These tankers will take part in the STM BALT Safe project for exchanging route information between ships and ports. This project is piloting new operational services based on STM concepts that improve data sharing and enhance navigation safety.
More than 400 ships already have the capability to share routes through their ECDIS to other ships and ports. Next, the focus will be on increasing tankers’ navigation safety.
For this, STM BALT Safe project is signing up 50 tankers that frequently sail in the Baltic Sea and upgrading their ECDIS for route information sharing.
Wärtsilä Voyage won the contract to upgrade ECDIS on these ships. Wärtsilä Voyage director Torsten Büssow said tanker owners can securely share route information with vessel traffic system (VTS) operators in the region by upgrading ECDIS.
“We believe standardised information sharing is an important key to improving safety and efficiency in the shipping industry,” said Mr Büssow.
During this STM project, Saab-based VTS in Estonia, Navielektro-based VTS in Finland and the new VTS-system in Sweden will be able receive and send route plans to vessels.
This will enable e-navigation services, such as route cross-check and risk situation alerts, to improve tanker safety.
Information is transferred via automatic information systems (AIS) between ships. It is shared between ships and shore through the Maritime Digital Infrastructure.
STM BALT Safe project ship testbed manager Cajsa Jersler Fransson expects these tanker ECDIS upgrades to be part of a voyage towards a more connected future.
“With installations happening this year, we will be able to analyse data from the interaction between ships and between ships and shore,” Mr Fransson said.
Progress on e-navigation leads to new guidelines for standardised displays and integrated navigation systems
IMO agreed draft guidelines for navigation equipment and made progress on its e-navigation strategy in January 2019 at the Navigation, Communications and Search and Rescue (NCSR) sub-committee meetings.
E-navigation benefits will include the harmonised collection, integration, exchange, presentation and analysis of marine information leading to improvements in safety, security and protecting the marine environment, reducing the administrative burden on seafarers.
IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim was satisfied with the sub-committee’s progress and approval of a number of drafts and amendments.
“The actions taken and decisions made by this sub-committee are key for the implementation of effective measures for safe navigation,” he said. “For improved co-ordination to avoid maritime accidents and ensure a quick and efficient response in case of a search and rescue incident.”
“The actions taken and decisions made by this sub-committee are key for the implementation of effective measures for safe navigation”
The NCSR 6 sub-committee agreed with requests from delegations that IMO should work in collaboration with member states to lead on e-navigation. “There is no doubt that IMO should continue to lead these developments and address all safety aspects of navigation, including the harmonisation of maritime services in the context of e-navigation,” said Mr Lim.
IMO will partner with others to further develop, harmonise and define e-navigation maritime services including:
Vessel traffic services.
Communicating maritime safety information*.
Vessel shore reporting.
Search and rescue.
Pilotage and tug services.
Meteorological and hydrographic information.
Draft guidance agreed
In the meantime, IMO has drafted guidelines on performance standards for navigation equipment on ship bridges. This includes a draft Marine Safety Committee (MSC) circular on guidelines for standardising user interface design for navigation equipment.
IMO’s aim is to promote standardisation of human-machine interfaces and information used by seafarers to monitor, manage and perform navigational tasks to enhance situational awareness and improve navigation safety. These guidelines apply to integrated navigation systems (INS), ECDIS, radar and other bridge equipment with an interface.
Along with this, NCSR 6 agreed draft amendments to the performance standards for presenting navigation-related information on shipborne navigational displays, including radar, ECDIS and INS. Revised performance standards will come into force on 1 January 2024.
IMO’s sub-committee finalised draft updates to guidelines written to cover presenting navigational-related symbols on bridge systems to achieve harmonisation across equipment.
Another achievement in January was agreeing a draft MSC resolution covering guidance on defining and harmonising the format and structure of maritime e-navigation services to be implemented internationally, as opposed to the current regional testbeds.
It was agreed that all maritime services should conform with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) S-100 framework standard, which specifies the method for data modelling and developing product specifications.
There was also agreement on a draft MSC circular covering the initial descriptions of e-navigation maritime services. These would be periodically updated to account for developments and related work on harmonisation.
VDR and Polar Code
NCSR 6 agreed to draft amendments to MSC circulars updating the guidelines on annually testing voyage data recorders (VDRs) and simplified VDRs, thereby clarifying the examination of float-free capsules approved in accordance with resolution MSC.333(90).
Another achievement was submitting draft guidance for navigation and communication equipment used on ships operating in polar waters to the next MSC. This includes recommendations on mechanical shock testing, temperature parameters, addressing ice accretion and battery performance in cold temperatures. This will be fed into an update of IMO’s Polar Code later this year.
