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Fatal accident of a crew struck by a portable gangway

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When a Hong Kong registered chemical tanker was at berth, the vessel’s portable gangway (the gangway) was placed between the main deck of the vessel and the berth as access. Before departure, when the gangway was being lifted back on board by the vessel’s crane, it struck at the chief officer. The chief officer went ashore for medical treatment, but he refused the doctor’s advice of hospitalization. He returned to the vessel and was declared dead on board later. This Note draws the attention of shipowners, ship managers, ship operators, masters, officers and crew to the lessons learnt from this accident.

The Incident

1. When a Hong Kong registered chemical tanker was berthed at Kuala Tanjung, Indonesia, the vessel’s portable gangway (the gangway) was placed between the main deck and the berth as access. By using the vessel’s crane, the chief officer led a team of deck ratings to lift the gangway back on board before departure from the berth. While the chief officer was investigating the cause that made the gangway got stuck with the vessel’s railing, the gangway suddenly moved and struck at him. The master conducted a visual body check for the chief officer and instructed him to take a rest. The vessel departed the port as per her schedule. The chief officer visited a doctor when the vessel arrived at Pelintung, Indonesia on the next day, but he refused the doctor’s advice of hospitalization. The chief officer returned to the vessel and was declared dead on board later.

2. The investigation revealed that the contributing factors to the accident are as follows:

  1. (a)  as the crane, limited by the arm span, could not reach the gangway’s centre point, the gangway was lifted under an asymmetrical centre line of hoisting thus causing the gangway being subjected to an inboard pulling force when lifted. As a result, the hooks at the end of the gangway were stuck with the vessel’s railing. When the hooks were suddenly freed from the railing, the gangway slid inboard in an uncontrolled manner. The uncontrolled gangway struck the chief officer who was standing at a spot within the danger zone of the gangway’s moving path; and
  2. (b)  the deployment of four guard ropes failed to withhold the sudden inboard swing of the gangway. The risk assessment and the work plan prepared before the gangway lifting operation had not been done properly.

3. A safety issue was also observed in the accident. Seafarers should always consider accepting a doctor’s advice when attending medical treatments. The chief officer might save his own life if he decided to stay in the hospital as advised by the local doctor.

Lessons Learnt

In order to avoid recurrence of a similar accident in future, masters, officers and crew should:

  1. (a)  conduct a proper risk assessment for lifting heavy objects. During lifting operation, no person should stand in the danger zone. Lifting operation under an asymmetrical centre of the lift should be avoided as far as practicable;
  2. (b)  check the medical report of an injured person to confirm whether he/she is still fit for duties/sailing on board; and
  3. (c)  consider duly and accept the doctor’s advice when attending medical treatments.

4. The attention of shipowners, ship managers, ship operators, masters, officers and crew is drawn to the lessons learnt above.

 

Why do ships use ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ and not ‘left’ or ‘right’

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As port and starboard never change, they are unambiguous references that are independent of a mariner’s orientation, and, as a result, mariners use these nautical terms instead of left and right to avoid confusion.

Have you ever wondered why sailors use the terms ‘port’ and ‘starboard’, instead of left and right side on ships?

In the past, ships used to have rudders on their centre line and they were controlled using a steering oar. As it is the case today, back then as well the majority of the people were right handed.

Thus, as most of the sailors were right handed, the steering oar used to control the ship was located over or through the right side of the stern.

For this reason, most of the seafarers were calling the right side as the ‘steering side’, which later was known as ‘starboard’.

The word ‘starboard’ is the combination of two old words: stéor (meaning ‘steer’) and bord (meaning ‘the side of a boat’).

The left side is called ‘port’ because ships with steerboards or star boards would dock at ports on the opposite side of the steerboard or star.

As the right side was the steerboard side or star board side, the left side was the port side. This was decide so that the dock would not interfere with operating the steerboard or star.

Another reason why the left side is ‘port’ is because it sounds different from ‘starboard’. Originally, sailors were calling the left side ‘larboard’, which was easily confused with ‘starboard’, especially when challenging conditions at sea made it difficult to hear. The switch was done to lead to a distinctive alternate name.

Namely, the old English name for the port side sounded like ‘backboard’. On big vessels, the sailor using the steering would have his back facing the ship’s left side.

As a result, ‘backboard’was named ‘laddebord’, which is the loading side of the ship. Later, ‘laddebord’ became ‘larboard’, causing the confusion that led to change to port.

This is why ships are using the terms ‘port’ and ‘starboard’, as they are unambiguous references that are independent of a mariner’s orientation.

With these terms, seafarers remove ambiguity, and they prefer them over using the terms left and right.

Up to 6% of the Global Fleet Will Use Scrubbers By End of 2020 to Comply with IMO 2020

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Environmental regulation is closing in on shipping

A few months from now, the new regulations by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will take effect. Current sulphur exhaust is capped by the IMO at 3.5% of total exhaust by ships in most of the open seas, and 0.1% in the so-called Emission Control Areas (ECA’s) along the EU and US coasts. From 1 January 2020, the maximum share of sulphur exhaust is no longer allowed to be higher than 0.5%.

For shipping companies, the three most viable options to reduce their sulphur exhaust to 0.5% are: switching to ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO); fitting an exhaust scrubber (a device that washes the exhaust gasses) or a switch to Liquid Natural Gas (LNG).

To ensure compliance it will be illegal for ships that are not fitted with scrubbers to have high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) on board from 1 March 2020 onwards. The IMO is part of the United Nations and has no authority to enforce the new guidelines itself. Enforcement is delegated to national governments via annex VI of the MARPOL agreement of 1973. Till now, 59 countries have ratified this annex. Enforcement relies on these countries and is likely to be ensured by port authorities via Port State Control Inspections (PSCI’s).

