The upside must also be considered in relation to trading potentially bringing shipping into a much different position than ‘normally’ expected. This may also add to the challenges of the shipping industry. Of course this only goes for all other dry commodities such as raw materials which are dug out of the ground. That is why agribulks are at the centre stage. For the longer term, land designated to produce for instance soya beans may change. Farmers in today’s key producing countries may decide to produce more or less.
Additionally, importers that may have the option to outright reduce imports – as they may have used too much of a given product (like soya, which may be the case for Chinese pork farmers).
It easily becomes quite a complex matrix to keep track on which commodities may be substitutes for one another.
The flip side of the coin is that seaborne shipment of commodities may go down. When the price for a normal good becomes more expensive, the demand for it goes down. Seaborne shipping is all about normal goods.
The main challenge is still “uncertainty”. What if your ship is carrying a cargo that the cargo owner suddenly decides not to discharge – as the conditions for the imports have changed. A new tariff may have been added in between buying the cargo and the intended discharge of it. Another challenge is that globalisation -as we know it- may cool down somewhat, because high tariffs (general barriers to trade) makes production of a commodity viable at home – making imports redundant.
What long-term adverse effects do you foresee if the trade "crossfire" intensifies?
The cool down of globalisation is most critical. It will make us all poorer, as we will produce and consume sub-optimally. No one are winners in a trade war, we are all losers in straightforward economical terms.
What do you anticipate will happen with freight and bunker prices?
The freight rates are a function of supply and demand – that will remain. If demand is growing at a slower rate going forward, the fleet growth must adjust too – to avoid the negative impact of overcapacity.
For bunker prices – I don’t see much impact from the trade war yet. IMO 2020 may add a cloud of extra uncertainty to it, but for the time being, bunker fuels are not a hostage of the trade war, not official – not unofficial.
For more information on BIMCO please click here
Poul Woodall, Director Environment & Sustainability DFDS A/S, Talks Emissions & Carbon Footprint, Environmental Regulations, And LNG
Poul Woodall is Director, Environment & Sustainability at DFDS A/S, with over 40 years of international shipping experience, Ro-Ro and passenger segments. Poul specialises in environmental compliance, ensuring the conformity with the changing laws and regulations, with a focus on meeting and exceeding industry standards for DFDS.
How far is the gap between political intent and actually reducing CO2 emissions in shipping?
This is a very difficult question to answer, as in reality we do not yet know what this gap is. IMO decided both for the 2030 ambition of minimum 40% reduction in CO2 per transport work and the 2050 ambition of minimum 50% reduction of GHG emissions to use 2008 as the base year. We have however yet to see what this base line actually is. The 2050 ambition of absolute reduction, will probably be relatively easy to agree on. The IMO 3rd GHG study contained such data for 2008, unfortunately there were two figures, one based on a top-down calculation and one based on a bottom-up calculation. On this target we are rather fortunate to only have two figures to choose from, so I foresee this will be relatively easy to agree which one to use.
A lot more discussions on the 2030 ambitions may be foreseen. First of all, with this target we are only talking CO2 not GHG, but more importantly it introduced the term “transport work” which is not well defined in IMO. The discussion on this will have to centre around two topics. What is a realistic measure for this that can be agreed upon and do we have the 2008 data for this? Data that will enable us to establish the 2008 baseline? During the MEPC discussions on the “IMO fuel oil data collection system” (DCS) it was not possible to agree on a metrics that included actual cargo work. Therefore a proxy for this, in terms of the vessels DWT, had to be chosen. This tells me that consensus at MEPC cannot be reached on any measurement that includes actual cargo data. This will be unfortunate and erode any meaningful onward discussion. Should I be proven wrong and MEPC actually agrees to use actual cargo work, then the next question arises – can we establish a reliable figure for this for 2008? I doubt it.
A topic that has largely gone unnoticed so far, is the true effect of these IMO ambitions. By nature, IMO regulates shipping and with respect to GHG we are specifically talking about international shipping. If we were to take in the full impact of shipping’s environmental foot print, we would need to look at a lifecycle scenario and not least the upstream element of the fuel supply. Let me give you an example. Some biofuels have a very low GHG impact, but the positive element is in the upstream part of the chain. GHG from the combustion of biofuels is not much different from that of fossil fuels. So if we end up only measuring and legislating on a “tank-to-propeller” basis only, we miss out on an obvious opportunity.
In your view, what measures are needed to meet the IMO's CO2 emissions target?
We need to distinguish between the 2030 and the 2050 targets. Here, clearly the 2050 target will be the most challenging. We will not reach this unless there is a major shift away from fossil fuels. This also means that within the next 10-15 years we have to start building ships on a bigger scale with non-fossil fuel propulsion. With regards the 2030 targets, it will as mentioned, depend on the metrics that can be agreed upon, but I am relatively confident that existing technologies may get us there – in fact we may already be beyond the 40%.
In terms of Sulphur Oxide (SOx) emissions, is the industry on target for 2020?
They better be. I am not among the ones who believe there is even the slightest chance the date will be moved or the compliance terms “relaxed”. The carriage ban on non-compliant fuel is due to come in to effect in Q1 of 2020 and this will provide flag and port state authorities a valuable tool in policing this. Perhaps not all countries will be equally prepared to police by 1.1.2020, but those countries with existing experience will be looking at a vessels recent history - also outside of national waters. This should ensure a high degree of control. We will not see 100% compliance and the FONAR system may be misused by some. Overall I am however confident that the system will work and compliance level will be high.
A big unknown here remains what will the 0.50% fuels look like. How to we handle these onboard the ships and not least what are their commingling features that we need to take in to account. We know very little about these produces as of now and I expect that a large portion of the compliant fuel post 2020 will be regular 0.10% gasoil.
Can the environmental goals of the IMO be achieved whilst maintaining competitive freight prices?
The answer to that question will depend on the specific segment. 100,000 tons of ore cannot be moved from one side of the planet to the other unless by ship and the transport cost represents a small fraction of the total price, even if fuel cost increases. On the contrary when moving a container or a trailer in shortsea trades or indeed small parcels of liquids and bulk, one may be competing with road or rail transport. However let’s not fool ourselves, in 2050 the main competition for some transport products may come from a source we do not even know today.
What are the main three actions the maritime sector should implement to improve on carbon footprint?
If you look back over the past 10-15 years you will note vast improvement in efficiency within the industry. I admit this has mainly been driven by aspirations to reduce cost, but it has had a positive effect on GHG as well. The efficiencies have been achieved by a series of small improvements combined with building ever larger ships. The efficiency improvements will continue, but have certain vessel segments reached their maximum size? … and don’t forget large ships are only efficient if they are fully utilised.
What is really needed is a lot more research into renewable fuels and/or CO2 capture. This cannot be done on the company level, but needs to be driven by governmental institutions preferably the IMO.
As a fuel alternative, is LNG the solution?
LNG offers a lot of benefits, depending of the problem one needs to solve. With its low SOx and NOx emissions it may be beneficial to combat air pollution in and around urban areas. I do not see LNG as a viable long term fuel for climate reasons. Methane is a potent GHG and when looking at the entire logistic chain only a small slip can generate more GHG per energy unit than coal. We also need to look at this in a time perspective. Normally we talk about global warming potential (GWP) over a 100 year period. Here methane is a factor 26-32 more potent than CO2. If we however are concerned about GHG emissions over the next 20 years, the multiplier for methane is more like 86.
Please name one objective you would like to achieve in 2019:
That we can agree on a GHG measurements, that considers the wellbeing of the planet and not only satisfies a more or less artificial mathematical formula.
For more information on DFDS A/S please click here
Hans Hederström is the Managing Director of CSMART Academy, Center for Simulator Maritime Training, the state-of-the-art international maritime training centre for the world's largest cruise company, Carnival Corporation & plc Group.
Opened in July 2009 and located in Almere, Netherlands, CSMART Academy established itself as a world-class training centre for safety, sustainability and operational excellence in maritime operations. It features the most advanced simulator equipment, technology and instructional tools and is aimed at training 6,500 Carnival deck and engineering officers every year.
Hederström has over 50 years of maritime experience and is the principal architect in brining the Academy to life, by writing the simulator specification and getting a team of professional instructors together responsible for the delivery of the course work.
Why was the Carnival Corporation CSMART Academy founded?
In 2007, four groups of nautical educators travelled on eight ships from P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises – part of the Carnival Corporation family of brands -- to evaluate bridge and safety management practices, report on their findings and recommend potential improvements. The educators agreed that each ship operated to a high standard of traditional navigation, but with today’s evolution to operating large cruise ships in ports with minimal operational margins, they believed it was essential that navigation and manoeuvring be carried out with high precision using all available resources, and that bridge practices should be adapting with the times. Recommendations included officer understanding of bridge navigation equipment, new bridge organisation and procedures and simulator training.
To meet these recommendations, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises established a training centre with actual bridge equipment and a layout identical to ones onboard their most modern vessels. In July 2009, the CSMART facility opened, forming the foundation for today’s Arison Maritime Center.
Why Almere, Amsterdam?
The vast majority of our trainees are located in Europe, flying them into Amsterdam was the most attractive option as a central point in the continent. Almere provided us with sufficient space for our center and easy access to the air bridge of Schiphol airport.
Please talk to us about the facilities and services available at the campus:
The Arison Maritime Center, a spectacular, state-of-the-art campus featuring the CSMART Academy and a 176-room hotel. The CSMART Academy, features the most advanced bridge and engine room simulator technology and equipment available today, with enough space to complete rigorous annual professional training for the company's 6,500 deck and engineering officers. With its scale, technology and equipment, and continuous training approach, the new facility is the most progressive maritime centre of its kind in the world for training and continually improving industry-wide safety and excellence.
The CSMART Academy features four full mission bridge simulators with separate bridge wings, 8 part task bridge simulators, 12 voyage planning stations, 7 ship stability training stations, 4 full mission engine simulators with 12 virtual engine rooms, 36 engine desk top simulators, 2 high voltage training simulators, 1 environmental training lab, 16 class rooms and 8 debriefing rooms. At nearly 11,000 m2, the new CSMART Academy has doubled the capacity of the original centre, enabling Carnival Corporation to train more officers more often, spend more time training on simulators and provide more real-time feedback to officers.
Why is simulation training important and what are the key benefits for participants?
Just as in the aviation industry simulator training is required to develop and maintain skills to deal with critical high risk operations. It would impose a too high risk to train for those situations in the real world. A simulator creates a safe environment to train and continuously develop and improve proficiency with an emphasis on critical thinking, decision-making and problem solving.
Today’s ship simulators are technologically advanced. How developed are the visual and operational features?
The operational features as well as the layout of bridge and engine control room are replicating the latest new-build ships. The visual features are the most advanced in the industry providing the same field of view as on the ships with real bridge wings featuring the same equipment as on the real ships.
Please tell us more about the Continuous Development Program:
The CSMART Academy’s faculty is hosting the cruise industry’s first Continuous Development simulator-based appraisal program. It is a new continuous development program for deck, engine and electrical officers, inspired by the aviation and nuclear power industries’ approach to recurrent training and validation of competencies.
Completing the weeklong course as part of the company’s Continuous Professional Development matrix is a mandatory requirement for every maritime officer from each of Carnival Corporation’s nine cruise line brands, exceeding regulatory requirements.
What benefits do port studies bring to the development program of your participants?
During a port study captains and pilots create a joint passage plan which is tested under challenging conditions in the simulator over a five day period. This means that the bridge team and the pilots can have a shared mental model of the upcoming operation even before pilot board the ship. It also reduces the time for the master pilot information exchange as most topics are already agreed upon and only dynamic topics such as weather and traffic need to be discussed.
The port study report also provides evidenced based guidance in case of "go" - "no go" situations, as simulator based operational envelope and agreed/proposed passage plan is available.
This program also provides our cruise lines with the option to send a whole bridge team for specific training in a particular port with local pilots. This is a common procedure when a new build ship is about to enter into service. The new Aida Nova, which will enter into service in October/November has been available in the simulator since last year. We have done many port studies with this model and the bridge and engineering teams are expected to come to CSMART for thorough training before delivery.
This is how CSMART is creating safety through proactive resilient processes by anticipating and planning for unexpected events.
In terms of safety and sharing best practices, how important is the team-based approach on the bridge?
Looking into incident and accident reports you will find that the most common contributing factors are: poor planning, poor communication and one person error not detected and leading to negative outcomes.
“Human errors” are present in all industries and cannot be eliminated, but in a well-functioning team with overlapping tasks and responsibilities, errors are expected, detected and managed before they cause any negative consequences.
Working as a coordinated team is essential in all time critical high risk industries, be it Nuclear, Hospital, Aviation etc.
How do you keep up with changing regulation and maintaining the simulators up to date?
Regulations state the minimum requirements for safe operations, but we always aim to exceed those requirements to set a high industry standard for operational excellence and safety. CSMART training courses all go beyond statutory requirements in order to keep up with increasing operational complexity. Just on the job training is no longer sufficient for developing and maintaining skills to operate ever-increasing size of ships with a high level of complexity both on the bridge and in the engine room.
Twice a year, there is a maintenance period when new software is integrated into the computers running the simulators. This is also the time when new equipment, which is about to be installed on ships are installed in the simulators. We aim, as far as possible to replicate the working environment on ships in the simulators in order to make the training realistic and efficient.
Where do you see the Academy in five years from now?
For 2019 we are fully booked, there is not a single simulator slot available and with an ever increasing demand for training at all levels there will be a need to expand the facility and utilise more of our plot of land. In five years from now I believe this expansion has taken place and that CSMART will provide an even wider range of training and research.
For more information on CSMART please click here
Jeffrey Owen is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lightning Technologies LLC, the company that has revolutionised the pallet industry. Smart TV's, smart phones, self-driving cars, ...why not a “smart pallet”?
Millions of pallets are used each year to transport goods across the supply chain, with an ever-growing importance to control and monitor shipments. Suppliers are expected to have and provide customers with real-time data for each of their consignments. No data is not an option in today's fast-moving and competitive logistics industry. This pallet is light and durable, designed to service the needs of all parties in the supply chain.
Please talk to us about your “smart pallet” and the benefits it brings to the logistics supply chain?
We consider the pallet to be a hybrid/hybrid design utilising an engineered, sustainably sourced, plywood substrate that is robotically coated during production with a proprietary hybrid polyurea/polyurethane coating developed specifically for this application. It became a “smart pallet” because we have taken PalletChain™ very seriously and have embedded an active Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID), making it possible to track exactly where the pallet is and to monitor temperature, humidity and any physical impact the pallet may experience.
The fact that the pallet features a hermitically sealed surface, which is critical in pharmaceutical and food transportation safety to protect against bacteria, mold and other harmful organisms. We feel the opportunities for food safety and the ability to track and monitor the pallet through its logistics chain is disruptive and a game-changer.
What are the costs per pallet and how does this compare to other models in the market?
We typically do not discuss the cost of the pallet due to its many variations, tailored for each customer, but to put things in perspective in the pooling world our turn rate is competitive. In some cases, our cost is less than today’s traditional wood pallet or plastic pallet.
We also provide a lease-to-own option that allows the client to expense the investment as opposed to making a capital expenditure.
How is the pallet manufactured?
We currently use three variations of substrates, with two being utilised as a one-way, multi-use pallet with our third variation being a sustainably sourced plywood-type substrate traditionally used for pooling. We are promoting that pallet design for the produce, protein, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. We also provide an option to include our active RFID in this design. The operations are currently located in Oxford and Lake Orion, Michigan, and feature highly automated robotics operations in all aspects of the production process.
In terms of productivity, has this reached economies of scale?
We currently have the capacity to produce approximately 300,000 pallets per year but are ramping up monthly and be capable of producing 300,000 pallets per month by December of this year after new equipment is fully installed.
What are your future growth plans?
In terms of growth, we are anticipating three facilities in the United States by the first quarter of 2020 with two additional facilities being built in 2021. In Europe and Asia, we anticipate five facilities being fully operational by the first quarter of 2021. Each of these facilities will have a capacity of three to five million pallets per year.
What feedback are you receiving from customers?
We have received very, very positive reviews and feedback from a wide range of global clients. We have partnered with Rex Lowe and GARD Pallet, which is our partner company managing the leasing and pooling of our pallets - and they have received rave reviews in all cases.
Jeffrey, please tell us more about your background. Why pallets?
I grew up in a small town in Kentucky and had an agriculture education. I then moved to Detroit, Michigan, in the early 70’s and international business opportunities were realised.