NCSR 6 established traffic separation schemes, associated routeing measures, precautionary areas and recommended traffic flow directions in the Sunda and Lombok Straits, Indonesia to reduce the risk of ship collisions and groundings.
NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey awarded a 5-year cooperative agreement to the University of New Hampshire for the continuation of the Joint Hydrographic Center. The Joint Hydrographic Center is a NOAA/University research and education partnership aimed at maintaining a world-leading center of excellence in hydrography and ocean mapping. The new award, which will begin in January 2021, will build on the work of the Center since its founding in 1999.
In announcing the award with New Hampshire’s congressional delegation on August 27, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, ranking member on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee, noted, “The University of New Hampshire’s Joint Hydrographic Center is a national center of excellence that has deepened our understanding of the world’s oceans. The Center is making significant contributions to education, research and technological advances in ocean mapping and hydrographic sciences, and it’s important that this work continue to be funded.”
The Joint Hydrographic Center has had a long history of developing tools and techniques that had a major impact on the field of hydrography as well as educating many of the leaders in the field. Over the last five years, the Center:
continued in the development of innovative new approaches to increase the efficiency and accuracy of ocean mapping data processing,
developed new approaches for calibrating mapping systems and extracting bathymetric data from satellite imagery,
pioneered the use of autonomous vehicles for hydrographic and other mapping applications,
developed tools to locate, visualize and quantify gas and oil seeps from the seafloor,
explored the use of ocean mapping data to better understand seafloor and fisheries habitat, and
developed innovative new approaches for visualizing, in both 3- and 4-D a range of oceanographic and ocean mapping data.
“I am thrilled that NOAA will continue its support for the Joint Hydrographic Center at the University of New Hampshire,” said Rear Admiral Shepard M. Smith, director of NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey. “This has been Coast Survey’s most important partnership in the past two decades as we have led the global hydrographic community in technology and advanced navigation services, and integrated these services across the ocean mapping community.”
In the next five years we expect the Joint Hydrographic Center to continue at the forefront of hydrographic and ocean mapping research and education, leading in the development of the tools and approaches for defining the next generation of hydrography and training the next generation of hydrographers and ocean mappers. In line with Coast Survey’s strategic plan, our cooperative efforts at the Center will focus on three main themes:
Advance the Technology to Map U.S. Waters,
Advance the Technology for Digital Navigation Services, and
Develop and Advance Marine Geospatial and Soundscape Expertise.
Projects under these themes will include making autonomous mapping vehicles and systems truly autonomous, taking advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools to provide situational awareness for these un-crewed vessels and aerial drones, and developing “edge” processing software that will work on the vehicles to minimize the data that needs to be transmitted back to shore. We will look for new ways to work in and take advantage of the “cloud,” again using AI/ML techniques to increase the efficiency and the accuracy of our data processing approaches. We will also focus on the concept of “characterizing” the seafloor and the water column looking for techniques that will allow our echo sounders to help us determine “what” we are looking at.
The Center will support the growing demand for precision navigation, investigating and developing novel, perceptually optimized visualization techniques for mariner-friendly display of modern navigational and oceanographic data products. Not only do these products include high-resolution bathymetry and shoreline, but also real-time and forecast water levels, ocean and estuary flow models from NOAA’s Operational Forecast Systems, AIS vessel traffic, and bridge air gap sensors. As part of this effort, the Center will investigate how to fit the visualizations within ECDIS standardized presentation modes and how to implement these techniques within ECDIS/PPU systems while simultaneously providing supplemental visual analysis tools to support decision making. Extending the mode in which these tools may be utilized we will also explore the use of augmented reality (AR) to provide heads-up navigational information to mariners.
The Joint Hydrographic Center’s most lasting contribution may be the new generation of hydrographers, ocean mappers, and ocean data scientists who are educated in the program. Since its founding, the center has awarded 183 graduate degrees and graduate certificates to students from the United States and 50 other countries, many of which are taking leading roles in the international hydrographic community.
New e-Navigation technologies developed by the ACCSEAS (Accessibility for Shipping, Efficiency Advantages and Sustainability) project could improve the safety and efficiency of ships across the notoriously busy shipping lanes of the North Sea Region, following successful trials.
ACCSEAS successfully completed its first demonstration of e-Navigation techniques on board a working passenger ship in the North Sea. The prototype equipment was installed on the bridge of P&O’s Pride of Hull vessel and at Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Humber.
Working with P&O Chief Officer, Joop Loonstra and Deputy VTS Manager, Shane Winterton, the ACCSEAS team set up a live communication between the ship and VTS Humber on the approach to Humber Estuary and compared the e-Navigation services with more traditional platforms.
