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Maritime Knowledge

INTLREG MOVING FORWARD WITH REMOTE SURVEYS

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INTLREG is bringing our technical expertise closer to our clients by launching the Remote Surveying to our services for Ocean going voyages as well as domestic vessels. Travel restrictions amid the pandemic COVID-19 are affecting the surveys onboard ships and delays are affecting the projects in Oil & Gas Industry across the globe. Yet the industry is embracing digital technology and is quickly adapting to the smart era.

For remote surveys and inspections, the surveyors do not have to be physically present on board a vessel. As a result, a remote survey can be conducted anywhere in the world without the surveyors’ physical presence. This also enhances survey flexibility and efficiency of survey.

A survey without attendance has benefits for both our customers and surveyors; however, safety must always be and remain our ultimate consideration and target. Remote surveys will be permitted only for ships maintaining class with INTLREG.

The following surveys, which may be permitted using remote surveys techniques by International Register of Shipping (INTLREG), are written below. Such surveys could be subject to prior approval from the flag administration:

  1. Classification Surveys (annual)
  2. Condition of Class Surveys
  3. Minor damage and repair surveys for hull and machinery.
  4. Extension of Surveys (Class conditions, Propeller shaft, Boiler etc.)
  5. Continuous Surveys Machinery (CSM)
  6. Change of Owner, Change of vessel name / flag.
  7. A Cases by Case approval

Benefits :

Accessibility

Owners and operators can easily access the collected data and planned maintenance.

Immediate access to the best technological expertise

Connect to an expert from any location relevant to the assignment.

Cost Effective 

By introducing remote surveys, many market and situation challenges can be resolved thereby saving travelling time and cost.

INTLREG will always remain a reliable partner to the maritime world providing cost-effective and professional services. We have exclusive surveyors stationed worldwide and are ready to provide any services to your vessel(s). Please feel free to reach out to us for any questions or inquiries you may have at service@intlreg.org

Do you know the number of ranks and duties on board?

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Seafaring is a career that requires different roles and responsibilities such that everyone on board will know what to do, as various tasks will be conducted simultaneously. Each of these responsibilities also has unique duties that are vital to a ship’s efficient service.

The ranks on a vessel  are classified into three categories:
  1. the deck department
  2. the engineering department
  3. the steward’s / catering department

In 1978, IMO adopted a landmark Convention for all seafarers across the world to establish high standards of competence and professionalism in their duties on-board. The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, the STCW Convention in brief, establishes the minimum basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level.

Deck department

Captain: The captain or master is the ship’s highest responsible officer, acting on behalf of the shipowner. He/she is responsible for all operations onboard.

Chief mate: The head of the deck department on a merchant vessel, second-in-command after the ship’s Master. This position is responsible for cargo operations, the vessel’s stability, the deck crew and the safety and security of the vessel. The chief mate is the one to train the crew and cadets on various operations, such as safety, firefighting, search and rescue, and various other contingencies.

Second mate: The one that holds this position is a qualified Officer in Charge for Navigational Watch (OICNW), responsible for directing the bridge and navigating the ship. The second mate is the third most experienced deck department officer after the Captain/Master and Chief mate. One of their priorities is to update charts and publications, keeping them current, making passage plans, and all aspects of ship navigation. Additional duties include directing line handlers, cargo watches, directing anchor detail and training and instructing crew members.

Third mate: The third officer is responsible for the maintenance of life-saving equipment and fire-fighting equipment under Safety Officer`s instruction. Also, the third mate conducts the drilling operations and handles all the port documents on behalf of the Master.

Deck cadet: Also known as the Trainee Navigational Officer or Nautical Apprentice is an apprentice who must learn the basic duties, comprehend and apply the new skills learned.

Deck cadet ratings

  • Bosun (head of the rating staff)
  • Welder/Fitter (this rank onboard renders his services to both the deck as well as the engine department)
  • Able Bodied Seaman (AB)
  • Ordinary Seaman (OS)
  • Trainee OS

Engineer/Technical Department

Chief engineer: This person is the one overseeing the engine department and gives work orders for the ones operating in the engine room.

Second engineer: This rank is responsible for supervising the daily maintenance and operation of the engine department, directly reporting to the chief engineer.