Prior to Lightning Technologies LLC, I was the majority Shareholder and CEO of a company that produced over 11 million plastic pallets for another pooling company in the United States.
What role does innovation and creativity have at Lightning Technologies?
We use four words when we discuss Lightning Technologies: Passion, Innovation, Creativity and Disruption. The importance of each individually is immense, but together they create our mission to market the “One Thing That Changes Everything™.”
Can we expect more exciting products from Lightning Technologies in the future?
We are working every day to avoid fragmentation, but we have several projects which will utilise our proprietary polyurea polyurethane formulation and these will be announced the first quarter of 2019.
For more information on Lightning Technologies LLC please click here
Why is London considered to be a main arbitration point?
London is the most popular venue for commercial arbitration generally and maritime arbitration in particular. In the recently published White & Case survey carried out by Queen Mary University 64% of those interviewed gave London as a preferred choice of arbitration venue or “seat”. In the field of maritime arbitration (based on another report published recently by international law firm HFW) it is apparent that some 80% of international maritime arbitrations have their seat in London. Almost all are conducted as “ad hoc” rather than institutional arbitrations under the Terms or Procedures of the LMAA with a small number conducted under the institutional rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).
What are the benefits of opting for arbitration with the LMAA?
Generally as above, particularly the number of experienced maritime arbitrators and the maritime law experience of Commercial Court judges.
Specifically in the maritime field, the availability of a right of appeal to the Commercial Court from arbitration awards on points of law. This is available almost nowhere else and is generally welcomed by the international maritime community (if not others, for example in engineering or construction cases, who often exclude the right of appeal by choice).
How flexible is the arbitration process in adapting to each case?
Arbitrators have the right and duty under the English Arbitration Act 1996 to devise procedures suitable to the case. They are not bound by the more rigid rules applicable in the Commercial Court, for example regarding evidence and disclosure of documents. Nevertheless the LMAA Terms and Procedures set out procedural guidelines. These are flexible and are regularly updated.
What does an LMAA panel look like and what criteria are used for its formation?
It is up to the parties to decide if they want a panel of three arbitrators or if they can agree on a sole arbitrator. 80% of cases are decided on documents only without a hearing and if the 2 party-appointed arbitrators can agree on the result, it is not necessary under the LMAA Terms to appoint a third.
In many cases the arbitrators appointed will be members of the LMAA (full or aspiring) but, in general, there is no restriction on whom the parties may appoint. Sometimes though there will be qualifications built into the arbitration agreement such that the arbitrators appointed must be members of the Baltic Exchange or “commercial men or women” or “regularly involved in shipping operations”.
Please describe the types of arbitration and what factors determine which one is used in each case:
The LMAA has three principal sets of procedural terms. The choice of which one will apply will normally depend on the amount in dispute (including the amount of a counterclaim). The Small Claims Procedure which mandates a sole arbitrator and eliminates the right of appeal is particularly popular for claims of up to USD100,000. For larger claims, over say USD400,000 the main LMAA Terms provide that there will normally be 3 arbitrators and make provision for more formal submissions and evidence, and possibly an oral hearing. The Intermediate Claims Procedure sits in the middle and is generally considered suitable for claims of between USD100,000 and USD400,000.
What are the elements of an arbitration agreement?
An arbitration agreement is normally included in the body of the main contract but may be considered separately if there is an issue as to whether the main contract is itself valid (for example because of fraud or some other illegality). The arbitration agreement should ideally provide for the number of arbitrators and how they are to be appointed and within what deadlines. It should also identify the place or “seat” of the arbitration an ideally the procedural rules to be applied (e.g. LMAA Terms, Intermediate Claims Procedure or Small Claims Procedure).
Is arbitration costly?
This depends very much on the procedure used and the way the case is conducted by the parties and their legal advisers. In the case of the Small Claims Procedure and the Intermediate Claims Procedures there are fixed caps on the fees which can be recovered by the successful party and the arbitrators’ fees. Hearings tend to add significantly to the cost of the 20% of cases which involve an oral hearing. All the indications are that London is competitive with or cheaper than many other jurisdictions.
Are there any cases whereby arbitration is not recommended?
There are some types of cases which are not regarded as arbitrable, such as family cases but otherwise disputes under virtually all commercial contracts are regarded as suitable to be decided by arbitration. There are sometimes issues about consolidation of arbitration or the binding effect of arbitration on third parties who are not directly parties to the arbitration agreement but in most maritime cases these can be handled by orders for concurrent conduct, as for example in cases involving chains of charterparties of the same ship.
What impact might Brexit have on London arbitration?
Brexit, whatever form it eventually takes, will have no impact on the way London arbitration is conducted nor on the international enforceability of London arbitration awards. International enforcement depends on the New York Convention, not on any EU legislation or Conventions.
For more information on the LMAA please click here
Ben van Scherpenzeel Talks Container Throughput, Port Planning & Infrastructure, Blockchain, Brexit And More
© Port Of Rotterdam
Ben van Scherpenzeel, Director Nautical Developments, Policy & Plans at the Port of Rotterdam, is passionate about continuous improvement with a focus on ports and shipping in every aspect: nautical, logistical, economical and social.
What are the challenges of Marine Spatial Planning in the context of the Port of Rotterdam?
For traffic approaching the Port of Rotterdam we’ve worked hard together with our national authorities and all stakeholders at sea to create sufficient space for safe navigation and wind farms. In the port passages we’ve concentrated on deepening the river towards the Botlek area.
Overall it’s a challenge to use the existing infrastructure as efficient as possible by better planning – not only of ships but also related to maintenance like dredging.
© Port Of Rotterdam
Port call inefficiencies result in unnecessary delays costing billions in lost revenue and CO2 emissions. How has the Port of Rotterdam optimised vessel calls to maximise efficiency?
This will be achieved by working on maximum cargo on board by online depth information, available as of 1st June 2018. This will mean taking into account “Just In Time” arrivals by exchange of ship planning – platform to exchange has become life: Pronto. Fundamental for both data exchanges is to have standards that work for shipping port to port worldwide, so parties do not build in unnecessary safety margins as they fully understand and trust the information provided.
Please talk to us about the importance of information exchange between all parties in the logistics chain:
The departure time is the cornerstone to port logistics. Most departure time dictate the arrival time of another vessel, and that arrival time is key for planning resources for nautical services (pilots, tugs, linemen), cargo services and vessel services (bunkers, waste, etc.).
However, departure time depends onmany parties: most of all terminal operations, but certainly also bunker operations or any other critical service a vessel needs to complete before departure, e.g. delivery of medicines.
What are the three key elements that define productivity at a port terminal?
Swift exchange of vessels, production per hour, and avoiding idle time when commercial operations have finished.
Severe weather conditions can impact port operations. How do you minimise the down-time at the terminal?
ShoreTension is available in Rotterdam, allowing ships to remain alongside safely under adverse weather conditions.
High-impact is therefore to be expected within the domains of supply chain finance and cross chain collaborations – especially when chains are decentralised and involve numerous stakeholders and transactions. BlockLab puts Blockchain technology into practice. The Lab develops the use of cases with alliances of engineers, developers, system players and end users.
Is the port fully aligned with the demands of the ocean supply chain?
We’re working together with GS1 to connect to the supply chain standards, allowing better resource planning in warehouses and factories.
How is the increasing size of ships shaping your plans for the port?
Ten years ago we already designed the Maasvlakte for the ships we have today. We already applied more and stronger bollards, based on the new IACS guidelines which will enter into force this year.
In your view, how do you see Brexit affecting the Port of Rotterdam in terms of capacity?
We all agree that Brexit will have its challenges however, the Port of Rotterdam is treating this matter as a top priority and is fully committed in talking to all stakeholders (Dutch Government, Customs Authorities, local businesses, etc.) with a focus on contingency plans to ensure that the transition will go as efficient as possible.
The Port of Rotterdam Authority invests 150 to 200 million euros per year in its port infrastructure. Important investments for the coming year include the development of the Hartel Tank Terminal and the changes to the port railway via Thamesweg, eliminating the clash between transport by rail and ocean-going vessels.
For more information on the Port of Rotterdam please view the following introductory video or visit the port's website here.
Oscar Pernia At Navis Talks Port Terminal Automation & Digitisation, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Ocean Supply Chain And More
Oscar Pernia is Vice President Applied Innovation at Navis, a part of Cargotec Corporation, and a leading provider of planning solutions across container flow. Navis specialises in helping terminals to maximise their investments in advanced technology solutions, new business processes and operational optimisation initiatives by aligning them with the terminal's highest level strategic goals. Oscar is a Telecommunications Engineer and holds a doctorate in Industrial Engineering, with 17 years of experience on system integration and operational processes optimisation at ports and container terminals. His focus is to empower innovation at Navis portfolio strategy execution, which is determined on making global trade smarter, safer and more sustainable for everyone.
Are terminals currently aligned with the demands of the ocean supply chain?
Ocean supply chain demand is no longer just about time and cost. The new logistic models like the ones executed by Amazon or Alibaba, and differently by Inditex or Tesla, have a common denominator on the need of an integrated network from product manufacturing to product delivery and from customer experience to market analysis hence fundamental requirements on reliability, transparency and predictability across the cargo flow.
But terminals are subject to planning changes / exceptions, suffer serious data quality constraints from the supporting information, and perform ‘ad hoc’ as most of the processes are not standardised: so the perception on terminals being the only bottleneck is not completely fair.
Equipment lifecycle: with automation equipment moves are better controlled when executed, producing important improvements in the stress level and lifecycle of equipment structure and components. The whole superstructure is becoming more reliable and controllable, and KPIs as overall-equipment effectiveness (OEE) and mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) are used.
Manhours / Move: normally our industry uses cost / move and revenue / move as the fundamental drivers to profitability, but when comparing globally between terminals it is really difficult to use for benchmarking. Automation is bringing effectiveness in terms of how much manpower is needed to produce every billable transaction at terminals; the manhours / move KPI is increasingly utilised.
This is a difficult question anyhow, as implementation of automation differs by region, and the industry itself is lacking on standards for productivity measures as well; we tend to use GPMH and in my humble opinion a terminal performing 40 GMPH in Asia is maybe not doing better than another one performing 25 GMPH in Europe or US.
Other important KPIs that are not utilised enough are the ones related with safety and sustainability areas, in those the improvements in terms of accidents and user ergonomy, or in terms of energy consumption and pollution emissions are significant; which at the end are illustrating how automation helps our industry not only on being more efficient and smarter but also for creating a better planet.
In terms of innovation, what challenges are you faced with when introducing and implementing change at a terminal, especially with those individuals that are resistant to moving away from their comfort zone?
One important challenge is the clear definition of processes and standard operating procedures (SOPs). If you don’t have your processes defined and under control upfront, to overload those with additional technology and IT will simply not work, and will produce no return, even not improving the original situation.
I also found difficult to work with terminals on defining exceptions and contingency procedures without a predominant manual intervention, and letting the system find the recovery path; at terminals the user experience is exceptions-based and so far we didn’t get to augment human, machine and software to manage uncertainty at exceptions scenarios in an integrated and proactive manner.
Another fundamental one is the mindset change. We tend to position automation against people or employment and I see this the other way around. The more advanced on technology a terminal is the more we rely on the human brain; new jobs and profiles are created, and the existing ones have a better working environment. With additional economic activity generated as volumes grow, additional human brain power will need to be hired.
Please talk to us about how competitive advantages can derive from automation and digitisation:
The way I see it, it is about redefining the way terminals are serving the ocean supply chain. Sometimes I feel we are just accepting that our industry works in the way it does and we can’t change it. I believe automation and digitisation are here to stay and will be fundamental actors on that shift. More concretely:
Performance Consistency: terminal business is 24/7. Automation enables capabilities for terminal performing consistently in a reliable and predictable manner. That is of enormous value for the terminal operator when serving vessels of different sizes and traffic patterns.
Operational Control: this industry always needs a ‘plan B’. The mentioned planning changes and inherent cargo flow dynamics establish several challenges for terminals to stay in control. To be able to manage operations from performance, capacity and cost perspectives is fundamental.
Asset utilisation: equipment and space utilisation can be improved significantly by using automation technologies; as well as making equipment allocation more effective across vessel operations, and enhancing equipment life cycle with better preventive and corrective maintenance.
Customer Experience: automation creates a better scenario for a better and more transparent Service-Level-Agreement (SLA) to shipping lines. To be able to customise SLA by vessel service or by customer is of great potential to terminals; including a more open and data-driven real-time customer engagement.
Beyond efficiency for terminals and ports, at the end it is all about competitiveness, and in my opinion, automation can make terminals far beyond more competitive.
What key elements do you focus on when taking on a new project?
Being a believer on what I call the ‘Automation Promised Land’, with all these years of hard work and lessons learned, I am very careful on my assessments and advice about new automation projects for container terminals. Having said that, there are some key elements I consider on my recommendations:
Terminal Design - the different operational components and its interfaces needs to be connected with infrastructure, equipment and software requirements. Modeling techniques (simulation) improved design methodology significantly, but still our industry needs to improve its utilisation to realistically utilise modeling technology, for terminal specification and throughput expectations.
System Architecture - proven and standard solutions are consolidated in many industries. At container automation there is concerning trend on ‘reinventing the wheel’ making it more complex in every iteration. Systems architecture will always be complex but they need to enable simple operations and the related features on automated decision making, user experience, data analytics.
Technical Integration - the way software supports the related interactions is key and the number of applications supporting operations is increasing with automation. How mature is the integration between the fundamental applications and terminal testing infrastructure to enable effective deployments and upgrades are key factors.
Control Room Organisation - with automation, control room organisation and related job descriptions evolve. The team needs to perform cohesively, and the use of technology is embedded within the workflow and interactions between users and departments. Training is a fundamental need but also the cultivation of a customer (ocean supply chain) oriented culture.
Use of Data - automation opens opportunities for continuous improvement as equipment and software are providing a system of record, to enable continuous improvements by improving the learning loop from operations. The way the terminal uses data to create a data / driven methodology and culture is important for producing smart evolution on performance and SLAs by customer.
Are there any limits in terminal automation?
In terms of technology state-of-the-art I think the current state provides a framework to go far beyond the current impact of automation at terminal operations and also in the way terminals serve the ocean supply chain. I also see the industry today at an inflection point to leverage all learnings during last decades, to produce consolidation but also change in order to push current boundaries out. Limiting factors in my opinion are:
Modularity: terminals are all different and systems providers need to provide flexibility through modular automation blocks that can be combined in different ways depending on the specific terminal design requirements regarding productivity, capacity and cost parameters within its business case.
Standardisation: covering different aspects at processes and IT architecture levels, the need of better ways of connecting products and systems from different vendors. We need global institutions to be more active, including open standards that enable terminals to build an automation ecosystem from multiple manufacturers.
Augmentation: at automated terminals it is fundamental the operator conceives equipment, systems and people performing as a whole, and the need on augmenting each elements capability for optimising operations; robots on execution reliability / consistency, software on decisions intelligence / learning and humans on proactive control / assessment.
IT vs OPS: automation implementation is highly on people, a mutual empathy between technology and operational experts is fundamental as with automation, boundaries between traditional IT and OPS departments need to be removed. The joint effort philosophy is a fundamental driver at projects and it should persist far after the go-live.
Simplification: unfortunately with all the emerging IT platforms offering, the solution ecosystem scenario is becoming really complex, in my opinion really confusing. Strategies implementing enterprise architecture should be catalysts for IT solutions better supporting business and operational processes.
When thinking on the AI capabilities we can leverage I see huge potential as those are really matching with some of our constraints:
- Self-learning, and understand the reality in front,
- Adaptation when something is not according to plan,
- Prediction and pattern recognition to be able to ‘look ahead’,
- Deep analysis and recommendations to the user.
Our focus at ATOM Labs is always on understanding the problem better, and using data for doing so. Now with the problem defined upfront and an iterative rapid prototyping methodology we are able to produce input to Navis roadmaps faster and more accurately; the introduction of AI in our solutions is an important goal we have, and we see terminal operators and shipping lines strongly investing on leveraging AI capabilities.
I think in our industry it will take some time as we need to establish the core foundation for enabling those algorithms providing the expected capabilities and helping to solve the problems that our industry faces to get smarter and intelligent.
We cannot expect magic from one day to another, but I find Mr. Stephen Hawking’s quote on ‘Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change’ really applicable to our industry and pointing on the potential of leveraging AI capabilities to take the ocean supply chain to the next level.