The trials were successful and have demonstrated that e-Navigation technologies have the potential to transform the way that data is delivered to mariners by collating all information into one display and ensuring back-up mechanisms are in place. The suite of solutions will not only increase the safety and efficiency of navigation, but also allow better interaction with VTS centres. The team on board also showed how e-Loran seamlessly took over when the ship’s GPS signal was lost demonstrating the benefit of Resilient Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT).
Shane Winterton, Deputy VTS Manager, Humber said: “ABP Humber Estuary Services has been proud to assist ACCSEAS in the development and testing of their new electronic navigation system here upon the Humber. ACCSEAS has created a well designed and resilient system, with valid functions of real worth to the wider navigational community.”
Improved navigation techniques are particularly important in the North Sea region where an increase in shipping traffic, vessel size and competition for marine space is putting growing pressure on the North Sea’s marine areas. These issues pose serious safety and environmental concerns, whilst impacting the economic prosperity of the shipping industry. With over 90% of all goods transported by sea, the safety and efficiency of vessel traffic movements significantly impacts the industry’s economic efficiency and carbon footprint.
Winterton continued: “The enhanced safety of vessel movements within confined waters provided by the system is achieved through a thoughtful process of route exchange and dynamic no go area under keel clearance modelling. ACCSEAS should be congratulated on the very successful trial of their system which they tested in real world scenarios between the P&O ferry Pride of Hull and VTS Humber on one of the busiest and most important estuaries in the UK.”
Alwyn Williams, Project Manager of ACCSEAS said: “The results of this trial show a successful outcome for the ACCSEAS programme, but more importantly, a significant step for the application of e-Navigation within the industry. Mariners can be confident that these systems will provide them with quicker, more accurate information and allow shipping to become more adaptive in an environment that can often be fast-changing.”
These technologies will be demonstrated at the final ACCSEAS Conference “Navigating the North Sea Region into the Future” in February 2015. The conference aims to build upon the success of the second ACCSEAS Annual Conference held in Edinburgh earlier this year and will bring together a global audience to explore the implementation of the ACCSEAS e-Navigation test-bed services and present the concluding results of this engaging North Sea Region project.
Technologies tested included:
No-Go Area Service – No-Go Area is an on board service that would provide vessels a live picture of where it cannot safely go along its intended route, highlighting concerns such as environmentally protected areas and shallow stretches of water
Resilient Position Navigation Timing (PNT) – A robust service that provides, primarily, the mariner with their position and navigation – Using back-up systems that mitigate the vulnerability of GNSS.
Tactical Route Exchange & route suggestion – This service allows mariners to communicate their intended routes with each other and Vessel Traffic Services. It will also allow VTS centres to suggest the most efficient/safe routes to the vessel
Inter-VTS Exchange Services – This is a harmonised means of sharing VTS information between different operators, possibly in different countries, to give Vessel Traffic Service a greater situational awareness
Maritime Safety Information/Notices to Mariners Services (MSI/NM) – This service provides the mariner with this information in an electronic form for quick display on an ECDIS.
Trading worldwide without electronic tools is no longer an option, young navigators and crew are switched on to digital technology and they want to have this new technology at their fingertips rather than the messy, slow and labour and paper-intensive methods of the past.
Tor Svanes, the founder and CEO of NAVTOR, believes that electronic chart and display information systems (ECDIS) is now a must have navigational tool in the modern era.
ECDIS has become the modus operandi on all ships, even those working on vessels that are not so modern.
“Navigating the future of shipping is crucial and young navigators no longer want to use paper charts, they are time consuming and far less accurate than their electronic counterparts,” explained Svanes.
According to Svanes, modern ECDIS systems overlaid with passage planning, regulatory information and weather reports, among other things is far easier operationally for crew. Svanes accepts that in the beginning there were teething problems, but he adds, “There is very little negativity about ECDIS these days, it has more integration with other systems and other equipment while updating charts with other data is a simple download.”That means that systems are always up to date and with modern systems the standardization of the display is simple, believes Svanes. What is more with new displays all reports can be available in one window.
According to Svanes, modern ECDIS systems overlaid with passage planning, regulatory information and weather reports, among other things is far easier operationally for crew. Photo: Navtor
The biggest change for ECDIS will come in 2024
However, the biggest change for ECDIS will come in 2024 with the changes to chart formats. “Practically it won’t be that much of change,” Svanes partially corrects himself, “But the systems upgrades may mean that some operators will require new systems,” he admits.