Third engineer: The third engineer or second assistant engineer is the one dealing with boilers, fuel, auxiliary engines, condensate and feed systems, always reporting to the second engineer.

Fourth engineer: The fourth engineer or third assistant engineer is junior to the second assistant engineer/third engineer in the engine department.

Steward’s / catering department

Chief cook: The chief cook is the senior unlicensed crew member working in the steward’s department of a ship. Their duty is to prepare meals regularly for the crew and passengers, inspects the galley and equipment ensuring all cleaning and proper storage operations are in line.

Chief steward: This position is the one handling the catering department, by directing, instructing and assigning personnel for preparing and serving meals. Also, this rank plans the menu, orders the supplies along with the Master.

#SeafarersAreKeyWorkers

Any idea what a Ship Security Alert System is?

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Although piracy follows a downward trend in the last decade, the threat of sailing in high risk areas still poses a psychological burden for crews. After the 9/11 attacks that changed the world, IMO requires every ship above 500 GT sailing the world’s oceans to have a Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) to enhance security. Have you ever wondered what this system is and how it works?
To provide knowledge to those designated to perform duties of CSO, SSO and other security duties on a managerial and operational level and ensure effective implementation of the ISPS Code, explain SSA process, SSP contents and measures per level, weapons recognition, devices, suspects & contingency planning, as per new STCW requirements,International Register Of Shipping (INTLREG) Conducts ISPS Code Training Course. For more details and registration of the course, Please contact training@intlreg.org

What is a Ship Security Alert System (SSAS)?

The Ship Security Alert System (SSAS), under the ISPS Code, is a system onboard designed to raise the alarm ashore in case of a security threat or security incident, so that help from security forces can be deployed to the scene.

Technically, the SSAS consists of a GPS receiver linked to a transmitter, a power supply, software and activation buttons.

When used, the activation button basically notifies the flag State of the ship without alerting ships or coastal states in the vicinity or giving any indication onboard.

Use of the ship security alert system is a recognition that security is political and requires different response to a distress or emergency onboard,

…IMO notes.

 Where is this alert sent to?

What makes the SSAS unique is the fact that it constitutes a silent ship security alarm system that does not issue any audio-visual signal on the ship or to nearby vessels, not even to security forces nearby.

In contrast, upon activated, the alert is sent directly to the ship owner or an SSAS management company. It is then directed to the ship’s flag state. Some flag administrations even require having direct notification upon activation.

As soon as the flag state is informed, it is obliged to immediately notify the state(s) and the international security centers in the vicinity of the ship’s location.

Then, local state authorities or already deployed antipiracy/antiterrorist forces will be able to provide appropriate military or law-enforcement forces to deal with the menace.

 What information does the SSAS provide?

Upon activated, the Ship Security Alert System sends the following details to the administration:

  1. Name and IMO number of the ship
  2. The Call Sign of the ship
  3. The ship’s position through Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)
  4. Date and time of the alert
  5. Maritime Mobile Service Identity.

 Where can we find an SSAS onboard?

Current regulatory framework foresees that there must be at least two security alert buttons onboard the ship, one on the bridge and another one in any other prominent location.

The whole crew onboard must be aware of at least one activation button location.

What happens if the button is pushed by accident?

The ISPS Code mandates that the SSAS activation points must be designed to prevent the unwanted initiation of the ship security alert.

A latch cover secures the button to prevent any accidental operation.

Anyone working in the vicinity of the SSAS button must be notified accordingly not to touch the button.

Once the SSAS button is pressed, the alert will be continuously transmitted to the administration unless it is reset or deactivated.

 What are the key challenges of the SSAS?

Although there are specialized security companies for SSAS monitoring, most shipping organizations for financial reasons prefer to assign a person within the company for this job, known as the Company Security Officer (CSO). This means that a CSO lies with a great deal of responsibility on his shoulders, and the ship crew must feel lucky if he/she is not in the shower or deep asleep.

In addition, it is known that the SSAS will not work in case of failure of main power or fault in the emergency backup power.

And as in any other task onboard, crew familiarization with the button location and the procedures to be followed is vital for cases of real emergency and should not be taken for granted.

About the ISPS Code

Under SOLAS Convention Chapter XI-2, IMO developed the International Ship and Port Facility Code (ISPS Code), a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities.

The Code was adopted on 12 December 2002 on the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in United States. ISPS Code came into force on 1st July 2004.