Collaborative information sharing between stakeholders is important for port operations to take place. Is Blockchain the solution?
Our experience with XVELA as many-to-many digital collaboration platform is being really a confirmation process for the need of jointly achieving following goals across our industry:
¨ Lower uncertainty within shipping stakeholders' interactions, eliminate middlemen actors
¨ Transform collective distrust into collaboration and change behaviors
¨ Simplify relationships and workflows, enabling network reach and personal control
And we see the evolution at shipping lines, terminal operators and ports regarding digitisation and the continuous investment in technologies like Blockchain to enable the required evolution across processes and relationships between shipping stakeholders. From a conceptual point of view everything makes sense. Through a decentralised, shared and well-structured database, stakeholders will be digitally identified, registered, qualified and evaluated and transactions will be secure, tracked, historically recorded into an immutable and unforgeable blocks of data. But technology is recognised by experts as still in its infancy, and still we need to identify specific relevant use cases and execute experiments with key actors to find out what Blockchain will mean for our industry.
How Blockchain will get there? I believe Blockchain, or any other coming technology in the near future, will realise the vision to enable increasing, faster and more open collaboration across the container flow, and it is not just an economic evolution but innovation in computer science to articulate at the end a distributed, secure and autonomous supply chain.
What will the container terminals of the future look like?
I am a dreamer but will keep my explanation really simple. I imagine a terminal readjusting itself to produce the required SLA for the next vessel in operations, performing in an ecosystem that helps vessels in and out from the port and providing visibility and predictability to the whole ocean supply chain. But we really need to focus on solving problems at present; and while terminals implement automation in order to become responsive and proactive agents in the ocean supply chain, we need to keep the bigger picture in mind and have a holistic approach to drive change. The existing paradigm is reinforced through interlocking beliefs, practices and processes, so trying to fix one item in isolation will not bring the maximum benefits, as other pieces can hold us back. We must not revert to old approaches when a change fails to produce immediate results. Changes in terminals must be accompanied by changes in the whole ocean supply chain: altering only one part of the ecosystem will not be effective.
There is a long way to go to get there but I truly believe we are towards that future, and automation and digitisation, and all the different aspects we mentioned in this interview, are fundamental drivers to enable step by step that dream coming true.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience and your favourite ship:
All-in-all during my career I was lucky so far I could apply my knowledge and expertise to drive execution and to empower impact in really meaningful projects at container shipping industry, but being involved in more than 30 terminal automation projects so far, the first one is always special and it was in my home port, Algeciras, so TTIA was for me one in a lifetime experience.
I will always remember our first vessel in operations on 5th May 2010, Cosco Oceania, and our pioneering sentiment at TTIA, getting the first semi/automated terminal in the Mediterranean to go live. I have recorded every moment of that night: that vessel had to discharge 202 containers, we made the equipment available, ready and assigned; 2 quay cranes, 4 shuttle carriers and 7 yard blocks with 14 automatic stacking cranes; and a bunch of young and enthusiastic people behind and celebrating a the end of the operation the achievement of our 22.86 GMPH and the starting of a new chapter at the Port of Algeciras. All of us in less than one year got the terminal beyond 30 GMPH and to full capacity, capturing more than 15 shipping lines as customers.
After all these years learning I got to understand the dimension of the frontiers that Cosco Oceania, and all the work before and after, opened in my mind; the importance of having witnessed the impact of what you do at work, strongly determined on being a humble and small part of the evolution at our industry. I learned so much from and with fantastic people; I cultivated a strong sense of purpose and got to understand how combining knowledge, passion and commitment a team can accomplish a lot. That spirit is what I keep bringing to work every day.
For more information about Navis, please visit www.navis.com
Stuart Rivers, Chief Executive Officer At Sailors’ Society, Talks Maritime Welfare, Coaching, Innovation, Global Crisis Response Network & Piracy, Gender Diversity And More
Stuart Rivers is Chief Executive Officer at Sailors’ Society, an international Christian charity working in ports across the world. Stuart joined the Society in April 2013 bringing his previous experience as Executive Director of Enterprise at the Bible Society where he took a strategic role in developing a group of commercial businesses. Prior to this, Stuart worked for some years in The Salvation Army as a Church Leader and Community Service Director, managing business affairs and community outreach programmes. Earlier in his career, Stuart worked with Ericsson Enterprise UK, starting in 1989 and finishing in 2002 when he was Global Commercial Director.
2018 is an important year for Sailors’ Society as it marks its foundation 200 years ago in London to minister to the needs of destitute seafarers who had returned home from the Napoleonic Wars. We could not miss this opportunity to talk to Stuart about their bicentenary celebration year!
My responsibilities extend far beyond the job description and I consider myself a disrupter in the welfare sector, someone who encourages great ideas from staff and an advocate for seafarers and their families around the world who need support. In practical terms this means building and maintaining a strong head office team and supporting them to succeed. It means working with our fundraisers to help secure the income we need to run our projects, communicating with frontline staff, speaking with seafarers and their families and feeding their comments back. It also means getting in front of the trade and general media to promote the work of the Society and the challenges seafarers face.
Some might think that leadership is a lonely place but I see it as an immersive experience where my role is to facilitate the charity’s vision.
Your charity has been helping seafarers and their families since 1818. What has been your focus for this bicentenary year?
To celebrate our 200th anniversary and still be ahead of the game is truly astounding. We wanted to make this a year of celebration, honouring all of those who have contributed to making the charity what it is and offering a chance for everyone to get involved with this special anniversary.
Sailors’ Society has always been a brilliant innovator. The charity’s first act back in 1818 was to convert one of Nelson’s former warships, Speedy, into a floating chapel for seafarers. Affectionately known as the Ark, it became one of the many homes from home, from church halls to seafarers’ centres – where seafarers could meet and receive practical, emotional and spiritual help from the Society’s chaplains.
"The Speedy" - Image Released With Permission Of Sailors’ Society
We continue to innovate and are always looking to the future, exploring new opportunities to expand our global services and enhance the support we offer through new digital platforms. Alongside that, we continue our core work and last year reached more than 375,000 seafarers and their families, to help them in times of need.
What are the most common challenges faced by men and women at sea and how do you support them?
Many of the issues faced by the seafarers that the charity supported in our fledgling years are the same today. Our chaplains – now working in 29 countries around the world – are still there for those facing financial difficulties, isolation, dangerous conditions and separation from loved ones.
The latter is a daily issue for every seafarer, as communication with friends and family can be severely limited and can compound the feelings of isolation that many experience.
Society chaplains take phone cards and Wi-Fi on board thousands of ships so seafarers can speak to their loved ones. There was even a case where our port chaplain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Regina Borges de Paula, introduced a new father to his baby for the first time over video call. As technology evolves, so do the means through which seafarers contact us for help. Seafarers stranded on abandoned ships send SOS messages to Sailors’ Society using Twitter and Facebook and chaplains communicate with them and their anxious families on WhatsApp. We have even built our own app to help chaplains share information, better measure the impact of their work and provide continuity of care from port to port. The technology has been licensed to the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) and is available to 28 member organisations globally.
Away from home for months at a time, seafarers are often unable to access facilities due to tight security and quick turnaround times. So each year, Sailors’ Society chaplains transport thousands of seafarers to shops and vital medical care.
We also recognise the psychological impact that life at sea can have. It is why we set up a global Crisis Response Network, which offers a 24-hour support service to seafarers who have suffered trauma, through incidents such as piracy or accidents at sea. The network has already helped many, including the crew of anti-piracy vessel MV Seaman Guard Ohio, who were acquitted of weapons charges, having previously been handed a five-year prison sentence.
Our crisis responders have been working closely with the Indian and Ukrainian crew and families from the ship, offering counselling and support to reintegrate into their communities. Our chaplain in Chennai, Manoj Joy, provided welfare and financial support for the crew and their families throughout their ordeal, as well as helping the seafarers’ lawyers prepare their appeal.
We also created our Wellness at Sea coaching programme in response to the impact that everyday seafaring can have on seafarers’ health. The programme comprises of a variety of tools including a coaching course, surveys, a free app and e-learning platform. It aims to promote on board fitness and well-being and in turn help minimise poor health or incidents at sea. Since its launch in 2015, more than 2,000 have benefited from the programme. From individual givers to large organisation, our work would not be possible without the incredible support of our donors.
What would be your advice to those younger generations looking to develop a career at sea?
A career at sea can be incredibly rewarding and for many offers a route out of poverty. However, we have noticed that although the training seafarers undergo prior to going to sea is excellent, it often concentrates on the traditional hard skills required, which can leave new recruits underprepared for some of the harsh realities that life at sea brings – such as isolation. That’s why we created our Wellness at Sea coaching programme and app, which help equip seafarers with some of the softer skills.
We hope that graduates of the course, which explores five aspects of wellness – social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual – will be able to recognise and pre-empt signs of physical or mental ill health for both themselves and crewmates.
The course can be undertaken in a traditional classroom setting or online and I would strongly recommend anyone considering a career at sea undergoes this, or a similar course, to prepare them for life at sea.
Likewise, if finances are an issue, it is worth looking at what scholarships or grants might be available – such as Sailors’ Society’s nautical grants programme.
Is gender diversity at sea a reality?
Shipping is changing and what may traditionally be viewed as a male only environment is no longer; that said, the industry still has a fair way to go. It’s great to see initiatives such as the recently formed Women in Maritime Forum which aims to address fairness, equality and inclusion within the maritime sector.
What more can the industry do to support seafarers?
Countless investigations into disasters at sea have proven that anxiety and fatigue can take a terrible toll on the decision-making abilities of crew. We are looking to ship owners to prioritise crew wellness and invest in training - such as our Wellness at Sea programme - in order to help prevent disasters like the El Faro tragedy.
Our Wellness at Sea Conference (16 March, London) aims to address crew wellness and how this impacts on the health of the ship - and ultimately the health of the ship owner’s balance sheet - and we are expecting a high turnout from forward-thinking companies.
We’ve been heartened to see so many industry leaders collaborating with us on our wellness work, but so there is still so much more to be done.
Seafarers are subject to piracy attacks at sea. How do you deal with these stressful situations?
Sadly, piracy is a dreadful reality of seafaring, its threat hangs daily over many seafarers’ heads. We’ve also seen a growth in terrorist attacks particularly in the Philippines.
Our Crisis Response Network now has more than 50 specially trained responders who are able to offer front line and ongoing support, counselling and welfare to survivors of incidents such as piracy, as well as to family members and any others affected.
The network operates in Africa, Asia and Europe and cases are referred to us either directly by an individual or company or we might make an offer of assistance. All cases are treated confidentially and our responders develop a programme of support tailored specifically to each service user.
The caseload is growing daily and includes seafarers such as Adi who received support and counselling to help return to ‘normal’ life following his release from five years held captive by pirates. I continue to be truly humbled by the strength of those we assist.
Anyone in need can contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org, +44(0)23 80 515950 or via any of our social media accounts.
How do you see new regulation affecting seafarers over the short and medium term?
The introduction of MLC (2006) was a key moment for seafarer welfare, even though some would say that it doesn’t go far enough. My view, for what it’s worth, is that it is less about the particular clauses and what they mean for seafarers and more about the fact that we have set the minimum standard and have something to build upon globally.
As we pursue greater protections for seafarers, our representation at the IMO as part of the ICMA delegation is key. Through this delegation we can directly influence future changes to the convention that will positively affect seafarers.
The current challenge, I believe, is to get more nation states signed up to the convention so that the minimum standard can be expected everywhere. It is interesting that such a high proportion of abandonment cases relate to vessels flagged in states that have not ratified MLC (2006) and I believe this is a campaign trail that we should be pursuing through our advocacy work to raise global standards.
What charitable events are planned over the coming months?
We kicked off the year with our 200th anniversary launch drinks reception at Trinity House, London, joining together with many of our closest industry supporters. We will continue to celebrate with a variety of events throughout the year including our Wellness at Sea Conference (16 March, London), an Anniversary Service (24 April, Southwark Cathedral, London) and challenge events to raise funds for our work around the world. The latter includes two new events, a Great Wall of China trek in May and the Loch Ness Challenge, a canoe expedition in the wilds of Scotland. You can find out more about all of these and how to sign up at www.sailors-society.org
In addition, we’ve used our remarkable archives to produce a quality, coffee-table-style book, aptly titled ‘200 Stories from the Sea’. It features a whole host of stories from our history, taking readers from desperate times at London docks following the Napoleonic Wars to the missionary eaten by cannibals, through World Wars, HMS Victory, Titanic and the tunes played on our centre piano by none other than The Beatles. It’s a fabulous read and will be available to purchase from late April.
We’ve launched a special blend of coffee, HMS Victory, in partnership with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, in honour of our 200th birthday and to raise funds. The coffee is one of seven great blends that we offer and is available to buy via www.bysea.org
Sailors’ Society is also fortunate to have some excellent companies and individuals running or taking part in events in our aid, from charity golf days to marathon running to canoeing on open sea!
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience:
Only last year, I discovered that my grandfather, William Ross, was one of 34 men lost when the trawler he was on board, HMS Ullswater, was torpedoed in the English Channel. He was just 43 years old.
We’d never discussed the circumstances of his death and it only came to light when my cousin in Canada sent me details of the tragedy. While it is very sad to have never met my grandfather in person, I feel that I am now starting to understand what a great man he was through his service to King and country.
Because my work involves supporting those affected by trauma at sea, it has given me greater insight into how devastating my grandfather’s loss must have been for my grandmother and mother as a child.
Robert Kessler, Program Manager (Maritime) At Oceaneering International Inc., Talks Maritime Intelligence, AIS Technology, Terminal Optimisation, Safety, Emissions, ROVs And More
Robert Kessler is Program Manager for Maritime Global Data Solutions at Oceaneering International Inc., a leading global provider of engineered products and services. Oceaneering concentrates primarily on the offshore oil and gas industry, with a focus on deepwater applications, and the use of applied technology expertise to serve the defense, entertainment, material handling, aerospace, science, and renewable energy industries.
In your view, what is Oceaneering's competitive advantage in the industry?
From the perspective of the Global Data Solutions group that I represent, Oceaneering offers a unique combination of products and capabilities that are increasingly important for oil and gas operations upstream, midstream, and downstream, as well as a broader set of both wet and dry bulk cargo shipping operations.
Additionally, we can extend our solutions with a variety of additional Oceaneering capabilities, including our OMV (Oceaneering Media Vault) solution for archiving, retrieving, and analysing media footage from any location at any time, so users can more easily make decisions on day-to-day problems or on questions about assets and operations.
In general, our solutions solve some of today’s most difficult challenges through the collection, transmission, integration, analysis, and display of crucial data that help improve efficiency while enabling collaborative process monitoring, reporting, decision making, and key performance indicator (KPI) tracking and process optimisation.
What is PortVision 360?
The PortVision 360 Marine Asset Protection solution is an extension of the Oceaneering PortVision service, so that it now also includes the company’s shore-based AMIC, which gives owners of remotely operated fixed structures a round-the-clock “virtual watch team” for assessing threats posed by vessels to their multiple remote assets or large areas of subsea infrastructure, anywhere in the world.
The AMIC provides operators with a holistic view of what is happening around their global assets – they can protect their rigs and platforms from vessel collisions and unauthorised encroachments, and comprehensive vessel and location snapshot reporting provides information about each vessel, point-of-interest, or user-defined zone. GPS positions from AIS transmitters, radar targets, and other sensors are ingested into the AMIC data centre, and integration with satellite AIS delivers a complete offshore picture, enabling the PortVision 360 software to filter out false-negative alarms and send alerts about vessels’ interactions with the identified assets. Throughout the process, the collected data is also used to optimise operational efficiency and emergency response.
Our PortVision 360 service builds on 10 years of proven success for the company’s collaborative web-based vessel-tracking product line, extending its capabilities to make it even easier to answer questions and share information about vessel movements and events anywhere in the world. Key features include our patented Insight analysis engine, which gives users a better understanding of dynamic vessel tracks; a Vessel Intelligence feature, which provides access to over 50 additional data attributes on 10,000 workboats and offshore support vessels; and expanded reporting against a data warehouse of 100 billion vessel arrivals, departures, passings, and individual vessel movements.
How has AIS evolved over time, and, applying today’s technology, how do we utilise this information?