There won’t be any “backwards regulation” says Svanes but operators will need a system that complies with the new standard. And that will offer charts with more data and more detail, finer scale and more accurate, clearer displays.
What is more is that new chart displays will have the capability of displaying new regulations or regional regulations on screen allowing crew to plan a voyage with accuracy and knowledge of the weather conditions and the different regulatory regimes it will be sailing into.
A significant example is the latest offering from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which introduced the IMO 2020 sulfur cap on 1 January 2020. Following the sulfur regulation there will be a regulation on the carriage of HFO, ballast regulations will be in place and a raft of decarbonization measures expected in the near future.
Other more regional regulations, such as the discussions over a new Mediterranean emissions control area (ECA), which have started the process for an all Mediterranean agreement to match those in the Baltic and the US, and it is these regional rules that make the regulatory map complex for vessel operators.
In addition to the international and regional rules there are an increasing number of port rules, these regulations are very localized and can vary widely, meaning masters have a tough time knowing which regulations apply at the various destinations to which they are travelling, with a number of ports called on any particular voyage.
“Navigating the future in shipping necessarily requires the industry to navigate away from its old operational measures and into a digital realm that is developing fast, and is fast developing the maritime sector,” said Svanes. Photo: Navtor
It is important for masters to be aware of local regulations. For example Port Everglades in the U.S. prohibits the discharge of ballast water, including the discharge of treated ballast water within the port. Whereas in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, above the water line hull cleaning and painting is prohibited as is boiler and economizer blow down, grey water discharge and underwater hull cleaning.
Failure to meet these complex regulations can be costly with severe fines, particularly in the EU and US waters, the need for clarity is real. NAVTOR’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that it signed with Total Marine Solutions (TMS) offers owners and operators the kind of clarity that is needed to avoid falling foul of regulatory authorities.
Complex regulations often require advanced and costly mitigation technologies such as ballast water treatment systems or scrubbers, or even just low sulphur fuel where crew will need to test blends, make sure that tanks are cleaned and that the switch to a more expensive fuel is safe.
As the regulations change masters need to know which rules apply in each region and what mitigating actions need to be implemented to make certain that the vessel that they are operating remains compliant in all jurisdictions.
TMS launched its Ocean Guardian software in 2017 and it is designed to offer advice to crew and simplify the regulatory requirements as the ship heads into new regional jurisdictions, pertaining to port restrictions as well as mandatory rules on emissions and ballast water, so that the crew are prepared for what lies ahead.
Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons, President of TMS, said, ““This kind of collaboration – with expert partners leveraging each other’s skills and technology – is the way forward for an increasingly demanding maritime industry.”
In offering an e-navigation system with regulatory updates NAVTOR MD Tor Svanes believes that the most pressing issue for the service provider here is to make certain that all the information is correct and is up to date.
Gaute Fossmark, the environmental officer at NAVTOR, believes that this is a crucial issue for the combined systems. “Using data supplied by TMS the updating of changes to regulations is fully automatic, so that the customer does not need to worry about updates to the software, they see no updates,” he said.
TMS’s technical department makes certain that all data is harvested and updates its systems on a bi-weekly basis, while NAVTOR updates its electronic navigation chart (ENC) every week.
Fossmark believes that the regulatory regime is becoming increasingly complex with new rules applied at ports, “regional and port regulations are the hardest to get hold of,” according to Fossmark, with special rules applied by some ports for items such as waste management.
These changes offer substantial cultural and work-related changes for crew, but the biggest change so far has been the switch to ECDIS from paper charts. The next move will be an upgrade to the systems expected in 2024 which will see higher definition charts and better software.
“Navigating the future in shipping necessarily requires the industry to navigate away from its old operational measures and into a digital realm that is developing fast, and is fast developing the maritime sector,” concluded Svanes.
Historically, vetting was performed by retirees from the oil majors. Their judgements were to a large extent trusted by industry as they were known to the various parties and they in turn knew the values and the cultures of the various companies that they were interacting with.
In the intervening years vetting has moved on considerably, but there is a general sense that the quality of discussions between inspectors and operators has declined.
In 1992 the SIRE system came into force. One of its primary drivers was to reduce the vetting burden, and within a year a uniform inspection format was designed to replace the individual programmes in place. The system ran relatively smoothly following its introduction.
The next major step change came in 1999 in the wake of the Erika incident. Inevitably, this incident led to increased focus on clearance and vetting. Almost overnight a whole generation of vessels – notably single hull VLCCs – became unacceptable overnight.