Smaller ports of countries that do not have the capacity or have not ratified annex VI, may not enforce the new regulations. In particular, ports along regional shipping routes between smaller countries may lack enforcement. Therefore, shippers along these routes have an incentive for non-compliance. Industry experts said that the expectation for non-compliance is about 10% of all shipping movements.

How to comply with the new rules

1. Ultra-low sulphur fuel oils (ULSFO)
To meet the current restrictions, the majority of the shippers will switch to burning (ultra-) ultra-low sulphur fuel oils (after this ULSFO). Most ships already have a separate fuel tank and already burn (0.1% compliant) ULSFO when entering the ECA’s along the European and US coasts. The ports along these coasts facilitate ULSFO bunkering. But it remains a question of how much refiner capacity is available to facilitate the mass transition to ULSFO.
Also, the different ULSFO types are not necessarily compatible. Even the same type of fuel from the same refiner but bunkered in two different locations may be incompatible. This means that a fuel tank should be more or less empty before a different ULSFO is bunkered. This requires more extensive fuel planning by engine technicians and shippers in comparison to traditional high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO).

If low sulphur fuel is unavailable in a port, vessels can get a waiver and are allowed to bunker high sulphur fuels (HSFO). However, this is also quite costly for shippers as they will need to unbunker the high sulphur fuel and clean fuel tanks at the first next port that offers bunkering of low sulphur fuels.

2. Scrubbers
The second option for compliance is fitting ships with so-called exhaust scrubbers. An exhaust scrubber is a device that cleans exhaust gasses with water. Ships with scrubber installations are allowed to run on HFSO under the new regulations. This means that they can benefit from the lower price of HSFO.

Most common are open-loop scrubbers that wash the exhaust with seawater and dispose of the wastewater after some cleaning back in the sea. This reduces the amount of chemicals to be disposed of onshore. Alternatively, there are closed-loop scrubbers that store the scrubbing waste on board. In addition, there are also hybrid scrubbers that can do both.

Closed-loop scrubbers require ship owners to dispose of the exhaust waste, which is difficult and costly. However, open-loop scrubbers are a source of environmental concerns. The chemicals and exhaust waste washed into the sea are reasons for large ports to prohibit the use of scrubbers in their waters. In addition, there are concerns about a possible future prohibition of open-loop scrubbers by the IMO. Although industry experts say that any regulation by the IMO will only target new scrubber installations and not existing ones, considerable uncertainty remains as to how long scrubbers will be allowed. This is especially the case given the IMO 2050 cut in carbon exhaust to 50% of 2008 levels.

3. Liquid Natural Gas (LNG)
LNG is a particular type of ULSFO. Switching to LNG requires a more intensive and costly conversion process compared to the other solutions. It requires a modification of the engine that may not be possible for every ship that is not LNG-ready. In addition, LNG bunkering infrastructure is lacking and unavailable in most ports. Therefore, a backup fuel tank needs to be present. The installation of a separate gas tank means that, often, transport capacity will be lost and that the ship, likely, will need to be rebalanced. This is a costly process to keep a ship idle for a while. On a large scale, LNG only seems a viable consideration for new-build ships. New ships will face the problem that few ports offer LNG bunkering infrastructure. LNG is environmentally the cleanest option, as carbon exhaust is about 20% less than with traditional fuels. Despite being momentarily the cleanest solution, LNG is not compatible with the IMO 2050 carbon cut of 50%.

The costs of ultra-low sulphur fuel oil (ULSFO)

In the months up to the imposition of the new sulphur limit, most ships will switch to burning ULSFO. After this switch, it will still take a couple of months before the sulphur exhaust by ships decreases to 0.5%. This is because it takes a while before the remains of high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) in the tanks wash away. Switching too late to ULSFO will mean that shippers will need to have the fuel tank cleaned to meet the rules by 1 January, which is a costly process.

The cheapest option for compliant fuel will be 0.5% compliant ULSFO blends. Unfortunately, there are currently no reliable market forward rates[1] for these fuels yet. Therefore, we look at the forward rate of 0.1% compliant Marine Gas Oil (MGO), which is more expensive. Currently, 0.5% compliant ULSFO is trading US$90 per ton cheaper than 0.1% compliant MGO. Therefore, we assume that the spread between the forward rates of 0.5% compliant ULSFO and HSFO would be up to US$100 less than the forward spread between ULSFO and MGO.

We expect that the price difference between MGO and 0.5% compliant ULSFO will initially become smaller as demand for 0.5% fuel oil will be higher since this is the cheapest option. As supply catches up with demand, the price difference will slide back to what we observe currently. Our estimated bandwidth for the 0.5% ULSFO – HSFO price spread is US$165 to US$300.

In anticipation of the regulation, most ships will switch to ULSFO in the last quarter of 2019. This is reflected in the steep widening of the price spread between the prices of low sulphur fuels and high sulphur fuel (Figure 1). On one hand, higher demand for ULSFO oils will push up its price. On the other hand, lower demand for HSFO will lead to lower prices of heavy fuels. In particular, because HSFO is a residual product with limited options for other use.

In the medium term, the price difference is expected to narrow again (Figure 1). As refineries are adjusting their supply to the increased demand, prices of ULSFO are expected to decrease a bit. On the other hand, as more refineries upgrade cracking capabilities (the ability to further refine HSFO), demand and prices of HSFO are expected to rise again.