When our PortVision service debuted a decade ago, it quickly proved its worth for enhancing vessel, port, and terminal efficiency, while reducing costs and improving safety and security. Leveraging real-time and historical AIS data and, later, radar and other data inputs, PortVision was used to centralise logistics management in the oil and gas industry, and this service has enabled tug and vessel operators to significantly reduce standby time at docks and terminals. Users have achieved these accomplishments during a period of unprecedented growth in crude oil transportation traffic, and, now, this AIS-based tool is poised to deliver new and better ways to improve visibility and efficiency, while also protecting vessels and the assets they navigate around as the industry enters its next wave of traffic growth and evolution.
One of the most important evolutionary developments has been the transition of the PortVision 360 service beyond simple vessel tracking into comprehensive offshore asset protection with our AMIC solution. This delivers a significantly more cost-effective, reliable, and consistent way to protect infrastructure from vessel threats with remotely located round-the-clock active watch teams. Early detection is too critical to be a secondary or even tertiary crew responsibility, or to be compromised by alarm fatigue. A better approach to more intelligent and effective risk mitigation requires: 1) access to data for each defined vessel risk, 2) a risk-monitoring platform that combines data sources into a shared display and can issue customized threat alerts based on each asset’s unique risk profiles, 3) a clearly defined set of risk assessment and mitigation procedures, and 4) dedicated and properly trained staff that can validate risks and initiate mitigation.
Outsourcing these elements to the Oceaneering AMIC centralised monitoring service ensures that professionals experienced with vessel operations are all using the same procedures, processes, and tools across the asset infrastructure. The team understands each asset’s specific risk profile and procedures, and knows how to interpret vessel movements and triggered PortVision 360 alarms. Their training and standardised operating procedures are always improving, and they apply best practices across all assets. Operators with multiple assets in the same region can take advantage of the AMIC network’s data sensors across their infrastructure to cover data gaps if a radar or other sensor fails. Using the PortVision 360 service with the Oceaneering AMIC enables users to monitor, assess, mitigate, and measure the risk of vessels impacting their assets, while improving visibility and transparency, strengthening safety and security, and generating higher-value operational insights.
What are the advantages of using a digital platform to improve port efficiency?
Oceaneering digital platforms have improved efficiency as vessels move to and from terminal docks, and they also improve port operations in other ways, leveraging the approximately 1 billion position records per month that the PortVision service ingests from every major port and waterway across the globe. Two examples are safety and vessel emissions control:
Safety: At Port Fourchon, Louisiana, our PortVision service was used to demonstrate the benefits of using AIS data in a digital platform as part of a major initiative to protect pipelines, the mariners who operate near them, and the environment surrounding them. In partnership with the Greater LaFourche Port Commission and Oceaneering, the Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO) group demonstrated a safety broadcast system that transmitted AIS safety messages directly to mariners in two charted pipeline corridors near the port, significantly improving their situational awareness by providing immediate visibility about imminent threats and alerting vessels in danger of a possible pipeline strike. The system used AIS data to monitor vessel activities around pipelines and other infrastructure, alerted stakeholders when there was danger, and generated the actionable analytics necessary for risk assessment and asset management resource allocation and other decisions. To implement the marine safety and pipeline alert system, Port Fourchon and Oceaneering incorporated all pipeline maps into the PortVision vessel-tracking tool. Based on each specific pipeline segment, alerting parameters and criteria were determined and built into the solution, including vessel speed in or near zones of interest and duration of time spent near the pipeline segment. These and other variables can be problem indicators that should be scrutinised.
Emissions Monitoring: Another example of the benefits to ports of using digital platforms is generating in-port ship emissions data. The Australian Marine Environment Protection Association (AUSMEPA) is using the Oceaneering PortVision service to facilitate the operation of an online portal that will enable users to access emissions data of individual vessels at berth, at anchor, and at a port’s boundary. The solution leverages the PortVision 360 service’s ability to create geofences and real-time alerts, while also performing emissions calculations and generating emissions rating data, creating emissions layers on the main vessel-tracking map, and feeding the resulting information into an emissions dashboard that enables users to drill into data for ports, points of interest, and individual vessels.
How can big data help provide efficiency in shipping logistics?
Advances in data analytics and machine learning have allowed our team to really dig into seven years of historical vessel data and to dig out correlations that may not have otherwise been unearthed. For understanding the correlation of port congestion with weather events on the other side of the globe, our goal is to leverage our data in a way that businesses will know where their vessels or cargos are in real time, and to provide transparency to empower them to make informed decisions that increase efficiencies across the entire maritime supply chain.
What are the risks of subsea oil and gas operations, and how does your technology mitigate these challenges?
Our PortVision 360 service and our AMIC address these risks head-on.
As background, oil rigs and other fixed offshore assets faced many threats in the marine environment. They are vulnerable to allisions from vessels and to unexpected equipment failure, as well as health, safety, and environmental (HSE) hazards. These and other risks can be mitigated by identifying and prioritising operational risks at each site and understanding their environmental and financial impacts, and by applying smarter ways to manage and optimise the performance of widely dispersed assets in harsh and hard to monitor offshore environments. In the past, operators have typically set a radar “guard ring” and associated alerting mechanisms, so there would be a notification when vessels drew to within a set distance from the asset. Unfortunately, high volumes of false radar alarms from the assets’ own support vessels often desensitised watch teams. Plus, there was no way to incorporate the approaching vessel’s speed into the alarm trigger. Setting a ring large enough to account for fast-approaching vessels often overwhelmed watchstanders with false alarms, while too small a ring did not allow adequate mitigation notice.
Our PortVision 360 service and our AMIC solve this problem. The PortVision 360 service ingests all required GPS positions from AIS transmitters, radar targets, and other sensors, and integrates them with a satellite AIS for a complete offshore picture. Then, our shore-based AMIC provides a 24/7 “virtual watch team” for monitoring this data and assessing asset threats anywhere in the world. The disparate data sets are aggregated and transported to the AMIC to deliver centralised visualisation and actionable intelligence.
Five years from now, where do you see Oceaneering?
Our acquisition of PortVision a few years ago has expanded our vessel tracking capabilities and maritime domain expertise. The datasets we currently manage can allow us to deliver some very rich intelligence that will help cargo owners make better decisions to increase efficiency around the transport of cargo. Oceaneering, at its core, is a robotics company that specialises in harsh environments. We started with subsea remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the 1970s, and have branched out to non-tethered autonomous factory floor transport robots and trackless amusement park rides. I see Oceaneering expanding its expertise further into the maritime sector. We currently provide Underwater in Lieu of Drydocking (UWILD) surveys using our ROV fleet. It is not a stretch to see Oceaneering moving into the autonomous shipping realm.
Please describe your most memorable shipping experience:
One winter, when I was on the Mormac Star in the north Atlantic, I looked back and saw the stern deck taking on green seas where I had just been standing. That was the moment when I understood that the sea is truly in control.
What is your favourite ship?
As an engine cadet of the United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, 1988), I had the privilege of being part of the crew on the Genevieve Lykes, in her twilight years. Even then, the engine room was spotless. The ship was a traditional breakbulk ship with heavy lift capability. We went around the world stopping at ports in the Indian Ocean and the Far East before returning via the Panama Canal.
Markku Mylly, Executive Director European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), Talks Compliance, Maritime Safety & Security, Pollution Response & Prevention And Drone Services
Markku Mylly is Executive Director at the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), responsible for providing technical and scientific assistance to the European Commission and Member States in the proper development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, pollution by ships and security on board ships. Markku started his maritime career in the Finnish Merchant Shipping in 1973, sailing on Finnish ships until 1987 when he joined the Finnish Maritime Administration (FMA), where he gained extensive high-level experience until 2010. Markku was then appointed CEO and Managing Director of Finnish Port Association in 2010, serving in this position until he was nominated Executive Director of The European Maritime Safety Agency in 2012.
The Executive Director is also responsible for carrying out day-to-day management of the Agency, recruiting the Agency’s staff, in compliance with the EU Staff regulations and fostering a good team spirit and positive working environment.
What are the main functions of EMSA?
To ensure a high, uniform and effective level of maritime safety, maritime security, prevention of, and response to, pollution caused by ships as well as response to marine pollution caused by oil and gas installations.
EMSA is responsible for technical and scientific assistance to the Commission and the Member States in the proper development and implementation of EU legislation on maritime safety, maritime security, and prevention of pollution by ships.
The Agency is also responsible for the verification and monitoring of the implementation of EU legislation through visits and inspections, and supports capacity building through training and cooperation and tools such as the STCW Information System (STCW-IS), which provides information on maritime administrations and maritime education and training establishments in the EU, including maritime programmes, number of students and graduates as well as numerical information on certificates of competency and endorsements issued by the EU Member States; the European Marine Casualty Information Platform (EMCIP) which is a repository of data and information related to marine casualties involving all types of ships and occupational accidents and enables the production of statistics and analysis of the technical, human, environmental and organisational factors involved in accidents at sea; THETIS and its modules, RuleCheck and MaKCs which are tools facilitating and supporting uniform implementation of EU maritime legislation and enhancing the capacity of the Member States. EMSA also provides operational assistance to Member States and the Commission in the field of preparedness and response to at-sea pollution caused by ships and oil and gas installations. In addition, EMSA facilitates technical cooperation between Member States and the Commission in the field of vessel and port reporting and for maritime surveillance at sea. A number of systems (e.g. SafeSeaNet, CleanSeaNet, Long Range Identification and Tracking) are maintained and developed in order to offer government-to-government maritime information services; this includes a platform for integrated maritime information services, tailored to user requirements.
Please tell us about the main challenges of EMSA in terms of the maritime industry today:
EMSA will continue to support Member States and the Commission by visits and inspections also in the coming years. We will continue inspections of Recognised Organisations and Maritime Training Institutions in third countries.
EMSA will continue the work related to REFIT exercise of passenger ship safety, STCW, PSC and Marine Equipment and we continue to work together with the Commission in security inspections. Supporting PSC & Flag State enforcement is further an important task of the Agency and EMSA will continue to enhance this work in order to further reduce the inspection effort and to maximise the time in which the ship can be commercially exploited, whilst continuing to ensure high safety standards. The Agency continues providing Integrated Maritime Services to Member State Authorities and EU bodies executing functions in the maritime domain. The list includes: EU Naval Forces in Horn of Africa area and Mediterranean area, European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the European Border and Coastguard Agency (Frontex), and the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC-N). Services will be refined and further developed in line with evolving operational needs based on feedback from users, including discussions which take place within the framework of user fora e.g. Integrated Maritime Service (IMS) Group User Consultation Meetings. Provision of services to other EU/MS entities will be explored and developed as appropriate. Supporting simplification of reporting formalities and more maritime transport efficiency is an important task of the Agency. We continue to work with the Commission and Member States to develop EMSW (European Maritime Single Window) to minimise the administrative burden on board the vessels in creating EU Maritime space without barriers.
Are all EU Member States on par with the implementation of EU legislation relating to maritime safety, pollution prevention and maritime security?
Verification of the implementation of the EU maritime safety and security legislation remains an essential task that the Agency performs to support the European Commission. There are several reasons for verifying how this legislation is implemented in practice, including: detecting gaps in the overall safety system, promoting a harmonised approach across the European Union and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the measures in place.
EMSA has been conducting this task for more than 15 years and the methodology for the visits to Member States was updated by the Administrative Board in 2016. The level of Member States implementation of safety, security and environmental protection legislation is on a very high and uniform level today.
How effective is the European cooperation of Coast Guard functions?
European Coast Guard Function is a huge challenge and the three European agencies – the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and EMSA are progressing well. Coast Guard functions are performed, both at national and European level, by different organisations focusing on one or more areas of activity. Synergies can be achieved for example during joint operations focusing on multiple objectives (border control and illegal activities, fishery control, etc.).
A permanent cooperation framework with a clear legal and operational focus is enhancing the EU maritime surveillance capabilities whilst respecting the Agencies and their mandates, but strengthening cooperation and creating synergies.
This kind of cooperation framework is not adding overhead or a governance layer, but creates a framework which facilitates cooperation between EU Agencies enabling to better fulfilling their respective mandates.
What projects is EMSA currently working on?
EMSA is currently starting the Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) or drone services, which we have developed to assist Member States authorities conducting so called coast guard functions, such as (1) maritime pollution and emissions monitoring; (2) detection of illegal fishing, anti-drug trafficking, and illegal immigration; and (3) search and rescue operations, etc.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) can be used as aerial platforms for sensors such as optical cameras in the visible and infrared (IR) spectral range for night and day maritime surveillance, IR sensors for oil slick detection and analysis, radar for maritime surveillance, and oil spill detection, and gas sensors (“sniffers”) to measure the amount of SOx in a plume emitted by a ship to be able to calculate the percentage of sulphur used in the fuel burned by the ship.
Additionally all RPAS are equipped with AIS sensors to have a complete picture of vessel movements and distress sensors to be able to react in emergencies.
In 2015, the EU Commission launched the e-Manifest pilot project, with the support of EMSA, and in consultation with Member States and the shipping industry. The main objective is to demonstrate the way in which cargo information required by both maritime and customs authorities can be submitted together with other reporting formalities required by Directive 2010/65/EU in a harmonised manner, and via a European Maritime Single Window (EMSW).
EMSA has been providing technical assistance to the Commission in relation to GHG emissions from ships, in particular in following up ongoing international developments. The Agency has developed a new module in THETIS, namely THETIS-MRV, in support of Regulation (EU) 2015/757 for the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport.
The system will be taken in operation in 01.01.2018 and it is really unique and innovative, since for the first time EMSA has developed a system to facilitate the shipping industry and not only authorities from Member States. Through this web-based application all relevant parties foreseen by Regulation (EU) 2015/757 for the monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport (owners, managers, verifiers, Member States) will fulfil their monitoring and reporting obligations in a harmonised way.
As part of the projects for technical assistance funded by the European Commission, EMSA offers cooperation and assistance in the fields of maritime safety and security, prevention of pollution from ships and marine environmental issues to North African countries (SAFEMED IV-project) and Black and Caspian Sea countries (BCS-project).
Where do you see EMSA in 5-10 years?
EMSA has shown to be very effective and valuable Agency for the Commission and Member States in supporting their work in enhancing Maritime Safety, Security and Environmental protection in EU waters. I believe that EMSA has a very bright and challenging future to further enhance maritime related issues in EU domain. I would like to see EMSA’s role also to support more industry in providing them information and data which is collected by EMSA in our data bases. Of course there has to be clear rules on how this data can be shared with different stakeholders respecting the data protection rules and different type of business rules.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience:
I think my most memorable shipping experience happened in 1974 on the route from Amsterdam to Pulau Sambu (Indonesia). I was an ordinary seaman on the handy size Finnish tanker “Tramontana”. We passed the equator and of course there was a big celebration to those who passed the line for the first time. We stopped at Cape Town for bunkering and took some provisions and then continued our voyage towards Indonesia. In the Indian Ocean our vessel started to crack on starboard side and before Mauritius we had a big hole, approximately 4 meters high amidships. We had to look for shelter and we headed to Mauritius and Port Luis. When we arrived at Port Luis a hurricane passed over Mauritius and we had both anchors down and the engine running ahead to keep the vessel in position. We cleared the storm and afterwards we were moored to the mooring buoys in outer roads where we stayed for seven weeks for discharging the cargo and temporary repairs. The cargo was discharged to another vessel and our starboard side was strengthened so that the classification society gave us permission to sail to Gadani beach in Pakistan were the vessel was then scrapped.
Do you have a favourite ship?
Yes I do have a favourite ship. When I was working in Finnish Maritime Administration (FMA) we had an old steamship which we used for representation purposes. She was and still is an extremely beautiful vessel, built in 1894, only burning wood and the entire interior is renovated to us much as possible for original condition. This vessel is a historical masterpiece of shipbuilding and a beauty in one package.
Javier Lancha, Managing Director APM Terminals Callao (Peru), Talks Teamwork, Equipment, Economy & Productivity, Technology, Digitalisation And Operational Efficiency
Javier Lancha is Managing Director at APM Terminals Callao (Peru) since December 2016. Previously, he was CEO at APM Terminals Algeciras and Managing Director at APM Terminals West Med, Algeciras & Tangier. He has extensive experience in managerial positions of multinational corporations such as Alcatel, Thales and Galileo Industries. It should be noted that the latter was the main contractor that developed the gas infrastructure for the European Space Agency. Javier Lancha holds an Advanced Management Program from IESE Business School - University of Navarra, and a degree in Business Administration (B.B.A.) from the University College of Financial Studies.
About your experience in the industry, how have the years at APM Terminals Algeciras helped you in your current role?