A further step change came in the wake of the 2002 Prestige incident. Pior to that oil companies had basically taken the view that owners had a ‘right’ to get their ship inspected. Following Prestige the attitude increasingly taken was that if a vessel did not correspond with the oil companies minimum age and type requirements they no longer felt an automatic obligation to inspect the vessel. Oil companies also stopped issuing letters saying that a vessel was satisfactory, confining themselves in writing to thanking owners for participating in their onboard inspection programme: nothing more nothing less.
There is a popular view in industry that this marked an important turning point in the quality of dialogue between the stakeholders in the vetting process. Vetting organisation typically felt – for fear of litigation if something went wrong – that they could no longer tell the owner whether a ship passed an inspection.
Around 2004, the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) issued the Tanker Self-Management Assessment scheme, an ambitious effort to get owners to focus on a continuous quality approach.
Fast forwarding to the present, it can be seen that impressive steps have been taken toward harmonising requirements and harnessing new technology. But the cost and complexity of compliance has multiplied too. Many now see vetting ‘as an industry within the industry’, with an annual estimated cost of US$300 million – US$500 million.
Today the likelihood that an inspector is a former Master is increasingly remote. Now it is not unusual for former Masters to be lured out of retirement, back into their shipowning companies at some expense, so that the letter of an oil major’s matrix requirement can be fulfilled. It is open to question whether such an approach fulfils the spirit of oil majors’ safety requirements.
Many within the industry regard inspectors as ‘distant contractors’ with less of a relationship with the oil companies than their predecessors. In parallel, people within the vetting organisations have changed, and many new owners, operators and trading entities have entered into the market, increasing the distance between owner/operator and vetting organisation.
Wallem’s head of shipmanagement in Europe, Dave Martin, makes the point in this issue that another of the inspection companies makes it a key performance indicator for inspectors to achieve a certain number of observations per ship. “This reduces the value of the inspection from one about quality of operation to one that is purely observations,” he says.
Other tensions are being reported in the wider industry. Inspections are supposed to be done in an operational mode according to SIRE, but many oil companies will only accept them when they are done in discharge ports, which places huge constraints and pressures on crew and vessel operations. The number of inspections that vessels need to field is another concern. And there are now stories circulating of oil companies insisting that the CEO of a shipping company routinely visit vessels. While a visit from top management can be good for morale and motivation, it is questionable whether this should be enshrined within the Vessel Inspection Questionnaire that is the bible that inspectors use, and can cite as authority for a negative observation.
So what’s the bottom line? Industry needs one system that is trusted, harmonised and transparent. Useful headway is being made in this direction through industry associations, notably Intertanko and OCIMF, but the industry mood music indicates we are not there yet. TST
This process applies to vessels regulated by the SIRE and EBIS programs, cargo ships, and tugs.
On May 11th, 2020 a new process has been implemented with the following main changes:
Vessels are required to be screened each time they are nominated by Repsol Group.
Repsol Vetting does not pre-approve vessels.
Technical Operators of the vessels that need to pass the vetting process do not need to fill out the Repsol Vetting questionnaire.
The Vetting assessment starts with a request from any Commercial department within Repsol Group and is regulated by the Repsol Vetting Process and Marine Safety Criteria document, which can be downloaded below.
If you are interested in arranging an individual inspection for your vessel at your own expense, please email us a formal request at least five days beforehand indicating the port, date, local agents, and type of operations. Our main inspection areas are located in Europe and America.
OECD figures have estimated one billion TEU in transit by 2030, with Asia leading the increase in volume. Today over 400 million lithium ion batteries and over 15 billion aerosols are said to be produced annually. All these numbers suggest that the container fire risk may get worse; it is estimated that onboard today’s largest vessels of 22,000 TEU, there is more than 4 times the risk of having that one problem container onboard and the consequences of a fire is also more than 4 times as great.
Major fire accidents at sea
2019 produced a significant number of hazardous cargo fires onboard with the most reported being as follows:
On 3 January, the containership “Yantian Express” sustained major fire off Bermuda. 198 containers onboard the ‘Yantian Express’ were estimated to be a total loss.
On 29 January, fire broke out in the engine room onboard Maersk’s Panamax containership “Olga Maersk” on route from Panama to Cartagena.
On 31 January, Vietnamese Coast Guard responded to a cargo fire on the container ship “APL Vancouver” off Vung Ro, Vietnam.
On 14 February, ER Kobe that suffered a fire when three containers on deck loaded with charcoal caught fire while the boxship was heading from Haiphong to Qingdao and later became engulfed in flames again.
On 10 March, Italian con/ro “Grande America” caught fire, approximately 140 nm off Finistère, forcing all 27 members of her crew to abandon ship; it sank after two days.