The Code is applicable to all vessels over 500 GRT operating on international trades, as well as the ports that service them.

Among others, the ISPS Code:

  • enables the detection and deterrence of security threats within an international framework
  • establishes roles and responsibilities
  • enables collection and exchange of security information
  • provides a methodology for assessing security
  • ensures that adequate security measures in place.

 Did you know?

The SSAS is the correspondent means of notification with the Emergency Transponder Code 7700 for aircrafts.

 

 

 

Why IMO number is important for vessels?

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The IMO Ship Identification Number is a unique seven-digit number which remains unchanged through a vessel’s lifetime and is linked to its hull, regardless of any changes of names, flags, or owners.

In fact, the IMO number is a unique seven digit number that is assigned to propelled, sea-going merchant ships of 100 GT and above upon keel laying, with the exception of ships without mechanical means of propulsion; pleasure yachts; ships engaged on special service, such as lightships; hopper barges; hydrofoils, air cushion vehicles; floating docks and structures classified in a similar manner; ships of war, troopships as well as wooden ships.

The IMO number is a mandatory prerequisite for sailing through the SOLAS regulation XI/3 which was adopted in 1994; in fact, specific criteria for passenger ships of 100 gross tonnage and upwards and all cargo ships of 300 gross tonnage and upwards were agreed. Further to this, the records based on the IMO number also require an independent audit trail for each vessel.

The scheme was further applied to fishing vessels in 2013, and the eligibility criteria were amended in 2016 to cover smaller and non-steel hull vessels. In particular, the IMO number is assigned to the total portion of the hull enclosing the machinery space and can play the determining factor, should additional sections be added.

For new vessels, the IMO number is assigned to a hull during construction, generally upon keel laying. The SOLAS regulation XI-1/3 requires ships’ identification numbers to be permanently marked in a visible place either on the ship’s hull or superstructure. Passenger ships should carry the marking on a horizontal surface visible from the air and vessels should also be marked with their ID numbers internally.

This number remains unchanged and is never reassigned regardless of any changes concerning the ship’s owner, country of registration, name or transfer to other flags and should be inserted in the ship’s certificates. It is also important to note that this number is separate and different from the official number issued by the vessel’s flag administration which is only internally used and cannot replace the IMO number.

IMO notes that the IMO ship identification number scheme, which was introduced in 1987 through adoption of resolution A.600(15), can act as a measure aimed at enhancing “maritime safety, and pollution prevention and to facilitate the prevention of maritime fraud.” It aims at assigning a permanent number to each ship for identification purposes.

IMO numbers can be an essential tool in shipping because they help to improve monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement of operations, as they allow flag states to accurately manage vessels under their authority; give national authorities information to help them police their waters more effectively; bring clarity and consistency to legal records; and help governments determine whether vessels are authorized to be in their waters.

All in all, having an IMO number is a prerequisite for selling and can be the best way to track and locate a vessel’s history since each number is unique and is the only identification that remains with a vessel from shipyard to scrapyard, regardless of all other modifications. Indeed, the IMO number is recognized by most governments and regional fisheries organizations and is considered the best available global identification system for ships.

Do you know what Plimsoll lines on ships are?

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Have you ever wondered what Plimsoll lines are? And why are they called Plimsoll? Professionals across the shipping industry may be familiar with the term, but even those not working in the industry, but who are extra observative, may have noticed that ships have some line marks on their hull, just above the waterline. These are Plimsoll lines.

What it is

The Plimsoll line (also known as a Load Line or the International Load line) is a reference mark located on a ship’s hull that indicates the maximum depth to which the vessel may be safely immersed when loaded with cargo.

Why it is useful

It is evident that there is not a standard maximum height into which a ship is allowed to immerse, but the maximum allowed depth varies depending on the conditions, for example:

  • the ship’s dimensions,
  • the type of cargo carried,
  • the time of year, and
  • the water densities encountered in port and at sea.

Considering the above factors, a ship’s captain can determine the appropriate Plimsoll line needed for the voyage. As such, load limits are calculated for each type of operating environment into the following levels:

TF = Tropical Fresh Water

T = Tropical

F = Fresh Water

S = Summer

W = Winter

WNA = Winter North Atlantic

There are also two letters with the name of the authority setting the load limit

Why ‘Plimsoll’?