My first experience in the port sector was when I was appointed Finance Director in Algeciras, later I had the challenge to take on the position of Director of that terminal, and then take on the Management of West Med of Algeciras & Tangier.
As this was my first position in the port sector, joining Algeciras represented a very important professional challenge, the starting point of my training in the business; and what better start than working in the hub of the Mediterranean region, the most important terminal in Spain, and a strategic point in a complex and challenging environment.
What is your Management Model at the terminal?
APM Terminals Callao is more a country port, contrary to Algeciras, which is a transhipment port; the North Pier of the Port of Callao is the main gateway into Peru, which has an important impact on the economy of the country, as well as an institutional and commercial impact.
How is APM Terminals Callao different from the competition?
The unique differentiator of APM Terminals Callao is its multipurpose port nature, providing container and general cargo services, the latter including break bulk, solid bulk, rolling cargo, liquids, as well as any other type of cargo such as cruise ships. Additionally, we have technologically advanced equipment and personnel with international experience to meet these various types of cargo.
What are your growth prospects in the short, medium and long term?
The growth forecast for the following years is good and aligned with the growth of the Peruvian Gross Domestic Product (4%), and with international markets where we export and import products, reason for which an increase is expected in both, container and general cargo volumes.
Technology in the port sector is key. How does your terminal optimise resources?
Technology in the port sector, as in all sectors, is a challenge today. We ask ourselves every day how to adapt to new technologies, processes and concepts that revolutionise the design and development of ports in terms of productivity, sustainability, with the sole purpose of meeting the demands of our customers. In that sense, APM Terminals aims to automate its processes globally.
At APM Terminals Callao we are moving forward in terms of modernisation, we aim to, in the 24 years that we have left in our concession, turn the Port of Callao into a world class operation. Since 2011, APM Terminals is in charge of the modernisation project of the terminal, guaranteeing the necessary infrastructure and equipment that allows to increase the operational efficiency and its standards to an international level.
After six years in the concession, APM Terminals has invested more than USD 460 million and has completed stages 1 and 2 of the modernisation project. In terms of automation, USD 10.4 million were invested in a new entry gate, which has an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system, unique in Peru, which serves to capture information and digital images from all sides of the container and the truck. In this way, the number plate data and container number are recorded quickly and accurately. On the other hand, we have signed an agreement with the National Superintendence of Customs and Tax Administration, so that the administrative procedures are virtual allowing to improve processes, have a greater planning, greater efficiency and speed in the delivery of containers. Step by step we are moving forward; in the next few years we should start to evaluate how to automate horizontal transportation in each container yard.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the maritime sector?
We are experiencing changes in both, the port and in any other business sector related to the disruptive process of digitalisation, which has increased access and opportunities, has increased complexity, and -above all- has created an exponential change in the perception of urgency for everything short term.
Please talk to us about your memorable shipping experience:
For me, being part of APM Terminals has been a pleasant experience in my life because it has allowed me to get closer to the ocean from another perspective. A few years ago I was facing the coasts of the Mediterranean, when I was heading Algeciras; it was the first time I had daily contact with the maritime sector, and now I am facing the Pacific coast in Callao. Since then I am connected to the sea on a daily basis, and this represents a very valuable experience in my life.
Please tell us about your favourite ship:
I could not define which one is my favourite vessel, as there are a variety of types and models with a range of different features; they are all really impressive. But what I can highlight is that I have been lucky enough to live and see the transformation of mega ships. We are currently living this process in which the ships are adapting to the new needs of the market. In Algeciras I had the opportunity to lead the modernisation project to adapt the terminal so that it could receive vessels such as the Triple E, considered one of the largest in the world. This has been rewarding, in addition to being at the forefront of this transformation, being able to have them in front of me represents a great experience.
Argyris Stasinakis, Board Member And Responsible For Business Development At MarineTraffic, Talks Maritime Data & Intelligence, Vessel Tracking, Global AIS Network, Autonomous Ships And More
Argyris Stasinakis is Partner, Board Member and responsible for Business Development at Marine Traffic, the Global pioneer in AIS vessel tracking. Founded in 2007 as an experiment, it now counts with a wide range of driven professionals with a common goal: to make the shipping industry more efficient and transparent.
Please tell us more about your company's vision and team:
The MarineTraffic success story is based on people. From our Athens, Oxford and recently opened Singapore offices, a team of talented programmers, data curators and customer services people in the business have built a data-driven vessel tracking service that is used by 6.5 million people a month. But our accomplishments are not just down to MarineTraffic employees: it is our huge global network of AIS station managers (in excess of 3,000 active coastal receivers) and photographers (in excess of 2 million photos) who have enabled MarineTraffic to be such a success.
Our vision is to become more deeply embedded than ever before in our professional customers’ businesses. The first step is to move even deeper into optimising ship voyages. We want to be more closely involved with how a ship interacts with a terminal, including planning and execution of nautical services. We adopt a holistic approach of optimising the voyage from berth to berth, going beyond standard routeing services which are currently available. Benefits are significant: lower fuel consumption, lower emissions, improved berth occupancy, tighter time windows for delivery of services. The overall financial and environmental impact concerns individual stakeholders and society in general.
The second step is to build on MarineTraffic reach and provide digital space to allow other enterprises to do business on the MarineTraffic platform, as well as supporting a range of projects and enterprises. We want to turn MarineTraffic into a global platform for the shipping industry.
We envisage the MarineTraffic screen at the heart of a range of maritime transactions. Whilst MarineTraffic has long been facilitating API data exchange, by allowing third parties to build their own systems incorporating MarineTraffic data, the future will see a marketplace approach with a seamless experience for our users. Key features will be interaction between users across organisations, collaborating on processes involving multiple parties.
What competitive advantage do you have over other ship tracking services in the market?
At base level, the quality of our data and reach is second to none. Our reach is wider than any other tracking service and critically our freemium service is easy to use.
One step further, we are thought leaders in data advancements in the maritime domain, combining deep knowledge, a thirst for innovation, a high degree of realism and constant interaction/feedback from our clients. I believe our approach is unique.
Public tracking of ships can be a challenge in those areas with high risk of piracy. How does this work?
Any ship transiting an area at risk of piracy has the ability to switch off their AIS. It is a decision for the ship’s Master. AIS is not an enabler or cause of piracy.
How does Marine Traffic contribute to safety at sea?
MarineTraffic is not a safety system and we do not recommend that anyone uses our system as a navigational aid. Having said that, our historical data is frequently used in studying patterns of life, traffic density in sensitive areas (e.g. ports, canals, wind farms, floating platforms…), accidents etc. Our video playback feature is an excellent tool for visualising events over a time window in a specific area. Such data and tools enables authorities to revise local regulations as necessary, enhancing, in a preemptive fashion, safety of life at sea.
What are your views on autonomous ships?
As a technical, IT orientated person I am of course intrigued by the concept of autonomous ships. There are some extremely exciting and interesting projects in this area. I can see how many of the activities carried out by seafarers could be automated, allowing sea staff to focus on the aspects of bridge and engine room management that require problem-solving skills and creativity. However, we are still some way off from the day of the fully autonomous ship.
How do you see new technology improving future tracking services?
The proliferation of satellite broadband services already has a positive impact on data collected from ships. This applies to position tracking data with the caveat that such data is, of course, proprietary. AIS, which we capture, is an open transmission, available to all. The technology is already 20+ years old, which is “old” in our fast moving world. In the short-mid term, we expect improved coverage thanks to floating (“roaming”) AIS receivers on board vessels and to new, larger constellations of satellites capturing the AIS signal.
What other less popular applications do you provide users, apart from standard vessel tracking?
We are proud of our new business directory. It is growing in popularity, since businesses choose to register with MarineTraffic.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience and favourite ship:
My background is in data and information technology, so I have mostly experienced shipping as a passenger. I remember as a child grasping my glasses so that they do not fall off my head at sea as I was staring at the reflection of the sun. I remember, at a later age, dolphins while travelling (on the EL.VENIZELOS, I believe) in the Aegean towards Crete. And I later remember partying on a cruise ship while crossing the Adriatic. Good memories all of them. You know, when visiting ports, I somehow still have this fleeting desire to board a ship and just go anywhere it takes me!
Barry Bryant, Director General At Seafarers UK, Talks Charitable Activities, Crew Challenges At Sea & Family Support, Career Development, Gender Diversity And More
Barry Bryant (Commodore, RN) is Director General at Seafarers UK, a welfare charity that has been helping people in the maritime community for over 100 years, by providing vital support to seafarers in need and their families.
Your charity has been helping seafarers and their families since 1917. What has been your focus for this Centenary year?
Our chosen Centenary theme has been ‘Past, Present and Future’ and we designed and promoted three very different but successful projects: a major extension to the Trinity House ‘Hub’ building in Mariners’ Park in Wallasey for older seafarers; initial and ongoing support for the International Port Welfare Project to set up National Welfare Boards and Port Welfare Committees in all the major ports of the world, for today’s serving mariners; and finally to supply six mobile Marine Engineering Pathway vehicles, known as ‘Pods’, to persuade Sea Cadets and other young people to take an interest in a technical maritime future.
What would be your advice to those younger generations looking to develop a career at sea?
Firstly, there are some fantastic and challenging careers out there, many of which do not demand highly academic or technical qualifications, but they do demand commitment, teamwork and mental strength. I would recommend any young person to take a closer look at the jobs and skills on offer, but go into a seagoing career with your eyes open; talk to those who have gone before, and develop longer-term plans, taking advantage of the huge amount of advice and support on offer.
Women in shipping: is gender diversity a reality?
I think the growing success of women at sea in the Royal and Merchant Navies, both in deck and engineering specialisations, in the past few decades has proved beyond doubt that they can equal their male contemporaries in actually doing the job - and in many cases they have overcome even greater social challenges to achieve that success. I was very impressed with the attitude and commitment of the 10% of women in ENDURANCE’s ship’s company. However, for fairly obvious and equally social reasons, I don’t believe we will achieve parity in numbers - offspring and long voyages don’t easily fit together. Maybe the dawn of autonomous ships will ease the burden!
What more can the industry do to support seafarers?
I fear that in most cases, the days of large, paternalistic shipping companies bringing on their own cadets and nurturing their careers are over. Individuals have to take more responsibility for their own futures, planning a sometimes diverse career path with different agencies and companies and taking advantage of professional development opportunities from the likes of the Marine Society. However, I do believe that ‘industry’ in the round can do very much more in working through and with the larger charities to promote these opportunities, and to provide a more substantial safety net when things go wrong.
I always contrast the detailed and complex personnel support mechanism provided by the Royal Navy to its people to ensure that they’re fit to fight, with the sometimes cavalier attitude of the commercial sector where replacements can always be bought.
What does the Red Ensign mean to Seafarers UK?
I believe very strongly that seafarers should be as proud to sail under the Red Ensign as under the White, but until the industry and the charitable sector can work together to provide the sort of support mentioned above given by the Royal Navy, our commercial seafarers will not believe that they are joining something more meaningful than just a job. A senior colleague mentioned recently that we need to ‘put some soul back into the Merchant Navy’ to make it the proud and widely acknowledged entity it was perhaps fifty years ago.
Seafarers UK has been striving to make the Red Ensign more widely known across the nation, and this year we had over 650 ‘red dusters’ flying on public buildings on Merchant Navy Day, 3rd September. We hope to develop this campaign in the future to provide fundraising opportunities for our Merchant Navy Fund.
How do you see new regulation affecting seafarers over the short and medium term?
New regulatory regimes, however well meant, are rarely seen as a good thing by everyone! Some, such as MLC2006, were long overdue and have provided huge benefits - at least as long as they are understood and complied with by all. Other fundamental laws such as those mandating human rights (as opposed to labour rights) are often less understood and often more difficult to police. Similarly the increasing raft of environmental legislation, with its draconian penalties, may well be good for the planet but is often seen as weighing heavily on the shipping community, sometimes leading to widespread circumvention. Essentially, the industry and trade unions must maintain a positive dialogue with those who make and enforce the legislation both nationally and internationally, ensuring they understand the real and often human effect of the laws they wish to introduce. Will Brexit make life easier? I doubt it!
What charitable events are planned over the coming months?
In terms of challenge events, we will continue to concentrate on the London Marathon and our very own ‘24 Peaks’ event where teams, often from maritime companies, attempt to climb 24 separate peaks in the English Lake District, all over 2400ft high, in 24 hours. It’s a remarkable test of endurance and team-building, but much enjoyed by all. In a new initiative, we shall be trying to gain more substantive and enduring support from the industry by showcasing what we do in terms of career awareness and promotion, as well as our more well-known welfare and personnel support work.
Please tell us about your most memorable shipping experience and favourite ship:
A difficult choice, given the hugely varied and enjoyable 34 years I had in the Royal Navy, but I suppose my favourite ship would have to be my last one, in command of HMS ENDURANCE for two wonderful seasons in the South Atlantic and Antarctica. It was good to make much closer acquaintance with the Falkland Islands and South Georgia without being shot at! The ship had three main tasks: defence diplomacy, reinforcing the Antarctic Treaty regulations among the many nations operating in the UK-claimed territory; hydrographic surveying, often in uncharted waters with a seabed that could go from 2000m to 10m within a few hundred yards (that keeps you awake!); and support for the unsung heroes of the British Antarctic Survey, where our Lynx helicopters could often insert their scientists onto glaciers and mountain tops which otherwise they could not have reached. Despite surviving the Falklands conflict and a major helicopter ditching earlier in my career, I think perhaps the most memorable experience was also in Antarctica, when we realised that a huge floating iceberg rather larger than Gibraltar (but not as welcoming!) was about to cut off our escape route and possibly crush the ship into the ice shelf. We had to swiftly launch the helicopter to find a route out - an interesting half an hour, as we contemplated sharing the fate of Shackleton’s original ENDURANCE over eighty years previously!
In summary, after such a rewarding career in the Royal Navy, it’s been a huge privilege to serve today’s maritime community at the helm of Seafarers UK for the last 15 years, and I look forward to spending the next couple of years ensuring the charity is fully ready to face the challenges of our next century.
Pantelis Chinakis, President & Managing Director Of INSB Class, Talks Safety Standards, Ship Classification, Design & Construction, Technology And Training
Pantelis Chinakis is the President & Managing Director of the International Naval Surveys Bureau (INSB Class), an independent Greek ships classification society working with the objective of safeguarding life, property and the marine environment. INSB Class holds a network of exclusive offices and surveyors that provide certification services worldwide.
functions which aims towards the welfare and sustainability of the INSB Class. We design our course to ensure that it remains relevant to our vision, ethics and principles and that can adopt and respond to changes, trends and challenging market developments as they occur.
What is your main commitment for 2018?
Our corporate strategic orientation is very clear in line with the industry compliance standards and expectations. Under such a perspective and on a broader context of the next 3 year term, we have identified a set of strategic priorities as important elements to our ongoing successful performance, which can be briefly summarised on Standards – Performance – Engagement.
Within 2018 and among other important goals, we shall remain focused in our efforts for the continuous alignment of our applied quality and technical standards with the EU/IACS benchmark.
We will aim for talent development, adoption of digitalisation technologies to improve and simplify our certification processes and promote our customers' support. These priorities, complemented with quality performance in the key PSC MoUs and with an extrovert collaborative approach, will help us drive further progress and strengthen our competitiveness forward.
Ultimately, we shall endeavour to increase our displacement in the top tier of the leading Non-IACS classification societies. Leading the cluster of Non-IACS organisations is not an easy task and there are no secret formulas to success. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment and resources to maintain such a lead. Engagement is also an important element as INSB Class has also acquired the role of an agent for innovation, working to develop, promote safety standards and test innovative, environmental friendly marine solutions for a sustainable future.
With engagement, our learning curve is broaden and therefore we get the opportunity not only to listen to various clusters but also to take smart decisions and enforce new approaches and practices as similar bigger size organizations do, towards promoting safety which is the bedrock of our corporate mission.
What standards do ships have to comply with in order to obtain the Certificate of Ship's Classification?
Ship Classification is a system, which entails verification against a set of requirements during the design, construction and operation of ships and offshore units. These requirements are best known as Rules & Regulations and in many instances encompass requirements derived by research activity, IMO Conventions as well as other international accepted criteria relevant to ships type and size.