Figure 1: Expected price difference in high sulfur fuels and IMO 2020 complaint fuels

How will the industry cope with higher fuel prices

It is expected that most container shippers will try to pass through the higher fuel costs to their clients. Depending on ship type and route, the increase in freight rates is expected to be up to 25% (see Annex ii). However, due to overcapacity, the use of scrubbers and competition, the increase may be less. Another way shippers could deal with higher fuel prices is by reducing speed. Since fuel consumption is an exponential function of speed, shippers will be able to cut their fuel bills considerably by reducing speed. Depending on the extent to which this may occur, reducing speed potentially reduces shipping capacity as well as the supply of containers.

Scrubber Economics

Scrubber installations allow the shipowner/operators to surf the spread between low and ULSFOs. The spread between the two types of fuel can be considered as the gross-income of investing in a scrubber. The larger the price difference between ULSFO and HSFO, the more attractive scrubbers are.

The investment appraisal of a scrubber

The most important costs associated with scrubbers are:

  • Investment costs, which are the costs of fitting the scrubber and the opportunity costs of the ship being idle during the installation works.
  • Operating costs that are made up of additional fuel use to power the scrubber, maintenance costs, the costs of disposing of waste chemicals, and financing costs.

On the basis of this information a net present value (NPV)[1] of the investment in a scrubber can be computed for different ship types and a rough comparison can be made. The NPV of a scrubber varies with the spread between HSFO and ULSFO and per ship type.

We computed an expected NPV, using a bandwidth for the expected average fuel spread between HSFO and 0.5% compliant ULSFO of US$150 to US$300.

Box i :Objections to scrubbers
– Environmental concerns: Open-loop scrubbers wash exhaust gasses with seawater. Although the emitted sulphur may not be blasted into the air, it raises concerns about wastewater discharged in the seas. As of now, the environmental effects of open-loop scrubbers are not clear and more scientific studies are needed on the effects.– Inefficiency and higher CO2 emissions: Scrubbing is argued to be an inefficient industry model. Instead of removing sulphur at the refinery stage with all the scale benefits, individual ships will be converted into small factories that isolate the sulphur. Since the desulphurization process is taking place less efficiently, the CO2 footprint of a ship fitted with a scrubber increases.

Figure 2: NPV for large vessels (five year investment horizon)

For the NPV we assume a Weighted Average Cost of Capital (WACC) of 8.08%[1], a five-year project horizon and no rest value or further use of the scrubber beyond that term. We find a NPV of US$5 million to US$20 million for the investment in scrubbers for larger ship types (Figure 2). Large ships can achieve a positive NPV investment within the first 2 years with a spread above US$150 and within the first 4 years with a spread above US$100.

Figure 3: NPV for small vessels (five year investment horizon)

For smaller ships, the NPV’s are considerably lower. For most Panamax vessels and smaller, the NPV varies between -US$1 million and US$5 million. Small tankers and small container vessels only have positive NPV from a spread of US$185. If the spread were to be lower, there is the risk of a negative NPV for these ships over a planning horizon of five years. For Small dry bulk carriers, the NPV is negative for the majority of the expected spread. Role on and Role off (Ro-Ro) vessels and other small ships show a negative NPV for any given spread (Figure 3).

If we assume a longer life span of scrubbers we can easily get higher values for the NPV. Figure 4 shows that with a life span of 15 years scrubbers on smaller ship sizes become economically viable for lower spreads. However, there are two major uncertainties: It is unknown how the spread between HSFO and ULSFOs will develop and the uncertainty increases significantly with time. It can very well be that the spread between high and ULSFO becomes smaller over time due to new innovations by refineries. The second major uncertainty is future regulation that restricts the use of scrubbers. Although it has been said that new IMO regulations will not affect the use of existing scrubbers, there are no guarantees. Especially since attention for environmental standards and climate change is growing globally.

Figure 4: NPV of all vessels (planning horizon of 15 years)

Adoption of scrubbers

Figure 2 and Figure 4 show that especially for large ships, scrubbers are a yielding investment. If the spread remains between the US$150 and US$300, most Panamax size vessels and larger will install scrubbers (Panamax size vessels include container ships larger than 5K TEU and comparable tankers). Due to the uncertainty about the fuel spread between compliant fuel and ULSFOs, purchases of scrubbers are expected to remain limited for the smallest ship sizes.

If the spread remains high, more ships may invest in scrubbers. This fuels demand for HFSO and thereby reduces the price differential between ULSFO and HFSO.

Despite high returns, not all large vessels are switching to scrubbers at 1 January 2020. This is partly rooted in the wait-and-see mentality of the industry, the objections discussed in Box I and dry dock planning. But also at play, is the lack of capacity to install scrubbers. Even if shippers are willing to invest in scrubbers, there is a waiting list at the major suppliers. Some shippers will first switch to ULSFO before installing a scrubber later in 2020 or thereafter. Therefore, the use of scrubbers will continue to increase after 1 January 2020.

Box ii: Which side of a charter contract will reap the scrubbers’ profits?
Where ship owners charter-out ships with scrubbers to other parties, the question arises: who will reap the benefits from the scrubber installation? The answer to this will depend on the specific location and term for when the ship is chartered. If charterers can choose from multiple vessels with scrubbers from different owners for a particular location and term, some competition will arise. Competition between the shippers will drive down the charter rates of ships with scrubber installation below those of ships without scrubbers. For small ships, we expect that only a small share of the world’s fleet will be fitted with scrubbers. Therefore, competition between scrubber-fitted vessels (from different owners), will remain limited for smaller ships. This means that most of the time the ship owner will profit from the scrubber. However, for the large ship types, competition may drive down prices on some occasions.