On 28 May, fire onboard KMTC containership was reported due to mis-declared chemical cargoes of calcium hypochlorite and chlorinated paraffin wax.
Tacking misdeclaration may well be a first line of defense
Experts from the Gard P&I Club noted that most container fires are associated with cargo misdeclaration which remains a key industry challenge. Namely, between 2014 and 2017, Gard was involved in 13 container cargo fire cases of some significance; six cases involved calcium hypochlorite which is very common chemical product used for water purification, but at the same time it can be very hazardous. In this regard, the International Group of P&I Clubs together with CINS jointly issue guidelines that can essentially be considered “IMDG Code plus precautions”.
‘No matter how carefully cargo is booked, there will still be fires originating in containers’, Gard’s Alf Martin pointed out during a conference on containership fires in Arendal in October, suggesting that a holistic approach is vital. TT Club mentioned that approximately two out of three fire incidents are the result of poor practice in the overall packing process of dangerous goods, which are often misidentified or undeclared. Moreover, the way large containerships are constructed today poses many challenging to the crew when a major fire breaks out since the accommodation, lifeboats and rafts are in close vicinity to containers.
SOLAS and firefighting: Where we stand
Industry stakeholders have identified that the SOLAS requirements may not be adequate for today’s larger container carriers. It is also noted that there are still certain fire safety arrangements not included in the SOLAS Regulations.
‘’We believe the mode of firefighting set out in SOLAS is not suitable for a modern containership…We suggest creating individual fire compartments below deck to prevent fire from spreading. These compartments would be fitted with fixed Co2 and water-based firefighting systems.’’ alerted IUMI’s Helle Hammer.
According to SOLAS, containerships built after 1 January 2016 must have:
At least one water mist lance capable of penetrating a container wall.
If 5 or more tiers of containers are carried on or above weather deck, ships with a breadth up to 30 meters are to have at least two mobile water monitors, and for vessels with a breadth exceeding 30 meters there are to be at least four.
However, when it comes to modern large container vessels, there is no regulation demanding firefighting means when cargo on deck rises 30meters above deck level.
IUMI calls for action
During the IMO’s 101st Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) meeting in June 2019, IUMI raised its concerns and received support from various quarters, including IACS. Now, in partnership with the German flag state, IUMI is calling for additional support from flag administrations and other stakeholders to bring this issue to IMO’s agenda in 2020.
In addition, IUMI took the chance to alert on the situation and call the shipping industry to improve its existent onboard firefighting systems and seafarers’ training, as both seem to lack of efficiency in these challenging times. Helle Hammer, Chair of IUMI’s Policy Forum noted that fire-fighting capabilities onboard containerships are deficient and therefore, industry needs to see more headway to improve the safety of the crew, the environment, the cargo and the ships themselves.
The issue of mis-declaration or non-declaration of cargo seriously affects the safety implications of a vessel and result to incidents. This is because cargo areas have high potential of fire eruption, so all precautions should be taken to ensure that inflammable cargoes are kept in isolated conditions. Concerning mis-declaration of cargoes, Hapag Lloyd previously announced a penalty of USD 15,000 per container for those who fail to properly offer and declare hazardous cargoes prior to their shipment.
In the same length, IUMI proposes IMO to strengthen fire protection in the cargo area of container vessels; amend SOLAS by explicitly including active and/or passive fire protection on board new container vessels; and consider the need to address the firefighting equipment of existing container vessels.
Previously, IUMI had launched a position paper to IMO, providing recommendations on improving firefighting systems onboard vessels as follows:
Responsible authorities, class and relevant industry stakeholders should engage in discussions on how to further improve the fire detection, protection and firefighting capabilities on board container vessels.
Implementation of new and improved measures to fight fires on container vessels will not only protect the vessel and the cargo, but also the lives and wellbeing of the crew.
Concluding Gard’s conference, Mr Martin shared his suggestions to move forward with effective firefighting and highlighted that there is a need for much faster alarms from a cargo hold on fire; water monitors permanently installed on lashing bridges; build higher lashing bridges on deck or install “masts” to improve the reach of fire monitors; protect hatch covers by water to stop a fire going through; install water sprinkler systems in all cargo holds, not just in holds for dangerous cargoes; arrange for water curtains to protect superstructure and lifesaving craft and insulate all boundaries of the engine room in purpose- built container vessels, not just the decks.
The pandemic has sent shockwaves through global maritime transport and laid the foundations for a transformed industry and associated supply chains. UNCTAD expects a return to growth in 2021
Global maritime trade will plunge by 4.1% in 2020 due to the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19, UNCTAD estimates in its Review of Maritime Transport 2020, released on 12 November.