INSB Class has developed its own set of Rules & Regulations, relevant to ships design, construction and operational maintenance, in line with IACS unified requirements. Design and construction requirements, the scope of tests and surveys are defined by the INSB Class Rules for Ship Classification and Construction. In order for a vessel to achieve classification with INSB Class, there is a dedicated process that must be fulfilled in order to confirm with the applicable rules, and must be assessed and verified. This process includes the examination of the ship’s history, technical compliance review, structural and stability assessments, and the successful performance of necessary surveys for purposes of classification.
INSB Class Rules require that every classed vessel shall be subject to periodic surveys throughout its service life to determine whether it is maintained in accordance with classification standards. Classification surveys are based on a regular five-year cycle. Following the successful completion of a classification survey, INSB Class confirms the ship’s compliance with these requirements by issuing a Certificate of Ship’s Classification which includes a class notation (as applicable to each vessel), and enters the vessel into the INSB Class Register of ships.
What aspects do you focus on when undertaking a five-year cycle classification survey?
Typically, a five-year cycle classification survey commences with a Special Survey on dry dock where the vessel is subjected to extensive inspections and tests for its hull structure, equipment components, electrical installation and machinery including propeller and shaft. In addition plan appraisal, engineering, technical computations and measurements are performed to assess the level of the vessel’s conformity against the INSB Classification's Rules & Regulations and applicable IMO Conventions. The vessel’s type, age, history and other past operational elements are also examined and reviewed.
The cycle then continues with the performance of required Annual Surveys and of an Intermediate Survey in between, where on successful completion of each survey the INSB Classification Certificate is endorsed to confirm conformity until the five-year cycle is completed and then the cycle resets. Depending on the occasion and as the case may dictate, INSB Class surveyors also witness repairs and / or modifications of a vessel to determine that the work performed returns the unit to a condition that conforms to the INSB Class Rules and therefore class certification is maintained.
How do you tackle non-compliant vessels?
We are conscious that regulatory compliance does not only affect ship safety alone but critically its crew, operations and the environment. On a larger scale, the level of compliance of a ship may have a negative consequence to other segments and stakeholders of the industry too, including flag state, charterers, insurers, port state control, etc.
As a result of our industry’s demanding regulatory context, it is therefore prudent to set and continuously gauge various metrics (known as KPIs) to safeguard and mitigate actions that may jeopardise safety as a whole.
From our stance, INSB Class enforces a risk approach method and a monitoring process is enabled to identify and manage non-compliant vessels. In this path, one of the key activities deployed is the pre-entry screening applied to all applications received where ships’ past history, records and performance is evaluated and determines whether the vessel will qualify for entry or not. In cases of transfer of class from another classification society to INSB Class or vice-versa, a direct exchange of information is realised to ensure that the gaining society is knowledgeable of the vessel’s survey history.
In instances where a candidate vessel fails to meet INSB Class standards, the entry process shall be disrupted. In the case of an already classed vessel, if compliance is not maintained throughout its full classification period with the INSB Class, then as determined by INSB Class Rules, the vessel’s classification status is suspended until the reasons which led to losing compliance have been rectified. In the opposite case, the vessel’s class will be withdrawn. The periodic compliance assessments and verification against international safety standards is essential for managing safety and equally important is the level of cooperation between shipowners and other key stakeholders such as the vessel’s flag state, classification societies, port state control authorities etc.
With current and future regulation in mind, what more can be done by shipowners to enhance safety of life and property at sea?
Over the years, shipping has transformed and its regulatory compliance framework constantly expands. There are many variables that need to be aligned towards safety.
Shipping adopts best practices and enforces standards to sustain and promote safety in many ways, from lessons learned to application of pioneer concepts of design and emerging eco-friendly technologies to reduce the environmental footprint from maritime operations.
Within very turbulent and tight market conditions, it is important they sustain and keep a high level of care for their managed operated fleet, elevate awareness on their risk management approach, and work with their flag and classification organisations for early guidance on compliance with new regulations. Managing the ship’s operating condition and inventory properly, exercising prudent stewardship over crew performance and a collaborative attitude between ship operators and other key parties are essential contributing parameters towards safety.
Constant development of relationships and effective communication between shore and crew are also key, together with the optimal level of risk orientation and assurance that proper contingency plans are in place, communicated and readily enforced.
Several industry analysis have suggested that a key determinant related to marine accidents or operational errors is related to the human factor. Ultimately, it can be also said that shipping as an industry is founded upon the development of relationships and effective communication. Therefore the direct human element is always invaluable.
Another important area is getting ready in time for the compliance with new upcoming regulations. There is no doubt that the cost of compliance is constantly rising. However, there are two sides to every coin. Due consideration should be also given to possible commercial barriers a ship may face, from delayed compliance. Shipowners or operators should proactively assess non-compliance risks against the projected cost to achieve needed compliance, and hence prioritise actions to ensure that their ships conform to newly enforced standards and retain the highest level of operational capability.
Where do you see the Greek shipping industry in 5 years?
Despite the global negative developments the industry has faced, Greek shipping has demonstrated resiliency, forward thinking and dexterity while navigating a tough and challenged surrounding for the past years.
Notably, Greek-owned fleet accounts for almost 20% of world’s dwt and surpasses 46% of the total EU fleet.
With this in mind, I anticipate that Greek shipowners will continue to influence and lead the international maritime arena. They are known for their ability to deeply understand the market and take critical decisions in perfect timing which constitutes a great competitive advantage. Coupled with the fact that shipping activity is second nature for the Greek nation, Greek shipowners will remain early adopters of new technologies and regulations, so they stay ahead of the curve.
Please tell us more about the training & development of your professional and experience auditors:
The human element continues to be the most important contributing factor to INSB Class operations. Given the continuous development of the industry’s safety norms and technological evolvements, INSB Class remains committed for the continuous updating and training needs of its workforce the derives from the application of new codes, emerging standards as well as due to trends on new technologies and skills in demand.
INSB Class realises several training and collective assessment techniques throughout the year, both for its administrative and technical personnel. Our surveyors and auditors receive internal and onboard training while periodic refreshers are conducted to ensure that they stay abreast of new safety requirements and in support of their continuous professional development. A number of selective external training sessions as required, are another source of attaining knowledge and raising competence.
A valuable process which assist us evaluate and assess the surveyor’s-auditor’s performance and future training needs is also sourced by our dedicated quality procedure on surveyor’s-auditors activity monitoring. This is realised in a two-fold level and includes post evaluation of performed surveys as well as joint on board assessments (known as VCAs) during the realisation of a survey.
What role does technology play in the current marine arena?
In the quest for safety and optimisation, technological developments have always steered ship innovation, as it can be proven by the amount of research and new regulations enforced.
Currently there is a broad agenda of new global technological themes with a global focus such as environmental issues, hybrid sources of energy for ships, digitalisation, autonomous shipping, and even primary guidelines for remote inspection techniques by a number of larger classifications societies.
The updates on the Ship Construction File (SCF) under GBS regulations has been launched while new norms for the environmental disposal of ships and the required upgrade of infrastructure for recycling yards is trending. IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention kick started and remains a challenge for many owners worldwide.
Meantime, ship-shore communication remains a critical factor in ship operations. Big data and introduction of new technology into the traditional IT systems of many shipping companies remains a major trend and a challenge for the maritime transport sector. On one side there is a large amount of data, but what is important is how such data can be efficiently utilised to optimise operations, enhance coordination and boost knowledge sharing towards greater safety.
As a natural consequence, new ships are now becoming more digitally sophisticated and therefore more dependent on software-based control systems, equipped with a new generation of equipment with higher operational capabilities, which may promote smarter operations but also highlights the matter of cyber security.
Hence, technology remains a strong driving force and shapes the profile of the shipping industry, globally.
What is your most memorable shipping experience and favourite ship?
I have been in the industry for over 25 years now and I believe that the shifts and changes of the shipping industry of the last few years have been remarkable. We have all witness large ground-shaking transformations including crazy fluctuations in many shipping indexes, large scale alliances, depressed freights, overcapacity, and new technological trends up to autonomous ships. The new normal is here. This is a memorable experience.
As for my favourite ship, I will pick a great mega yacht, the O’PARI 3 (now named NATALINA A). Built by Golden Yachts in Greece at their Perama shipyard, she was delivered in 2015. With a custom design, 72 metres in length and beautiful exterior and interior design, she is a true gem.
Simon Doran, MD at GAC EnvironHull, Talks Hull Cleaning Services & Techniques, Marine Fouling, Research & Development And Autonomous ROVs
Simon Doran is Managing Director at GAC EnvironHull, a part of the GAC Group, a global provider of integrated shipping, logistics and marine
services. Simon leads the sub-sea division responsible for delivering a cutting-edge service by way of a safe, cost effective and environmentally friendly solution to counter one of the industries oldest problems - keeping vessels clean around the world!
How effective are your hull cleaning services and what is your competitive advantage?
In most cases, HullWiper can clean up to 96% of a vessel’s submerged areas. That makes it one of the most effective hull cleaning solutions available today. Our ROV doesn’t need to get out of the water when night falls, it doesn’t need a cup of coffee when it’s cold or a cold drink when it’s hot. It can operate 24/7 without any restrictions. Cleaning can be done while the vessel is alongside, during cargo operations or at anchorage, so it is a big time saver.
What techniques are used to ensure cleaning is eco-friendly?
HullWiper collects marine fouling removed from hulls, rather than releasing it into the sea which could pollute local waters and spread harmful species. Captured fouling and residues are pumped into a unit on the ROV that filters all of the marine growth removed from the vessel for safe, ecologically-approved disposal on land.
The shipping community continues to be surprised by how little fouling is left once filtered, compressed and all sea water is removed. We need to continue educating people, who are not marine biologists, about the actual mechanism at work that allows us to do what we do.
Onboard hull cleaning ROVs are autonomous and operated by the ship's crew. How complicated are they to use and what training is required?
It’s definitely not rocket science. Driving the ROV is relatively easy - today’s generation liken the experience to that of the Play Station and X-Box games they play or have played - but the maintenance requires a certain amount of technical aptitude.
What are your main market segments?
Presently our main markets are LNGs and any type of vessel calling at locations where traditional hull cleaning is prohibited. We appeal to all market segments but vessels that have the latest silicon coating benefit the most as our cleaning method is less aggressive than brushes, so coatings last longer.
GAC EnvironHull is present in many countries. Do you foresee the HullWiper network expanding further over the short / medium term?
HullWiper has steadily been expanding our footprint at strategic locations globally. We have permission to operate inside port waters in Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, United Arab Emirates and on an ad-hoc basis at other key locations in the Middle East. The Americas and Australasia are our two remaining frontiers where, from our chosen location, we aim to capture at least 65% of the global marine traffic for our type of service.
Please describe the importance of R&D:
After our customers, R&D is everything. We are continually looking at ways to improve, to become more efficient and how we can reduce costs to our principals. Without R&D things do not change, and change is essential in our industry. It improves efficiency and literally saves lives as well as plays a key role in protecting our delicate eco-systems.
What are the challenges ahead?
Our service is always compared to traditional methods of hull cleaning. It is like comparing apples to oranges – they are both fruit but they are fundamentally different. The biggest challenge we face is changing the industry’s perception and encouraging a “bigger, longer-term picture” perspective which looks beyond the dollar number on the quotation. There is so much more than just a number in what we do and value we deliver.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience and favourite ship?
As an ex RN Diver, I have many memorable experiences, from happy to sad to extraordinary. But my favourite ship is easy - the QE2. I did my first "commercial" diving job on her in Southampton over 20 years ago. I have been in Dubai nearly 19 years and I see her here almost every day, a now sad and lonely sight since she was retired in 2008 and now sits laid up alongside in Port Rashid, but nonetheless a very memorable ship.
Paul Holthus is the Founding President & CEO of the World Ocean Council (WOC), a non-profit organisation responsible for industry leadership and collaboration in ocean sustainable development, science and stewardship. Paul's experience ranges from working with the global industry associations or directors of UN agencies to working with fishermen in small island villages, and has been involved in coastal and marine resource sustainable development and conservation work in over 30 countries.
The benefit from information, analysis and intelligence on ocean industry challenges and the potential to shape the agenda, develop synergies, and create economies of scale in reducing risk and accessing opportunities. Related to this we have launched the Young Ocean Professionals initiative, which is bringing together the up and coming generation of ocean industry leaders from around the world to focus on sustainable development.
What would you say is a competitive advantage of WOC?
Our competitive advantage is, first, that the WOC is a unique, unprecedented high level and cross-sectoral forum for ocean sustainable development science and stewardship. Secondly, we facilitate the interaction of this collective, cross-sectoral ocean business community with other ocean industry stakeholders at the highest levels, e.g. at the UN, with the science community, with the environment NGO community. We are creating new and innovative ways to address sustainability challenges. For example, the WOC Ocean Investment Platform is bringing together investors with the maritime industry and the entrepreneurs who are developing technology solutions.
What three changes would you recommend in shipping that would help improve the marine environment?
The shipping industry is making considerable effort and progress in addressing its marine environmental footprint. Moving forward there are several areas where attention can well be focused.
What emerging issues are on the horizon over the next 12-18 months?
One of the key issues right now and in the next few years will be the development of a new legally binding instrument to expand the Law of the Sea to regulate the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). This agreement will have significant implications for shipping and other industries operating in international waters. For example, through the requirements for environmental impact assessments. The final round of preparatory discussions is taking place in 2017. The WOC has been providing the only consistent ocean industry presence in this process over the last many years, working closely with the International Chamber of Shipping.
In 2018, the draft treaty will be put to the UN General Assembly for formal negotiations. It is critical that the shipping industry engages in this process.
The WOC will continue to develop and lead a coalition of industry leadership companies and organisations in participating in the development of the new legally binding BBNJ agreement.
What is the Blue-Action project about?
The WOC has been selected as the only international business organisation to participate in the European project Blue-Action. The project aims to improve understanding of the processes and impacts of climate change in the Arctic and to construct better long-term forecast systems for the increasingly extreme weather of the Arctic and the wider northern hemisphere.
Blue-Action is a four-year research and innovations project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. It brings together 116 experts from 40 organisations in 17 countries on three continents working in academia, local authorities and industry. The project will be working to: improve long range forecast skill for hazardous weather and climate events, enhance the ocean predictive capacity in the Arctic and the northern hemisphere, quantify the impact of recent rapid changes in the Arctic on northern hemisphere climate and weather extremes, optimise observation of Arctic conditions and trends, reduce uncertainty in prediction, foster the capacity of key stakeholders to adapt and respond to climate change and boosting their economic growth and transfer knowledge to a wide range of interested key stakeholders.
What are the common challenges relating to Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)?
MSP is designed to create a framework for multiple use of marine areas, including uses that are associated with environment and conservation. However the MSP process is largely defined, driven and implemented by governments with a lot of input from the ocean environment and science community. It is critical that shipping and other ocean economic activities participate actively in the design of the MSP process where it is proposed and in the implementation of the planning. Without comprehensive industry input, the probability is reduced that MSP will result in an output and plans that integrate the current and future needs for responsible, critical economic activity in the ocean.
Please tell us more about the "Sustainable Ocean Summit 2017" scheduled to take place later this year?
Since 2010, the WOC Sustainable Ocean Summit (SOS) has been the unique gathering of the world’s ocean industries focused on sustainable development, science and stewardship of the global ocean. The international ocean business community will gather again this year to advance leadership and collaboration in developing industry-driven solutions to ocean sustainability challenges.
The SOS 2017 (Halifax, 29 Nov-1 Dec) will focus on ocean business community leadership in achieving the UN “Ocean” Sustainable Development Goal - SDG 14, develop business growth and investment opportunities in ocean sustainable development, and ensure continuity and follow through with the themes, discussions, and outputs from previous SOS events. The SOS 2017 theme recognises the growth of the ocean economy and its contribution to food, energy, transport, communications and other needs of society as part of the UN SDG process/Agenda 2030 and the role of the ocean business community over the next 15 years, and beyond, in ensuring ocean sustainable development.
Can you name a memorable shipping experience and your favourite ship?
I grew up on several navy bases mostly overseas, and have quite a few great memories running around the ships when they came into port at Subic Bay in the sixties. That being said, my favourite ship memory would also have to be when I was young and we sailed on the “SS Lurline” when we moved from Hawaii to California in the late sixties, and had a wonderful time on that trip.
Interview: Commodore Jim Scorer, Secretary-General, International Federation Of Shipmasters' Associations (IFSMA)
Commodore Jim Scorer is Secretary-General of the International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA). Established in 1974 to uphold International Standards of Professional Competence for Seafarers, IFSMA is a federation with a policy to ensure safe operational practices, preservation from human injury, protection of the marine environment and safety of life and property at sea. Jim's experience in the Royal Navy and at Trinity House has played an important role in shaping his current success at the forefront of IFSMA, where his main objective is to defend the interests of serving Shipmasters worldwide.