Currently, the number of scrubbers on order is somewhere around 600 units and 3,500 scrubbers have already been installed. The view of analysts is that over 4,000 scrubbers will be installed by January 2020, which is approximately 11% of the global fleet by tonnage and 4.5% by vessel count. This is expected to increase to 15% of the global fleet by weight towards the end of 2020 (over 6% by vessel count). Following from the NPV analysis adoption will be the highest among the largest ship types.

All in all, on scrubbers can be a lucrative investment (also beyond 2020) if they are fitted on large vessels. Smaller vessels may be better off switching to ULSFO. Despite being a lucrative investment compared to having to switch to low sulphur fuels, scrubbers still imply a higher fuel bill, relative to the current situation. All else equal, this would also mean that vessels with scrubbers may sail at lower speeds to limit the rise in fuel costs.

The environmental road ahead – the next big thing

The IMO 2020 sulphur cap is a major step in improving the air quality of exhaust gasses. This has far-reaching implications for the industry as we have seen. From 2020 onwards, however, the focus in shipping will shift towards climate action. In 2018 member countries within the IMO agreed to cut carbon emissions by 50% in 2050 versus 2008. Although shipping lags other sectors in this goal-setting, this will even be much more challenging.

Maersk, one of the leading shipping companies, has the ambition to move even faster to catch up with the Paris climate goals. Currently, no realistic techniques are available yet to meet the IMO 2050 regulations. Improving fuel efficiency and ship design have potential and will be the first focus. Transition fuel blends of biofuel and LNG will probably be the next call. Finally, future replacement options might be: synthetic fuels, methanol and hydrogen. However, these options require a lot of research and innovation before they become technically and economically viable. Depending on the dominant solution, this will also require substantial investments in different ship configurations.

For the medium term, scrubbers can be a lucrative investment if they are fitted on larger vessels. Smaller vessels (smaller than Panamax) may be better off switching to ULSFO. The increased fuel bill resulting from the transition to scrubbers or ULSFO will drive up transport prices. However, shippers may reduce shipping speed in order to limit the price increase and save fuel costs. If this would happen on a large scale, this potentially restricts the shipping capacity of the world’s fleet.

Annexes

Annex i.a: Assumptions for different ship types used in NPV calculation.

Annex i.b: Formula NPV calculation

Annex ii. Increase in transport costs

 

A price increase of up to 25% is a rough estimate. Assuming that a container ship caries about 12,000TEU from Shanghai to Rotterdam, being on route for 30 days, burning 400ton fuel per day. The extra fuel bill is approximately US$250 per container (assuming a spread of US$250, 400t*US$250*30days = US$ 3,000,000, 3,000,000/12,000teu = US$250). Assuming the price of shipping 20ft container from Shanghai to Rotterdam is about US$1000 per TEU, the increase in freight costs would be about 25% if the full price is fully billed to clients. Fuel consumption of 400ton per day on cruising speeds are common, but new, more energy-efficient vessels, are able to burn half or even less than half the fuel. These ships would also see halve the extra full costs per container.

Assumptions about fuel economy are taken from Transportation, Environment, and Society.

ISO releases much-anticipated IMO 2020 compliant fuel specification

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ISO informed that it has published the ‘ISO/PAS 23263:2019 Petroleum products — Fuels (class F) — Considerations for fuel suppliers and users regarding marine fuel quality in view of the implementation of maximum 0,50 % sulphur in 2020’.

The document addresses quality considerations that apply to marine fuels ahead of the implementation of maximum 0,50 mass % sulphur in 2020 and the range of marine fuels that will be placed on the market in response to the international statutory requirements to reduce exhaust gas emissions.

It also defines general requirements that apply to all 0,50 mass % sulphur fuels and confirms the applicability of ISO 8217 for those fuels.

In addition, it gives technical considerations which might apply to certain fuels for the following characteristics:

  • Kinematic viscosity;
  • Cold flow properties;
  • Stability;
  • Ignition characteristics;
  • Catalyst fines.

Moreover, it provides considerations regarding the compatibility between fuels and additional information on ISO 8217:2017, Annex B.

Commenting on the development, IBIA said that it has been getting several queries about when ISO specifications for fuels meeting the 0.50% sulphur limit will be available. It explained that:

  • Existing ISO 8217 specifications will still apply;
  • The Publicly Available Specification (PAS 23263) from ISO would not introduce any new specifications but rather help explain how ISO 8217 will continue to apply.

What is more, IBIA notes that there are no new specifications for 0.50% sulphur fuels. They can still be sold under existing ISO 8217 specifications, preferably the latest edition, ISO 8217:2017, as this includes some extra reporting requirements on cold flow properties for some distillate fuels.

“Fuels with maximum 0.50% sulphur will still need to meet ISO 8217 specifications, and they can still be classified in accordance with Table 1 for distillate marine (DM) fuels or Table 2 for residual marine (RM) fuels, which define the maximum, and some minimum, parameters limits for a number of fuel grades (specifications)”

However, it may be that instead of using RMG 380, which is the most commonly used ISO 8217 specification for RM fuels currently, many of the fuels expected to be available would be better described by using other RM specifications in Table 2 of ISO 8217, such as RMA 10, RMB 30, RMD 80 or RME/RMG 180. This is because many will have lower viscosity than the typical high sulphur fuel oils (HSFOs) sold today.

As for distillate fuels, IBIA says that there could be more DMB-grade fuels returning to the market. Today, the majority of distillates are sold as DMA-grade gasoil meeting a 0.10% sulphur limit, as this is the grade most ships use to meet the legal requirement in emission control areas (ECAs) and at berth in EU ports.