The report warns that new waves of the pandemic that further disrupt supply chains and economies might cause a steeper decline. The pandemic has sent shockwaves through supply chains, shipping networks and ports, leading to plummeting cargo volumes and foiling growth prospects, it says.
According to the report, the short-term outlook for maritime trade is grim. Predicting the pandemic’s longer-term impact as well as the timing and scale of the industry’s recovery is fraught with uncertainty.
“The global shipping industry will be at the forefront of efforts towards a sustainable recovery, as a vital enabler of the smooth functioning of international supply chains,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. “The industry must be a key stakeholder helping adapt ‘just-in-time efficiency’ logistics to ‘just-in-case’ preparedness,” he added.
UNCTAD expects maritime trade growth to return to a positive territory and expand by 4.8% in 2021, assuming world economic output recovers. But it highlights the need for the maritime transport industry to brace for change and be well prepared for a transformed post-COVID-19 world.
Figure 1: Development of international maritime trade and global output, 2006–2020
Responses to the pandemic
At the peak of the crisis, when the contraction of cargo volumes brought an additional challenge to structural market imbalance, the report notes, the container shipping industry adopted more discipline, cutting capacity and reducing costs to maintain profitability instead of market share.
As a result, freight rates remained at stable levels despite the depressed demand. From the perspective of shippers, these strategies meant severe space limitations to transport goods and delays in delivery dates.
To cope with pandemic-related disruptions, players in the maritime sector adjusted their operations, finances, sanitary and safety protocols as well as working practices and procedures.
In addition, several governments, through their border agencies, port authorities and customs administrations, made reforms to keep trade flowing while keeping people safe.
“Border agents, port workers and customs officials play an essential role in keeping trade moving, helping us to navigate through the crisis,” Dr. Kituyi said. “It will be important to assess the best practices that emerge from their experiences to strengthen trade facilitation in the years to come.”
Whither globalization, decarbonization?
While COVID-19 has underscored the global interdependency of nations, it has raised existential questions about globalization and added weight to the pushback against outsourcing from distant locations, the report says.
“The pandemic brought into sharp focus the topic of supply chain shortening, including nearshoring and reshoring, with less dependence on just-in-time and lean inventory models,” the report states. COVID-19 has also brought to the fore the debate over diversifying production and manufacturing sites and suppliers, it adds.
The pandemic has also exposed how unprepared the world seemed to be in the face of such a crisis, the report observes, underscoring the urgent need to invest in risk management and emergency response preparedness in transport and logistics.
It says future-proofing the maritime supply chain and managing risks requires greater visibility and agility of door-to-door transport operations.
UNCTAD’s director of technology and logistics, Shamika N. Sirimanne, said the pandemic should not push to the back burner action to combat climate change in shipping. Therefore, post-COVID-19 recovery policies should support further progress towards green solutions and sustainability.
“The momentum of current efforts to address carbon emissions from shipping and the ongoing energy transition away from fossil fuels should be maintained,” she said.
Figure 2: Annual carbon-dioxide emissions per vessel by vessel type, 2019
Harnessing the digital transformation
The pandemic has also strengthened the case for digitalization and eliminating paperwork in the shipping industry, including in ports, the report observes, reinforcing the need for standards and interoperability in electronic documentation.
Many trade facilitation measures taken during the pandemic require further investments in digitalization and automation. Accepting digital copies instead of paper originals, pre-arrival processing, electronic payments and customs automation all help speed up international trade.
On the flip side, the pandemic has also highlighted that digitalization comes with increased cyber security risks with a potential to cripple supply chains and services in global maritime trade.
The report decries the humanitarian and safety crisis caused by the pandemic, when more than 300,000 seafarers were stranded at sea for months beyond the end of their contracts – an unsustainable situation for both the safety and wellbeing of seafarers, and the safe operation of ships.
UNCTAD reiterates its call to authorities to designate seafarers as key workers exempted from COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Trends that preceded the pandemic
Besides focusing strongly on the impact of the pandemic during 2020, the report provides in-depth and detailed coverage on global maritime trade in 2019.
It says COVID-19 hit world trade after an already weak 2019, in which global maritime trade lost further momentum as trade tensions continued to bite.
They included China-US tensions, uncertainties around Brexit, complaints made by several countries against Indian tariffs, the Japan-Korea trade dispute and general moves towards protectionism. The report estimates that tariffs cut the volume of maritime trade by 0.5% in 2019.
Other notable facts and figures on global maritime trade in 2019 include the following:
Iron ore trade fell for the first time in 20 years, by 1.5%, due to disruptions such as the Vale dam collapse in Brazil and Cyclone Veronica in Australia.