How has your experience helped you in your current role?
My time in the Royal Navy working with NATO provided good experience of working in an international arena and striving to gain consensus amongst different Nations, qualities which are much-needed for IFSMA’s role representing the interests of Shipmasters at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). I think that I bring a degree of strategic vision to IFSMA that I developed during my time in the Royal Navy and Trinity House and will help me take the organisation “to the next level” and improve IFSMA's ability to represent the views and professional interests of masters on the international stage.
What has been your most challenging moment?
My most challenging moment was when I was asked to go to Macedonia during the Balkans conflict to represent the Secretary-General of NATO as his Military Adviser to the Chief of the General Staff of the Macedonian Army and provide advice immediately prior to the implementation of Task Force Harvest which brought about the cessation of conflict on the borders between Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania.
The Federation is formed of around 11,000 Shipmasters from sixty countries. How do they benefit from their membership?
They benefit by sharing best practice and highlighting problems that they have conducting their business around the world so that their knowledge is harnessed by me, other members and IFSMA in an increasingly rapidly-changing environment. This will allow me and my staff to better represent them on the international stage at the IMO and ILO and other forums so that we can bring issues effecting shipmasters to the attention of the maritime world and influence change in international regulations and codes to their benefit. IFSMA Newsletter keeps them up to date on key maritime issues around the world and they get a full brief and debrief on the various committees I attend on their behalf at the IMO and ILO. They also have the opportunity to attend these international meetings with the Secretariat and represent IFSMA views and policies as subject matter experts on behalf of shipmasters. IFSMA is the only organisation dedicated to solely representing shipmasters on the international stage. I am currently in discussion with the insurance industry trying to develop an effective and affordable Shipmaster Protection Worldwide Policy for our members.
I am passionate about bringing change to regulations so that the shipmaster is not allowed to a routine part of watchkeeping rosters so that they are more available to undertake their mandated responsibilities and particularly in training and mentoring.
Criminalisation is an increasing issue in the maritime environment and I want to stop shipmasters from being used as scapegoats after accidents, and to develop an affordable and effective Shipmaster Legal Protection Scheme. There are thousands of shipmasters around the world who have no protection whatsoever often being employed on a voyage by voyage basis with no loyalty from shipowners and certainly not being covered by the shipowner’s insurance. The shipmaster is the one person in the firing line and the "who is to blame culture".
The operation of ships of the future is something IFSMA is getting actively involved in and influencing the shipmaster’s enduring role in their operation. I don't accept the argument that automation will destroy jobs in shipping, on the contrary, it may create new and better jobs. However, IFSMA needs to be leading the debate on the role of the shipmaster in future – both onboard and ashore – and the way in which smart ships are regulated and those who operate them are trained.
Safety management, used properly, can help shipmasters, raising awareness within the industry of the responsibilities required by the ISM Code. Shipowners will say that they meet their objectives, but it is a faint understanding and there are some who blatantly don’t do it or will find ways to get around it. The principles of safety management could also drive the removal of shipmasters from watchkeeping rosters, along with improved deck officer manning levels. What irritates me most is that if you look at the roles and responsibilities of the master, it is not even faintly possible for them to be able to do all that is required in the time allocated and within the hours of work and rest rules. There are so many instances of masters, on six-on/six-off in particular, where they infringe the regulations as a result of being called up to deal with emergencies or administrative tasks. Shipmasters are extremely hard-pressed as a result of the paperwork burden and it is an extraordinary situation as these demands have also adversely affected the traditional role of the shipmaster in overseeing the training and mentoring of crews. This has been particularly damaging at a time when the industry has cut crewing levels, moved to mixed-nationality crewing models and introduced continuously evolving and complex shipboard systems which vary even within the same fleet.
Public relations and communications are also pivotal to the future. IFSMA has got to be seen as the international voice for shipmasters, but for too long it has been under-resourced and we have never had the time to do the work that we need to do to be more proactive. I want to not only raise the profile of IFSMA but also to highlight the professionalism, skills and expertise of shipmasters. I also need to improve dialogue and information sharing between IFSMA and the shipmasters, and between shipmasters themselves, so that best practice is shared and knowledge harnessed in an increasingly rapidly-changing environment.
I hope I have managed to get this across in this new Strategic Plan. It is a short and punchy document which I hope is easily readable by the professional and uninitiated alike and gives a real road map for the future of IFSMA.
Technology plays an important role in today’s shipping industry however, do you foresee autonomous unmanned ships becoming a success?
I really do see this as an area which is exciting and of real interest to the young technology savvy mariner of the future. In most cases I see them being used in niche areas, like surveying and working closer inshore, but particularly in military applications. In the future, when the industry has managed to provide a compelling enough business case to interest the shipowner we will start to see a wider use, but this is many years away and there is an awful lot of work to be done at the IMO to get the regulations and codes changed so that these vessels are not only recognised, but also regulated properly so that they are able to operate in a mixed maritime environment with both manned and unmanned vessels. IFSMA is actively working in various working groups around the world influencing the proper and effective formulation of the necessary regulations and codes and will represent the best interests of shipmasters and other mariners as the debate commences this week at the IMO Maritime Safety Committee. This will filter down into all of the Committees and Sub Committees at the IMO and I will ensure that the shipmaster is represented robustly and effectively on all the relevant working groups.
In your view, what are the current and future challenges for international shipping?
The shipping industry is as volatile now as it ever has been and will continue to be into the future. With over 90% of the world's trade being moved by sea there will continue to be enormous demand for this efficient way of moving stuff around the world and shipowners will constantly strive to make efficiencies, in their eyes, or do it in the cheapest way they can bending the rules to what they can get away with.
Over capacity in the market will only exacerbate this and I suspect that we have not yet seen the last of consolidation in the container market with subsequent shipowner casualties. This has been a real issue for the decline in the North Sea gas resulting in a real crisis in the laying off of thousands of Norwegian mariners. Unless international regulations and codes are amended to properly look after the mariner, they will continue to be exploited as can be seen by the increase in criminalisation of the shipmaster and the real issue they have to endure with fatigue generated by the administrative burden and being forced into being part of bridge watchkeeping rosta, particularly the master/mate six-on/six-off system. It will become more difficult for the more educated and better trained mariners from the more developed nations to get jobs that will pay an effective wage as shipowners ply the world for the cheapest mariners they can find to man their vessels and this clearly has an impact on safety at sea where there are a plethora of incidents and casualties on an annual basis, many of which pass with us by and are not reported. The reduction of emissions and trying to improve the marine environment will be a long and arduous battle which the IMO are taking seriously but there is the ongoing battle of "cost" to the industry and technically difficult being another word for cost.
Please talk to us about the importance of training and development:
This is one of the reasons I want to try and get the shipmaster out of the watchkeeping rosta so that he or she can concentrate on doing mandated internationally legislated responsibilities and this includes the very important role of training and mentoring. This is becoming lost as shipmasters are working many hours in excess of those stipulated by the Marine Labour Convention and the lack of robust inspection by administrations around the world.
There is currently a buoyant black market in false documentation for mariner training certificates and until we get the administrations to be more demanding in their inspections required by international legislation, these dangerous practices will continue and increase the risks to mariners. Too often the emphasis to achieve the necessary training is put on the mariner to provide pay for their own as there is little loyalty to a stable and happy workforce by many shipowners.
What is your favourite ship and most memorable shipping experience?
I think it is when I had command of the surface warships ships based in Plymouth. I then had responsibility for 15 warships and 3,500 men and women. Whilst very demanding keeping me away from home for approximately 45 weeks of the year, it was extremely rewarding.
The core functions of the GMA are in respect of maritime safety, ship security, environmental protection, and the facilitation of international trade. For local applications, some of the above functions are carried out in conjunction with the Gibraltar Port Authority.
How has your experience prepared you for your role?
The role of Maritime Administrator was traditionally taken up a former marine surveyor in previous years, and had a predominately technical role. Over the last ten years, it has evolved into a more managerial position, with a greater demand on interpretation of international law and marketing.
I have been involved with maritime and environmental matters for more than eighteen years, including a secondment at the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency and academic qualifications from the IMO’s World Maritime University in Sweden. Over the years, I have accrued a knowledge and experience in public international law matters as well as the eccentricities of management in a public sector environment.
In your view, what are the main areas for growth over the coming years?
The market is flat overall due to an oversupply of vessels. Shipping is part of the logistics cluster and I can see advancements in technology (leading to newer, cleaner ships) and increases in demand for high-value technological goods. This means that there will be growth in transhipment of containers via shipping and other forms of transport. Once the global oil prices pick up, I also expect the demand for offshore supply vessels and accommodation units to do so in parallel in the next two or three years.
What is the British Red Ensign Group and how important is this for Gibraltar?
The Red Ensign Group (REG) is an association of thirteen British registries, all under the UK flag. Gibraltar is, in effect, a secondary registry of the UK. Nevertheless, all the registries have unique features and incentives to register. For instance, we specialise in the European market and more specifically with the short sea shipping trade, as well as tankers. Other REG partners have super yachts or passenger vessels forming the bulk of their portfolios.
The UK (British) flag is the eighth-largest in the world by tonnage. Gibraltar is a medium-sized registry within the group, with around 2.8 million GT and more than 1,200 ships and yachts. Our overall fleet has been growing by 2-3% every year.
By being a member of this association, the Gibraltar Ship Registry acts as an international gateway for maritime-related businesses both within the territory and external within the global market. Ship finance, crew management, legal services, yachting, insurance; these all bring benefits to the local economy and beyond.
Please talk to us about the concept of "Port State Control", and how this applies under the GMA:
Port State Control is an international regime, established by UNCLOS, which allows Party States to the Convention (in our case, Gibraltar on behalf of the UK) to verify the international safety, security and social standards of foreign-flagged ships engaging within our jurisdiction. The GMA acts as the UK representative in this respect and we inspect vessels on a daily basis in what is one of the world’s busiest anchorage ports.
What are the main challenges of the GMA?
Our vision is to have Gibraltar as a “centre of maritime excellence”. In order to do this, we are putting in place facilities and regulatory frameworks that allow the best fleet technical performance but be business friendly and accessible at the same time.
Finding the balance between upholding higher-than-required standards with continuing fleet growth is our main challenge. We do not want to be the most prestigious small registry in the world. Listening to our current and future clients is the key; we have a personal engagement with ship owners and other stakeholders.
How do you see “Brexit” affecting Gibraltar?
We do not know what the impact will be in the future. I can say that it is “business as usual” for the time being. Should the final “Brexit” package result in the Gibraltar Ship Registry losing its EU status, then we will have to adjust our package accordingly.
I can confirm that we are looking to diversify our portfolio anyway and exploring the possibility of a presence in other markets such as the Far East and North America.
What role does the GMA play in protecting the interests of Seafarers?
The most important component of a ship is the crew. The GMA works very closely with local and international stakeholders. For instance, we are a partner with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board in Gibraltar and are very active in assisting all seafarers within Gibraltar’s jurisdiction. Further afield, we have an excellent relationship with international seafarers’ trade unions and are a committed party to the Maritime Labour Convention; we have assisted with the repatriation and payment of crew on our ships. On the domestic side, we are proactive in managing our local cadet training programmes and other marine qualifications.
What is your memorable shipping experience and favourite ship?
I come from an administrative / legislative background, nevertheless, I have had a number of memorable experiences. Probably the highlight of which is attending IMO sessions as part of the UK delegation. It was a great honour to represent Gibraltar at such a level, meeting contemporaries from around the world, who share the same passion for the shipping industry and have the influence to change international policy in this regard.
I have seen and registered many ships over the last eighteen years. I will never forget the sight of the “Red Seagull”, a VLCC that was registered in Gibraltar many years back. With a deadweight of more than 400,000, she was certainly noticeable.
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Iñaki Echeverria is the Country Head of Höegh Autoliners (Spain), one of the preferred carriers for the auto-motive industry and other Ro/Ro segments in selected trade areas across the Mediterranean region and North Africa. Iñaki's experience in the shipping industry dates back over 20 years, and talks to us about his commitment to deliver a top quality service whilst maintaining operational efficiency in the competitive shipping environment.
Höegh Autoliners is one of the main players within the Ro/Ro shipping sector. What makes your proposition special?
Being the smallest of the majors allows us to be more Agile and Bold. Together with Professional, the three form the core of our company values, and create a foundation from which we work.
Being Agile is a competence that we recognise as increasingly important in our business. As trade patterns and vehicle production patterns shift faster than before, having an organisation that is able to quickly cater for the new market demands is vital for giving our customers the service they expect.
Another aspect that is important for us is to be close to our customers. This is why we have either own offices or dedicated agents in all countries where we have a regular service, such as Spain. This way our customers will have the best of two worlds; a local contact point with knowledge about local market requirements and with the strength of a global network.
What services have a higher demand and why?
Traditionally by volume, the shipment of finished light vehicles is of course number one, but we are seeing an increased demand for the shipment of High and Heavy cargoes, not only in the form of trucks, buses or agricultural and construction machinery, but specially more and more static and project cargoes either loose or on Mafi trailers.
The evolution in recent years of the PCC vessel, Pure Car Carrier, into PCTC, Pure Car and Truck Carrier, has allowed us to cover a wider range of High and Heavy cargo, in a moment where the rapid expansion and growth of the container services are pushing more and more conventional carriers out of the market.
For example, we have lately taken delivery of six newbuildings on the New Horizon design. This is a new generation of PCTCs with many technical advancements. With a refined design, the New Horizon vessels are the world’s largest PCTCs by capacity and they allow us to carry cargoes up to 6,5 m. of height and 12 m. of width. Furthermore, the ramp is capable of handling up to 375 tons.
New design, new choices of materials and technological advancements also makes the New Horizon vessels emit less CO2 per unit transported than traditional PCTCs.
What is your greatest achievement to-date?
We are proud to have placed the Höegh Autoliners name in the Mediterranean area. When we started the company in Spain in 2008, most of the moves in the area where inbound from East Asia for car manufacturers, at the time for example we were just calling at three Spanish ports and had three monthly export services. Today we call regularly to six ports in Spain and offer up to nine monthly export sailings from Spain and have extended to also offering export sailings from Italy, Turkey or Morocco.
The Höegh Autoliners name is no longer something that the car manufacturers know, it is now known throughout our area amongst all the transportation and logistics community.
All of them include interaction with different teams in the company, being also an opportunity for team building and to strengthen relations across countries/areas. A very significant training for all of us is the anti-corruption program, which is firmly embedded in our company culture. All of this is complemented by external training, as required.
In your opinion, what are the current and future challenges for international shipping?
Shipping has gone through a so called “commoditisation”, which has put freight rates under pressure over several years. With a current oversupply of vessels in the market and a weak global trade, the challenge in keeping rates at sustainable levels continues. However, this trend has also enabled us to review our processes and eliminate waste, as well as seeking new value propositions for our customers, so it is also driving change in the right direction.
Market prices can many times not support the businesses as they were, and we have to re-invent ourselves and streamline our operations to survive until the next day. In the global market we also see the winds of protectionism blowing and whether these will stick around and what the outcome of them will be is difficult to say, but there is no doubt they are making it more challenging than ever to make long term forecasts. Another development we expect are the increasingly strict emission and ballast water legislations that are due over the following years. In Höegh Autoliners we support international rules that pushes the industry to become more environmentally friendly but it will add considerable cost to operation in the years to come.
What role does "technology" have in your operations?
Technology is a must; modern shipping exists due it. Information technology is used in everything from vessel operation to controlling the millions of cargo moves that we make, and transcend into all daily activities.
Today we use technology even to decide which route our vessels follow in between two ports depending on the weather forecast, and technology ensures that our industry contributes to make international commerce sustainable by reducing CO2 or NOX emissions for example, but also by water treatment technologies which ensure we do not tamper with nature.
Your vessels are known for meeting the highest capacity standards and punctuality. How are your timetables planned and how do you ensure timekeeping?
We operate around 50 vessels worldwide at any given time across 12 global trades. Some of them are fixed in loop services, while others change from one to another service according to requirements.
When vessels arrive to the loading/discharge areas the Regional Operations departments, together with the resources at the local offices and our good agents at the different ports, work daily to ensure our schedule integrity.