Finally, fuel testing agencies have already tested thousands of samples of VLSFO produced to meet the 0.50% sulphur limit, reporting significant variations in viscosity and density. Viscosity in the tested samples typically ranges from 30 cSt to 380 cSt. A few samples have been less or above that range, with lows of 6-7 and highs of up to 500 cSt reported, but they are rare. As for density, it has been seen in a range of 850 to almost 998, with most more than 900 kg/m3.

What is AIS (Automatic Identification System ) ??

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The world of AIS (or Automatic Identification System) can often be a confusing one to delve into, with many questions arising such as “what is AIS?”, “why do I need it?”, and “what type of AIS does my ship actually need or have?”

Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automated tracking system that displays other vessels in the vicinity. It is a broadcast transponder system which operates in the VHF mobile maritime band. Your own ship also shows on the screens of other vessels in the vicinity, provided your vessel is fitted with AIS. If AIS is not fitted or not switched on, there is no exchange of information on ships via AIS. The AIS onboard must be switched on at all times unless the Master deems that it must be turned off for security reasons or anything else. The working mode of AIS is continuous and autonomous.

Why is AIS provided?

It is fitted on ships for identification of ships and navigational marks. However, it is only an aid to navigation and should not be used for collision avoidance. Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) ashore use AIS to identify, locate and monitor vessels. The Panama Canal uses the AIS as well to provide information about rain along the canal as well as wind in the locks.

SOLAS Requirements

The IMO Convention for the Safety Of Life At Sea (SOLAS) Regulation V/19.2.4 requires all vessels of 300 GT and above engaged on international voyages and all passenger ships irrespective of size to carry AIS onboard.

AIS Types

  1. Class A: Mandated for all vessels 300 GT and above engaged on international voyages as well as all passenger ships
  2. Class B: Provides limited functionality and intended for non SOLAS vessels. Primarily used for vessels such as pleasure crafts

AIS operates principally on two dedicated frequencies or VHF channels:

  • AIS 1: Works on 161.975 MHz- Channel 87B (Simplex, for ship to ship)
  • AIS 2: 162.025 MHz- Channel 88B (Duplex for ship to shore)

It uses Self Organizing Time Division Multiple Access (STDMA) technology to meet the high broadcast rate. This frequency has a limitation of line of sight which is about 40 miles or so.

Working

How does AIS work exactly? How do we obtain all this data?

Originally, AIS was used terrestrially, meaning the signal was sent from the boat to land, and had a range of roughly 20 miles (also taking into account the curvature of the earth). As ships began sailing further and further away from land, they began sending the signal to low orbit satellites, which then relayed information back to land. This meant ships could sail as far as they like, and we’d always have peace of mind knowing exactly where they are, and how they’re doing.

The AIS system consists of one VHF transmitter, two VHF TDMA receivers, one VHF DSC receiver, and a standard marine electronic communications link to shipboard display and sensor systems. Position and timing information is normally derived from an integral or external GPS receiver. Other information broadcast by the AIS is electronically obtained from shipboard equipment through standard marine data connections.

Although only one channel is necessary, each station transmits and receives over two radio channels to avoid interference and to avoid communication loss from ships. A position report from one AIS station fits into one of 2250 time slots established every 60 seconds. AIS stations continuously synchronize themselves to each other, to avoid overlap of slot transmissions.

It’s pretty easy to install as well, as AIS is generally integrated with ship bridge systems or multifunctional display, but installing a standalone system is as straightforward as plugging in a couple of cables and switching on the plug.

Data Transmitted

1. Static Information (Every 6 minutes and on request):

  • MMSI number
  • IMO number
  • Name and Call Sign
  • Length and Beam
  • Type of ship
  • Location of position fixing antenna

2. Dynamic Information (Depends on speed and course alteration)

  • Ship’s position with accuracy indication
  • Position time stamp (in UTC)
  • Course Over Ground (COG)

3. Voyage Related Information (Every 6 minutes, when data is amended, or on request)

  • Ship’s draught
  • Type of cargo
  • Destination and ETA
  • Route plan (Waypoints)

4. Short safety related messages

  • Free format text message addressed to one or many destinations or to all stations in the area. This content could be such as buoy missing, ice berg sighting etc

AIS as a surveillance tool

In coastal waters, shore side authorities may establish automated AIS stations to monitor the movement of vessels through the area. Coast stations can also use the AIS channels for shore to ship transmissions, to send information on tides, NTMs and located weather conditions. Coastal stations may use the AIS to monitor the movement of hazardous cargoes and control commercial fishing operations in their waters. AIS may also be used for SAR operations enabling SAR authorities to use AIS information to assess the availability of other vessels in the vicinity of the incident.

AIS as an aid to collision avoidance

AIS contributes significantly to the safety of navigation. All the information that is transmitted and received enhances the effectiveness of navigation and can greatly improve the situational awareness and the decision making process. As an assistant to the OOW, the tracking and monitoring of targets by the AIS as well as determining information on the CPA and TCPA adds great value to the safety of navigation overall. However, the user should not solely rely on the information from the AIS for collision avoidance. AIS is only an additional source of information for the OOW and only supports in the process of navigating the vessel. AIS can never replace the human expertise on bridge!

Limitations of AIS

As with all navigational and/or electronic equipment, the AIS has limitations:

  1. The accuracy of AIS information received is only as good as the accuracy of the AIS information transmitted
  2. Position received on the AIS display might not be referenced to the WGS 84 datum
  3. Over reliance on the AIS can cause complacency on the part of the OOW
  4. Users must be aware that erroneous information might be transmitted by the AIS from another ship
  5. Not all ships are fitted with AIS
  6. The OOW must be aware that AIS, if fitted, might be switched off by a certain vessel thereby negating any information that might have been received from such ship
  7. It would not be prudent for the OOW to assume that the information received from other ships might not be fully accurate and of precision that might be available on own vessel

To sum it up, the AIS only improves the safety of navigation by assisting the OOW/VTS or whatever entity. It’s pretty easy to install as well, as AIS is generally integrated with ship bridge systems or multifunctional display, but installing a standalone system is as straightforward as plugging in a couple of cables and switching on the plug.