Brazil overtook the US as the world’s largest seaborne grain exporter.
As of March 2020, an estimated 20% of global trade in manufacturing intermediate products originated in China, up from 4% in 2002.
The deployment of larger container vessels often increases total transport costs across the logistics chain. The capacity of the largest container vessel went up by 10.9%, but it’s mainly the carriers that benefit from the economies of scale offered by larger vessels, while ports and inland transport providers don’t necessarily benefit.
Ports are showing more interest in strengthening connections with the hinterland to get closer to shippers and ‘anchor’ cargo volumes – in line with the push for port-centric solutions over recent years.
China, Greece and Japan remain the top three ship-owning countries in terms of cargo-carrying capacity, representing 40.3% of the world’s tonnage and 30% of the value of the global fleet.
Liberia, the Marshall Islands and Panama remain the three leading flags of registration, in terms of carrying capacity and of value of the fleet registered. As of 1 January 2020, they represented 42% of the carrying capacity and 33.6% of the value of the fleet.
The flags of Iran, Taiwan (province of China) and Thailand registered the highest increases in terms of deadweight tonnage. The number of ships flying the flag of Iran quadrupled – this was due to the pressure of sanctions, which led several registries to de-flag vessels associated with trade involving the country.
Meanwhile, UNCTAD has updated its maritime profiles with 2019 data, providing a basic snapshot of each country’s situation on maritime transport and international trade, facilitating convenient cross-country comparisons.
Fincantieri, in close cooperation with the virology lab of the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, ICGEB, has developed an innovative next-generation air sanitation system called “Safe Air”, which will further significantly improve the quality and cleanliness of the air onboard cruise ships.
As part of its commitment to the health and safety of its guests and crew, MSC Cruises will be the first cruise operator which will install this new and advanced technology on MSC Seashore, the first of the two “Seaside Evo” class ships. MSC Seashore is currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard and will be the largest and one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships ever built in Italy.
The “Safe Air” sanitation system was developed by Fincantieri’s designers and technicians and the virology lab of the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, ICGEB, a leading research institute headquartered in Trieste, Italy. The Institute provides businesses with scientific support to develop innovative technological solutions for the control of virus infections, which is particularly relevant today given the current global health crisis. The new next-generation air sanitation system will be based on the technology of UV-C lamps, i.e. type C ultraviolet rays, applied in combination with the air conditioning system. In this way, the airflow will be radiated at the source with a short wavelength light, hitting the organic particles and thereby preventing the circulation of air pollutants such as viruses, bacteria, and mold.
As with all MSC Cruises newbuilds, MSC Seashore – which is due to enter into service in 2021 – will also feature some of the latest technologies and solutions available to reduce her environmental footprint. These notably include a state-of-the-art Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system and a next-generation Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) system. The SCR systems reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90 percent through advanced active emissions control technology. While the AWT systems take wastewater through a comprehensive process of purification and very fine filtration that transforms it into nearly tap-water quality.
MSC Seashore will also be fitted with shore-to-ship power capabilities that allow the vessel to connect to local power grids while at berth, further reducing air emissions.
MSC Cruises recently demonstrated its commitment to health and safety for its guests, crew, and communities it visits when in August it became the first major line to return to sea with a new rigorous well-being protocol approved by a range of national and regional authorities following a global shutdown of the industry in March as a result of the global pandemic ashore.
The new health and safety protocol, in fact, went beyond the guidance from the relevant authorities to set a new standard for the cruise industry, particularly with respect to universal testing.
All guests go through universal health screening before boarding a ship which comprises three comprehensive steps – a temperature check, a review of a personal health questionnaire, and a COVID-19 antigen swab test. The crew is tested up to three times before being permitted to start their work.
Other aspects of the health and safety protocol cover elevated sanitation and cleaning, protected ‘bubble type’ shore excursions, facemasks and maintaining social distancing, enhanced onboard medical facilities, daily health monitoring, and a robust contingency plan.
The protocol was designed by MSC Cruises’ in-house specialists in medical services, public health and sanitation, hotel services, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, other shipboard engineering systems, information technology, and logistics.
A Blue-Ribbon COVID-19 Expert Group was also established that comprises a panel of internationally respected highly qualified professionals whose role is to inform and review the MSC Cruises’ protocol to ensure that the line’s actions are appropriate, effective, and informed by the best available science and health practices.
The protocol has been in operation since 16 August when MSC Grandiosa resumed sailing in the West Mediterranean. She has now completed eighth successful and safe voyages for thousands of guests and will be joined by MSC Magnifica on October 19th with cruises in the West and East Mediterranean.
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