The name comes from Samuel Plimsoll (1824–1898), a member of the British Parliament, who expressed concerns in regard to the loss of ships and crews from vessel overloading.

In 1876, he persuaded Parliament to pass the Unseaworthy Ships Bill. This mandated marking a ship’s sides with a line that would disappear below the waterline if the ship was overloaded.

The line is found midship on both the port and starboard hulls of cargo vessels and is still used widely in shipping.

The original Plimsoll Mark was a circle with a horizontal line through it to indicate the maximum draft of a particular ship. Additional marks have been added over the years, taking into consideration different water densities.

It makes no wonder that Samuel Plimsoll has passed through history as the ‘Friend of Sailor’.

Did you know?

At first, the Act allowed the shipowners to paint the line where they saw fit. It was not until 1890 that Board of Trade officials applied the regulations that Plimsoll had intended and the line was painted on the side of all ships.

Regulatory framework 

The first International Convention on Load Lines, adopted in 1930, was based on the principle of reserve buoyancy, although it was recognized then that the freeboard should also ensure adequate stability and avoid excessive stress on the ship’s hull as a result of overloading.

IMO adopted the existing Load Lines Convention in 1966, setting limitations on the draught to which a ship may be loaded and thus making a significant contribution to shipping safety.

The limits, defined under the treaty, are given in the form of freeboards. The treaty takes into account the potential hazards present in different ocean zones and different seasons.

In March, Georgia became the 112th State to accede to the International Convention on Load Lines.

Exemptions

Load Line Convention rules do not apply to certain types of vessels, such as:

  • warships,
  • new ships of 24 length or less,
  • existing ships of less than 150 GT,
  • pleasure yachts not engaged in trade and
  • fishing vessels.

There are also some exemptions by geographical area:

  • the Great Lakes of North America and the River St. Lawrence as far east as a rhumb line drawn from Cap des Rosiers to West Point, Anticosti Island, and, on the north side of Anticosti Island, the meridian of longitude 63° W;
  • the Caspian Sea;
  • the Plate, Parana and Uruguay Rivers as far east as a rhumb line drawn between Punta Norte, Argentina, and Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Do you know why So Many Ships Are Red On The Bottom ?

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Chances are you have never salvaged a vessel yourself or you have (hopefully) never seen a vessel upside down. But in case you have seen photos of a shipwreck or of a new ship getting launched from shipyard, you may have noticed that the bottom of a ship is most times red.

While many may have never really thought about this until reading this article, others, who do have noticed, may think that there is no apparent reason for a ship to be painted in an area which is always below the waterline and nobody normally sees it.

Either way,

…have you ever wondered why most ships are red on bottom?

Reason 1: The answer can be spotted again in tradition. Shipping is a tradition-oriented industry and if it is hard to believe, just remember ships are called ‘she’ based on an old nautical tradition or ask how much paperwork crews have to deal with every day.

But let us take things from the beginning.

Among the many challenges a ship has to encounter during its journey at sea is biofouling, which refers to the accumulation of various aquatic organisms at the ship’s hull, such as plant life and barnacles, as well as worms that eat hulls.

Except for transferring invasive aquatic species from one sea ecosystem to another and affecting marine life normality in each of them, this accumulation is responsible for deteriorating the ship’s structural integrity but, more importantly, for causing the ship to run slower and, consequently, burn more fuel.

Shipbuilders of the early years of shipping would use a copper coating as a biocide, to prevent organotins from sticking on the vessel’s hull. That copper coating was responsible for the ship’s red color.

In the 21st century, it is more than obvious that antifouling coatings can be mixed with any color. So why ships insist on red? It is nautical tradition, of course!

Did you know?

-Due to lack of a global regulatory framework on biofouling, local governments are developing their own unilateral regulations, most notably:

  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • US (Federal Law)
  • The state of California

-In March 2019, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and IMO kicked off the five-year GloFouling Partnerships project, to address bioinvasions by organisms which can build up on ships’ hulls and other marine structures.

Reason 2: Another reason can be traced in the contrast of red hull to the sea water, which demonstrates if the load of cargo is overweight: The more cargo a ship is carrying, the deeper it enters the water. In the same context of ‘contrast’, the red color at sea can be very easily captured by passing-by helicopters in case of an emergency. 

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.

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