ISM Code: Regulatory Update at a glance

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The ISM Code in its mandatory form was adopted in 1993 by resolution A.741(18) and entered into force on 1 July 1998. Since then, revised Guidelines were adopted by resolution A.913(22) in  2001, and subsequently by resolution A.1022(26) , adopted in December 2009, resolution A.1071(28) in December 2013, and revised Guidelines adopted by resolution A.1118(30) with effect from 6 December 2017.

Revisions

Provisions relevant to SOLAS chapter IX and the ISM Code

  • Revised guidelines for the operational implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code by companies (MSC-MEPC.7/Circ.8),
  • Guidance on the qualifications, training and experience necessary for undertaking the role of the designated person under the provisions of the ISM Code (MSC‑FAL.7/Cir.6),
  • Guidance on near-miss reporting (MSC-MEPC.7/Circ.7), Guidelines on maritime cyber risk management (MSC-FAL.1/Circ.3)
  • Maritime cyber risk management in safety management systems (resolution MSC.428(98)).

Others

MSC 81/17/1 – Independent Export Group Report: Role of the Human Element – Assessment of the impact and effectiveness of implementation of the ISM Code

The Duties Of Ship Security Officer (SSO)

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A ship security officer (SSO) is an important entity under the International Ship and Port Facility (ISPS) code. The SSO is a person appointed by the company and the ship’s master for ensuring the security of the ship.

Ship’s security is one of the greatest concerns for every shipping company whose ships ply in international waters. Though there are advanced systems such as ship security alert system (SSAS) and ship security reporting system (SSRS) to enhance maritime security, contribution of the crew towards ship’s security play a very important role.

The main duties of the ship security officer (SSO) include implementation and maintenance of a ship security plan, while working closely with the company security officer (CSO) and the port facility security officer (PFCO).

According to the ISPS code, every ship must have a ship security officer, who has the full responsibility of the ship’s security.

The main responsibilities of ship security officer (SSO) are:

  • Implementing and maintaining the ship security plan (SSP)
  • Conducting security inspections at regular intervals of time to ensure that proper security steps are taken
  • Making changes to the ship security plan if need arise
  • Propose modifications to the ship security plan by taking various aspects of the ship into consideration
  • Help in ship security assessment (SSA)
  • Ensure that the ship’s crew is properly trained to maintain a high ship security level
  • Enhance security awareness and vigilance on board ship
  • Guide ship’s crew by teaching ways to enhance ship’s security
  • Report all security incidents to the company and the ship’s master
  • Taking view and suggestions of the company security officer and the port facility security officer into consideration while making amendments to the ship security plan
  • Help company security officer (CSO) in his duties
  • Take into account various security measures related to handling of cargo, engine room operations, ship’s store etc.
  • Coordinate with ship board personnel and port authorities to carry out all ship operations with utmost security
  • Ensure that the ship security equipment is properly operated, tested, calibrated, and maintained

The duties of ship security officer might change, increase, or decrease, depending on the type of the ship and situation. However, the main duties remain the same as mentioned above.

The importance of maritime security has substantially increased with the increase in the number of piracy attacks. This has also lead to a sudden increase in demand of maritime security jobs . Many companies offer special maritime security services to ensure high level of ship and port security. However, it is to note that most of the ship security related troubles can be averted by having a sound ship security plan.

International Register Of Shipping Conducts ISPS Code Training Course/ Vessel Security Officer or Ship Security Officer SSO, our next session is at Lagos, Nigeria on 4/5 September 2019. For more details and registration of the course, Please contact

Importance of Safety Management System (SMS) in ISM Code Implementation

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It has been 20 years since the ISM code became mandatory. Widely known as the ‘International Safety Management Code’, its implementation was a landmark for shipping industry given that for the first time, each shipping organization was obliged to develop an effective safety management. Namely, a “Safety Management System” is the core requirement for the ISM Code implementation; its aim is to ensure that safety is secured, humans are protected from injury and harm, and the environment and property are not damaged.

But is SMS only a paper approach to safety? Definitely no. It is the way of a shipping organization to meet its health, safety and environmental obligations and it forms a fundamental and mandatory part of the organization’s risk management strategy.  Although it has been 30 years since the initial drafting of the ISM Code, there still seems to be a confusion surrounding its effective implementation.

SMS follows the principles of ‘Plan-Do-Check-Act’ which is a quality approach toward continuous improvement.

Step #1 Plan

A statement should be included in Safety Management System in the form of policy regarding the organization’s approach to safety management. But what should this policy include?

  • The policy statement should include the organization’s obligations to comply with international and national legislation, rules and regulations.
  • A more advanced policy statement may also include information about the organization’s attitude and values towards health, safety and environment.
  • The organization needs also to develop procedures to support this policy, as well as contingency plans to respond to any incident that may occur.
  • While planning to manage safety, an organization should also think about how it will measure its performance. Setting out key performance indicators can help define the standards of health, safety and environmental compliance that a company expects to achieve.