Please talk to us about your memorable shipping experience and your favourite ship:
Well probably my first one my "shipping baptism". When I was 11 I was to travel to Great Britain during summer to learn and practice English at the home of one of my father's British col-leagues. I had the opportunity to fly, but was offered the alternative to go by ship and I chose that.
The Aljar was less than 50 m. long and had a GRT of less than 500 tons, the crew was composed by two bridge "officers", two deck hands, two engine room mates and the cook, and in that trip they further had a ship's boy onboard... me.
On the voyage to Rochester from Bilbao I was playing around as an "officer" passing my time and helping on the bridge, even standing guard as a lookout... but on the return trip I choose to be a deck hand, helping with scrapping, painting, lashing... everything... covered in dirt from head to toes. You should have seen the face of my mother when I entered the Port of Bilbao fore, giving a hand with the ropes¨, but you probably didn't want to see her face when she saw the state of my clothes when I returned...full of paint, grease stains, torn... most of it went straight to the trash rather than to the washing machine.
There are plenty of ships which I like but if I had to choose I would select a sailing boat. Cutty Sark comes immediately to mind, but if you can choose why not a big beautiful four-masted topsail, steel-hulled barquetine with a historic name "Juan Sebastian Elcano", the training ship of the Spanish Navy.
Basil Karatzas is the CEO of Karatzas Marine Advisors & Co., a well-established, international maritime consulting and shipping finance advisory firm headquartered in the Financial District in Manhattan. Basil provides worldwide shipping market expertise to financial institutions and is active in ship brokerage, financial advisory and private placements, vessel valuations and appraisals.
And as more banks are trying to exit the shipping industry, one sees more "paper" for sale than ships, that is shipping loans are being sold, institutional investors are entering this distressed market, and the physical asset, the ship, is almost an afterthought in the whole transaction.
How has the S&P market evolved over the years?
The typical shipowner used to be the self-made captain, a buccaneer, sometimes a pirate, of the industry. Such players have had tremendous knowledge of the market and the industry, in-house access to technical and commercial information, and for such owners, the S&P broker could only sniff out vessels for sale or purchase to be negotiated privately at best pricing. As more banks and lawyers and institutional investors are now responsible for shipping, the S&P broker has now to be rounded with knowledge of maritime and admiralty law, banking, financing, operations, etc. and have a better skill set for the new type of players in the market.
The S&P market has been evolving, and for better or worse, many shipbroking shops will not manage to stay afloat, especially if the markets remain weak for a prolonged period of time.
What have been the latest trends in vessel asset prices and how sustainable are these indicators throughout 2017?
Vessel prices are of course influenced by freight rates and availability of financing, but also from smaller, lighter factors such as momentum and expectations. In general, vessel prices are weak by historic standards for tankers, dry bulk, containerships and offshore assets. Sometimes certain mar-kets behave better than others, but again, they are all highly correlated. There is lots of interest and activity in the dry bulk market at present based on the freight rate improvement in the fall and the broad belief that the worst is behind us. Tanker prices have been softening based on concerns of a wave of newbuildings delivering from the shipyards this year as well as OPEC cutting production. The containership and offshore markets can be described as ‘disasters’ at present, small or large, depending on geography or one’s specific point of view.
In your opinion, what are the medium / long term challenges in the container freight market?
In general, there have been too many containerships and not enough cargo to keep them fully occupied. And, of course, the containership market is effectively several smaller markets by asset class and geography, with a great degree of ‘cascading’ and also risk for technological obsolesce; high speed / high consumption containerships cannot get a break and panamax sized containership have been heading to the beaches at ever younger ages; just in January this year, a seven-year old panamax broke the record of a nine-year old panamax sold for scrap in December.
When a liner company such as Hanjin, effectively a quasi-government company, fails spectacularly as they did last year, it’s a sign that the particular market segment is in a very tough spot. There is interest for smaller feeder ship vessels as they are considered a bit insulated from the broader market, and given that the outstanding orderbook is almost nil in this segment, some shipowners wish to believe in a hopeful market. At the other end of the spectrum, with the liner companies, it’s a game of going after market share and pushing out of the market the weaker hands. It will take some time for the dust to settle in this market.
The traditional financier of the shipping industry have been European banks. Do you expect this role to shift towards US or Asian financial institutions?
We are not sure who will fulfill the role of the primary financier for the shipping industry, but we doubt this will be done from the banks, whether Europe-, US- or Asia-based. For sure, the model of financing shipping assets and shipping companies has been changing drastically, and we expect this to have a massive impact on shipowners, especially the smaller, independent, private owners. When shipping banks were practicing the so-called “name lending”, shipowners didn't have to be financially sophisticated to get financing.
What are the current factors that determine market liquidity?
In short, shipowners have to have a credible business plan and can demonstrate a competitive advantage. “Buy now that ships are cheap” is not a business plan, and institutional investors have seen many variations on this theme.
The recently appointed Trump administration has indicated changes in regulation that may affect the industry. What can we expect?
It’s still too early to say at this stage, but no-one believes that the Jones Act market will not receive continued special attention. It’s a unique business model that has been working for the US market, and it will be hard to see drastic changes any time soon.
What is your view on alternative fuels and their practical implementation?
Alternative fuels including natural gas and low emissions fuels pose a real technological threat, and potentially a game changer, to the existing status quo in shipping. No doubt, a tighter regulatory environment is to be expected going forward, meaning that vessels will have to be retrofitted for low-emission fuels, resulting into a meaningful CapEx for the shipowners, at a time when they can least afford it (of course there are more regulations on different fronts as well).
However, we keep seeing several projects in this front seeking financing to make us feel hopeful that there can be a day when many ships will be powered by natural gas. For some, it may seem like a voyage back in time, when coal and the steam engine was replacing the tall ships.
Please tell us about your memorable shipping experience and your favourite ship:
Getting deals concluded and delivering value for our clients is the most rewarding experience we can imagine. A low freight market is cause for concern for many owners who seek financing; also, a low freight market is an opportunity for many shipowners to grow their fleets and business. We are fortunate being based in New York City with good access to the capital and financial markets, and we have been very busy and lucky.
However, the most memorable experiences are often associated with the ships themselves we have worked on and their shipping management and operations. Our most memorable experience has been the sale of a containership a couple of years ago; between the time the MOA was signed and the scheduled delivery of the vessel, it was discovered that several years prior to the sale, the vessel had grounded in South Africa on soft sand. As the vessel was pounded by the waves, the aft part of the hull was penetrated by a 150-year old cannon that was buried in the sand, likely to have come from a man-of-war, square-rigged warship. The transaction ended up closing as expected, but the incident provided another reminder that shipping is rich in tradition and history.
Tim Britton is CEO of Spinnaker, specialised in the leasing, sale of new and used containers for shipping and storage purposes. Tim talks to us about how Spinnaker has over 60 shipping depots strategically located around the world, satisfying the demand for containers at any point of the supply chain.
What does one have to be aware of when purchasing a container?
Containers, if manufactured correctly using quality suppliers and materials, will last for 13-15 years in maritime use and at least another 10 years in the secondary rental and storage markets. We use highly specialised quality control professionals to ensure what we buy and deliver that working life.
When we acquire used container portfolios we look at who initially built the containers and what quality management process was in place. We ultimately also inspect a statistically significant sample.
How important is regulation when purchasing and trading with containers?
The ISO regulations supported by the series approval via the major Classification Societies gives a strong global basis of regulation. We purchase from a few key manufacturing partners whose quality reputation we rely upon, CXIC and Singamas. As I said you don't get what you expect, you get what you inspect and we always do online physical inspections. We reject container floors more than any other single component and that is the reflection of how quality is not just meeting the base regulatory minimums.
What are the main challenges in the containerised freight market?
Vessel overcapacity is the biggest challenge to every participant in the container shipping market. While state owned shipyards continue to build ships at below cost, ship investors are incentivised to buy new ships, even at the expense of their prior investments.
The shipping lines have also shown lemming like passion for chasing freight rates over the cliff. If they continue to focus on filling vessels and not maximising voyage profitability the cycle will continue.
What type of container is most popular and why?
The 20’ standard dry box is the global workhorse for all raw material movements. 40’ hi-cube are used transpacific and on all major long haul routes for packaged and consumer goods that will cube out before they reach their maximum gross payload. 40’ standard height boxes are of less demand as they cost the same to move by train or truck as a 40’ hi-cube with 11% more space for cargo carrying.
We continue to see a race in the construction of megaships and TEU capacity. Do you expect this to continue?
I think we have finally seen the nadir of the megaships. I think the market currently for major east-west trades from Asia to Europe and the Americas is not growing at a pace that requires larger vessels. The US land side infrastructure already cannot cope with the full loads of the Maersk E-Class ships. The system is therefore limited by port-side handling ability for the megaships and so we see it being optimised around 12 - 14,000 TEU vessels, being large enough to offer economy of scale while offering port call flexibility.
Spinnaker has a good worldwide network. Do you have plans to enter new markets over the next five years?
We have been successfully growing our Asian network over the last 15 years and we continue to see more opportunity there than in say sub-Saharan Africa and South America. The Middle Eastern trades offer some interesting opportunities if Iran is allowed to continue its reentry into the global markets.
How complex is the recovery process of a container if affected by a company that has entered into receivership?
We have successfully recovered most of the 1,400 units we had on lease to Hanjin at its demise and we have just entered into an agreement to take over another 15,000 containers which banks had leased directly to Hanjin.
Please talk to us about your memorable shipping experience and your favourite ship:
My most pure fun shipping experience was probably organising a trial shipment of French table wine using flexitanks from Bordeaux to Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and then going to Reunion for a week to supervise the successful discharge. As a former US Lines Sales Rep the, at the time, record breaking 4,200 TEU so called jumbo “Econ" vessels that US Lines started their Round the World service under Malcolm McClean will always have a place in my heart. I think there are only two still sailing and one is the former American Nebraska, which was one of the last to enter service before the demise and bankruptcy in 1986. My first job after US Lines was working for a leasing company Trans Ocean Leasing, locating and negotiating the return of bank owned containers. 30 years later that experience has been very useful!
As an industry we seem to have not learned how to avoid over leveraging of vessels and shipping operations.
Øssur Hilduberg is the Head of the Danish Maritime Accident Investigation Board (DMAIB), an independent unit under the Danish Ministry of Business and Growth, responsible for investigating maritime accidents and accidents to seafarers. Øssur has a broad maritime and technical background combined with knowledge within safety science, giving us an interesting insight on his role and the process of initiating and leading maritime accident investigations.
After getting my certificates as master mariner and marine engineer I sailed with a variety of ship types (oil tankers, gas tankers, container ships and offshore supply ships). As it happens for many seafarers, I had children and went ashore to work for the maritime administration. I am still fascinated with the fishing industry and how fishermen manage to work under the harshest of circumstances where the ship only serves as a platform for the highly specialised work of deep sea fishing. Unfortunately, we investigate too many fatal accidents on fishing vessels.
What are your key responsibilities as Head of DMAIB?
Besides the administrative managerial tasks my key responsibility is to deliver accident investigation reports of a high quality in terms of providing credible explanations for why a given accident occurred. Maintaining the quality of the accident reports entails having a continuous focus on developing new and updated methods for collecting data and ensuring that the analysis is made on the basis of contemporary knowledge about risk and safety.
Maritime accident investigations are complex. What are the main challenges when initiating a case?
Accident investigations typically have three stages; collecting data, analysing data and report writing. However, these stages are integrated, as we do not have a full view on what data to collect before we decide how the analysis will be made. We are usually in the process of collecting data until the final report is ready for publication. Each stage of the investigation poses its own challenges.
When collecting data the main challenge is getting timely access to data from various sources such as the accident site, involved seafarers and back office personnel before they have a chance to talk to each other. In the stage of analysing accident data it takes quite a lot of training to avoid making some of the common analytical faults. For example, using counter-factual reasoning (the crew should have or could have done something), using hindsight biased data, using over-simplified linear accident models or more importantly only analysing data from the accident site and thereby overlooking the data collected from the back office. It is a common problem in accident investigation that the investigators are experienced seafarers who are biased towards other seafarers’ behaviour. This is typically seen when investigators are evaluating the behaviour of the seafarer involved in accidents which is not the intention of accident investigation.
Designing the report is always a challenge in terms of what data to present and what data to omit, having in mind that different accident reports have different target audiences with different needs, as relatives to seafarer or passengers who have perished, seafarers, shipping companies and authorities require different levels of detail on various subject matters. At DMAIB we are continuously discussing how to design the report so it makes sense for the reader.
Each investigation is different however, what is the average lead-time of an investigation?
The national regulation based on a EU directive states that the investigation should be concluded within twelve months. However, we typically publish a report within eight months after the accident depending on the complexity of the investigation. The factors that cause a delay to an investigation are not the collection of data and the analysis, but the consultation period were the involved parties are concerned about the content of the report. Furthermore, there can be bottleneck problems if we have several accidents occurring within a short time span. Nevertheless, we do our outmost to publish the report as quickly as possible because the involved organisations and individuals deserve to have the closure that an accident report can provide.
Fact finding methods and setting conclusions are crucial in any investigation. How does the industry learn from these results in order to help prevent future accidents?
At DMAIB we have found that the maritime industry is not particularly a homogenous group in terms of the level of knowledge and understanding about safety and risk mitigation. Therefore, we try to design the report so it makes sense for the organisations involved in the given accident. It is inherently difficult to address safety issues which are recognisable for the industry as a whole, because the organisations do not have the same concerns. However, we have made a safety report about the problems with proceduralization of marine safety which seemed to resonate with many different stake-holders within the industry. In the future, we intend to publish similar safety reports about general safety related subject areas, e.g. accountability management, just culture and near-miss data. These reports might be a better way of communicating the accumulated learning we get from accident investigations.
There are a number of problems areas and I will highlight three of them. Firstly, there is not a stable definition of what a “near-miss” is, which separates normal work problems with something which is reportable. The lack of a definition which can be operationalised creates a reporting practice which is driven by the ship trying to meet reporting demands, resulting in reports about everyday events with little potential for learning. Secondly, our investigations have shown that there is a clear under-reporting of events which we know will occur, in events such as near collisions and groundings, falling asleep on the watch, assembling engine parts wrong etc. These events are kept secret because of the lack of accountability management within shipping companies. Thereby, the reporting system gives a distorted image of the operation of the ship – hiding the structural problems that nobody is talking about. Thirdly, the idea that near-misses are precursors of serious accidents can be brought into question. That near-misses have a predictive value is an idea which largely is derived from the work of Herbert Heinrich which was published in 1929. Since then knowledge about safety has evolved about how accidents occur (that causal factors for low probability/high consequence events are rarely represented in the analytical data on incidents that occur frequently) i.e. there is no common causal link between reported incidents and very serious accidents.
What advice would you provide those at sea about the compliance of SOLAS regulation?
As a bureaucrat I am reluctant to give advice to seafarers on subject matters they are experts on. There is a tendency that seafarers that go ashore to work for various organisations and authorities believe that experience is like wine – which gets better the older it is. I am not an expert on how to govern a ship, but I am an expert on how to investigate accidents. In my experience as investigator, I have found that seafarers are not that interested in SOLAS or any of the other conventions, because they are busy with other more im-portant and pressing matters on the ship. One should also note that in reality most shipmasters are working in an environment of distributed authority – between the charterer, the ship management organisation, and the owners. In the continuous communication with the shore-based technical and commercial management, the master is subjected to other forms of authority that challenge the shipmaster’s legitimised authority on board. In reality most shipmasters have a diminishing command of the ship and its resources. Compliance with the conventions is no longer a matter for the shipmaster to decide on, but an administrative back office concern in technical departments.
Many initiating a maritime career aspire to be master mariners. Do you feel trainees are fully aware of the responsibilities and skills required for this role?
I am very positive about the trainees that I meet in various lectures and during investigations. They are embracing the new technology and have genuine interest in how it works and what the weaknesses are – they are being trained for the increasing complexity of ships. The trainees are therefore better prepared to the reality of modern shipping than the more senior officers. More importantly, I find that they are more pragmatic about the life at sea and some use it as a stepping stone for doing something else later in their professional life. These changes are not necessarily welcomed by the most senior officers and some resistance or scepticism can be expected. Learning the skills and getting the sense of responsibility is primarily a task for the shipping companies and the on board crew. Their attitude towards training is vital for the success of having qualified junior officers.
Editor, Marine Strategy
The Editor is not responsible for the opinions expressed by Interviewees.
Interviews are pre-approved by the Interviewee before public release.