Step #2 – Do

A safety management system needs to specify the organizational structure and mechanisms for implementing policy. As a starting point, the organization needs to have a detailed understanding of its operations and the risks that accompany it. The wording used in ISM refers, that “1.2.2 Safety management objectives of the Company should, inter alia:

  1. provide for safe practices in ship operation and a safe working environment,
  2. assess all identified risks to its ships, personnel and the environment and establish appropriate safeguards; …”

This is a legal obligation for organizations to keep risks to as low as reasonably practicable, referred to as ALARP. The risk management is an integral part of an effective management system. Understanding their risk profiles helps organizations to prioritize resources to reduce risks to the ALARP level. The recognized risk profile will create organizational procedures to accomplish the standards of health, safety and environment. In this regard:

  • Accountability for health and safety needs to be specified,
  • Roles and responsibilities should be defined,
  • Resources should be allocated, and
  • The workforce involved needs to have a shared understanding of how to keep risks to a minimum.

Step #3 – Check

This a critical part of any system (quality, safety, security etc). Adequate procedures should be implemented for monitoring, evaluating and investigating health, safety and environmental performance. However, an effective safety system is not limited to recording accidents, incidents and lost time injuries, but it includes a combination of a proactive monitoring system supported by reactive actions.

In particular, monitoring systems provide information of how the safety management system is performing:

  • Proactive monitoring: It involves monitoring, evaluating and checking on how well the system is performing before something happens. This may include audits, inspections, self-assessments, reviewing procedures surveys, such as health checks or employee attitude surveys.
  • Reactive monitoring: It is limited to response and involves recording information, incident investigation and training based on lessons learned.

The organizational knowledge (as specified in Quality Standard) may be very useful to support such actions. The management review is the main tool to complete this stage.

Step #4 – Act

The final step in the cycle is to review and act upon the information that has been gathered. This phase incorporates:

  • new information about changes in rules and regulations,
  • lessons learned from within or outside the company, and
  • advances in understanding and knowledge.

The management review process helps to actions for improvement, such as updating plans, re-visiting organizational arrangements, implementing new or revised measures, and adopting or adapting monitoring and evaluation processes.

For more details attend our ISM Code Auditing /Maritime Management Systems Course, our next session is at Lagos, Nigeria on 02/03 September 2019. For more details and registration of the course, Please contact

 

A Guide to Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 for Maritime Professionals

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Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), according to the ILO or International Labour Organisation, provides a broad perspective to the seafarer’s rights and fortification at work. The maritime regulation will finally entered into force on August 20th, 2013. Nearly 1.2 million seafarers will be affected by the terms and conditions of this human rights act, which will lay down a set of regulations for protection at work, living conditions, employment, health, social security and similar related issues.

On the basis of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), the Seafarer’s Employment Contracts will be implemented and mandated against nullifying the present employment contracts. MLC will be similar to the other statutory certifications such as ISM and ISPS onboard ships and the certificate will have 5 years of validity with interim, initial and intermediate surveys. It is imperative for all seafarers to understand the importance of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006.

Under MLC, 2006, the ship owners are required to submit a DMLC or Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance to their respective flag states which form a party to the convention. The flag states will accordingly issue the MLC Certificate to the fleet flying their flag following, surveys, inspections, paperwork and approvals. The certificate would be then required to be posted at a conspicuous position onboard.

Contents of MLC,2006 

  1. Minimum Requirements for seafarers to work on ships
  • Minimum age
  • Medical certificate
  • Training and certifications
  • Recruitment and placement
  1. Conditions of Employment 
  • Seafarer’s Employment Agreement
  • Wages
  • Hours of rest and hours of work
  • Entitlement to leave
  • Repatriation
  • Seafarer compensation for ship’s loss or foundering
  • Manning levels
  • Career and skill development and opportunities for seafarer’s employment
  1. Accommodation, Recreation, Food and Catering
  • Accommodation and recreational facilities
  • Food and catering
  1. Health Protection, Medical Care, Welfare and Social Security Protection
  • Medical care on board and ashore
  • Ship owner’s liability
  • Health and safety protection and accident prevention
  • Access to shore based welfare facilities
  • Social Security
  1. Compliance and Enforcement
  • Flag state responsibility
  • Authorization of recognized organisations
  • Maritime labour certificate and declaration of maritime labour compliance
  • Inspection and enforcement
  • On board compliance procedures
  • Port State Responsibilities
  • Marine Casualties
  • Labour Supplying responsibilities

Application of MLC,2006 to type of vessels

MLC applies to all the registered commercial vessels regardless of the flag state they belong to. This will also include leisure and commercial yachts, which are engaged on international voyages besides a few exceptions as stated in their circular discussing application of MLC on types of vessels. Vessels must be over 500 GRT to carry the MLC certificate. For vessels under 500 GRT, guidelines recommend the vessels to be voluntarily complying with the convention and as documented by the flag states.

Compliance requirements

The flag state administration is either doing the certifying process for the MLC certification or a Recognized Organisation (RO) maybe entitled to carry out the process on their behalf. The authorization may include the whole process of submission of the DMLC, inspection and ships operational verification to issuance of the MLC Certificate or a part of it. Classification societies or other third parties which specialise as recognized organisations are normally the service providers on behalf of the flag states.

Period of validity of the certificate

The MLC certificate may be issued for a period not exceeding five (5) years, following thorough inspection and verifying the vessels meet the minimum requirements of the MLC. To ascertain that the vessels which fly the flag of the member states continue complying with the requirements and standards of the convention, the competent authority of the flag may renew the certificate and maintain a public record for the same. Ships that are newly built and ships undergoing change of flag would also be issued with the certificate on interim or provisional basis for periods not exceeding six (6) months.

Survey Requirements and Port State Control (PSC)

Initial survey and inspection will be followed diligently with other inspections such as the intermediate inspection. Port State Control has the right to board any vessel at any given point of time for verifying the compliance for MLC. The Port State Control Inspectors are however entitled to detain the vessel not in compliance with the MLC requirements. With regard to PSC, the compliance for MLC is mainly subject to availability of the Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance (DMLC), the MLC certificate issued to the fleet and a plan implementing the MLC content

Time taken to get certified

One of the main requirements of complying with MLC is that every crew member is to be in possession of an approved Seafarer Employment Agreement or SEA. The approval has to necessarily be in conjunction with the flag state and must include certain provisions that are required under MLC. The older seafarer’s contracts will be replaced or used in concurrence with the SEA and be inspected upon by the PSC. In lieu of this, time required for the certification will depend on the gap analysis, issuance of newer Agreements and also the development of plans and manuals. Moreover, Crew compensation and other benefits may be different for every ship owner apart from those required by the MLC. The length of reviewing, revising and approving of the requirements and therefore the certification time may take weeks or months together.

Fixing up or scheduling inspections

Every Flag State is wholly responsible for ensuring that the obligations under the MLC convention are implemented correctly onboard ships flying their flags. This also means that the flag state is responsible for correlating the subsequent measures related to work and living conditions and forming an efficient system for the inspections and MLC related certifications, Flag State is also entailed to appoint sufficient qualified inspectors for executing the certification processes.

The interval between the inspections should not exceed a period of 36 months. Similar to the ISM and ISPS certifications, MLC also requires the inspectors to conduct examinations, tests or enquiries to verify strict compliance to the regulations of the convention and ascertain that the deficiencies, if any, are remedied avoiding serious breach to standards of the convention or correspond to considerable danger to the health, safety and security of the seafarers. The inspectors also have the power to restrain the ship to leave port until the deficiencies are corrected. 

Dealing with Inspections

As stated earlier, the flag state has all the rights to withdraw the MLC Certificate if the vessel fails to pass the mandatory inspections and its obligations. The Inspector in his entire prowess is empowered to detain the vessel in port if it is evident that the concerned vessel failed to implement the requirements of the MLC onboard. With the number of inspections to increase exponentially, the number of detentions is also believed to increase. Failed Inspections could mean heavy commercial and financial losses for the vessel, charterers and the owners. Therefore the best way to avoid such grave situations is to ensure that the vessels strictly adhere with the guidelines as laid out in the MLC Convention.

Documentation required

In short, the member states require each vessel to maintain a hard copy of the convention at all times along with the MLC certificate, a Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance stating the obligations of the convention that involve working and living conditions for the seafarers and measures to put in place for the MLC compliance.

Documents required to be maintained onboard for Maritime Labour Certificate (MLC 2006)
– Declaration of Maritime Labour Compliance, Parts I and II
– Maritime Labour Certificate
– Recent Inspection report
– Evidence proving that all seafarers onboard are above sixteen (16) years of age
– Evidence showing the crewing agencies comply with the MLC requirements
– A Medical Certificate of maximum one year validity for seafarers under 18 years of age
– A Medical Certificate of maximum two years validity for seafarers above 18 years of age
– Evidence proving no dangerous work or night time work being undertaken for seafarers under 18 years of age
– A Seafarer’s Employment Agreement (SEA), signed by the seafarer and ship owner or an authorized representative
– A copy of CBA or Collective Bargaining Act and its English version
– A valid COC or Certificate of Competency and valid training certificates for all seafarers onboard
– Records of training in personal safety and safety meetings held onboard
– Records of all accidents, incidents, investigations and consequent analysis onboard
– Records of seafarer’s familiarisation and the records for seafarer’s rest / work hours

The Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006 is a milestone for the global maritime industry. Once implemented, MLC is expected to enhance the life of seafarers working offshore, along with increasing the safety and security of sea-going vessels.

INTLREG Conducts Maritime Labour Convention  Training Course, our next session is at Lagos, Nigeria on 26/27/28 August 2019. For more details and registration of the course, Please contact

Options for Shipboard Handling and Discharge of Garbage

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Compliance with MARPOL Annex V involves personnel, equipment and procedures for collecting, sorting, processing, storing, recycling, reusing and discharging garbage. Economic and procedural considerations associated with these activities include storage space requirements, sanitation, equipment and personnel costs and in port garbage service charges.

Compliance with the provisions of MARPOL Annex V involves careful planning by the ship’s owner and operator and proper execution by crew members as well as other seafarers. The most appropriate procedures for handling and storing garbage on board ships may vary depending on factors such as the type and size of the ship, the area of operation (e.g. special area, distance from nearest land, ice-shelf or fast ice), shipboard garbage processing equipment and storage space, number of crew or passengers, duration of voyage, and regulations and reception facilities at ports of call. However, in view of the cost involved with the different garbage handling options, it is economically advantageous to first, limit the amount of material that may become garbage from being brought on board the ship and second, separate garbage eligible for discharge into the sea from other garbage that may not be discharged into the sea. Proper management of containers and packaging coming on board and proper handling and storage can minimize shipboard storage space requirements and enable efficient transfer of retained garbage to port reception facilities for proper handling (i.e. recycling, reuse) or land-based disposal.

Every ship of 100 gross tonnage and above every ship certified to carry 15 or more persons and fixed and floating platforms are required to carry and implement a garbage management plan that specifies procedures to be followed to ensure proper and efficient handling and storage of garbage. A garbage management plan 2 should be developed that can be incorporated in crew and ship operating manuals. Such manuals should identify crew responsibilities (including an Environmental Control Officer) and procedures for all aspects of handling and storing garbage on board the ship. Procedures for handling ship-generated garbage are divided into four phases: collection, processing, storage and discharge. A generalized garbage management plan for handling and storing ship-generated garbage is presented in table above.

Refer MEPC 71/17 Annex 21 – 2017 GUIDELINES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MARPOL ANNEX V for more details.