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The case for autonomous ships keeps getting stronger as evidence of its commercial viability gathers pace, says One Sea eco-system lead Paivi Haikkola, who is in Singapore to attend Sea Asia 2019.

The main advantage relates to cost savings especially in fuel consumption with electricity powering more of the propulsion, she explained. The greater use of electricity as opposed to fuel also plays a role in reduced emissions as the maritime industry looks toward the global sulphur cap of 0.5% for marine fuels coming into effect next year.

Another push for autonomous shipping comes from the safety dimension, with the sensors on board to provide greater situational awareness, she added.

One Sea works with marine technology firms, ports, safety organisations, class societies and related companies to “further anything to do with maritime,” Haikkola explained. Founded in 2016 and led by innovation accelerator DIMECC (Digital, Internet, Materials & Engineering Co-Creation), One Sea is backed by Business Finland but its activities have repercussions far beyond its borders.

Research funding agency Business Finland had earlier financed Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications (AAWA) research.

There has been steady progress since One Sea’s founding, with Finnish legislators having authorised the DIMECC-managed Jaakonmeri Test Area off Finland’s west coast as the world’s first zone open for testing autonomous maritime traffic. Other areas internationally are being explored for similar tests.

Autonomous vessels may account for up to 17% of global shipping by 2040 according to a recent World Maritime University study but some sectors are likely to embrace it sooner than others.

“Short sea shipping where vessels move back and forth on the same route, road ferry types,” are candidates for early adoption, Haikkola said. Geographic areas catering to such marine traffic include northern Europe and parts of Asia.



Danish shipping authorities have adopted a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), which uses drones to detect emissions levels from ships.

The maritime emissions drone system, developed by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), is to be deployed along the Great Belt region where large tankers travel to and from the Baltic Sea. UAS Skeldar V-200 drones equipped with sulphur gas sensors, or “sniffers”, capable of detecting the sulphur emissions of individual vessels, will fly into ships’ exhaust plumes and transmit the resulting emissions data directly to the relevant authorities in Denmark. Where ships are found to have breached the EU’s maritime emissions regulations, the offence will be reported in THETIS-EU, EMSA’s port control information system.

The implementation of RPAS monitoring is expected to boost enforcement of the EU Sulphur Directive, which limits passenger vessels to fuels with a maximum sulphur content of 1.5 per cent. Since the Directive capped sulphur emissions from shipping, emissions around control regions have fallen by more than 50 per cent; with an average fuel compliance rate of 93 per cent. Enforcement of the Directive in Denmark is the duty of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency with the support of the Danish Maritime Authority, which shores up the agency’s work by conducting in-port ship inspections.

Along with the Fuel Sulphur Content sniffer system, the maritime emissions drone will be equipped with cameras capable of photographing vessels during daytime and at night; as well as an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver to enable the RPAS to identify and track offending ships. Authorities will be able to track the flight path of the drone in real time using EMSA’s RPAS data centre, which provides flight details, images, video and measurement data. EMSA has developed RPAS solutions to assist in maritime surveillance operations in a number of fields, including detection and prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, drug trafficking and illegal immigration.




Reaping the full benefits of incident investigations is a complex challenge. DNV GL integrated human, organizational and technical dimensions, also known as its “HOT” approach, to help Carnival Corporation & plc develop a more efficient investigation process with outcomes that have greater impact.

DNV GL’s experience from a range of hazardous industries suggests that while most companies are relatively confident about their incident notification and lesson-sharing systems, they often struggle with the critical step in between: the effectiveness of their investigation process.

The maritime industry takes a predominantly reactive approach to high-frequency safety events and human error – action is typically taken after the damage has occurred, rather than proactively. The industry is still learning to understand that reducing occupational accidents has little or no effect on the number of major accidents with more complex causes and more severe consequences. Limiting the focus of attention to the symptoms of malfunctioning systems, or blaming someone who made a mistake, has little effect on the more underlying causes of an accident.

Identifying root causes of incidents

What is needed is a standardized, systematic and traceable investigation methodology that allows companies to identify the root causes of incidents and derive the necessary cultural changes. The incident investigation process should be embedded in a safety management system that unearths underlying causes, explaining both how and why processes in the safety management system succeed or fail. When this is clear, systemic measures for improvement can be identified.

Because of its sheer size and global reach, Carnival Corporation & plc (Carnival), the world’s largest leisure travel company, plays an important role in setting safety standards for the industry. This includes learning from near misses, incidents and accidents to prevent reoccurrence. When performing incident investigations, Carnival was facing the same challenges many in the maritime industry struggle with.

Richard Brilliant, Chief Audit Officer heading Carnival’s Risk Advisory & Assurance Services (RAAS), explains: “We understood that investigations are a powerful tool for learning and improving. Taking a critical look at our processes, we realized there were opportunities to reduce the amount of time it took to perform investigations, to make sure the content and format of reports were appropriate, and that we had a five-star organizational and process model that supported investigator competency and investigation quality.”

HOT dimensions of safety management

In pursuing its continuous improvement philosophy, Carnival launched an initiative to assess their incident investigation process against best practice, with an emphasis on identifying the root causes of incidents. Asked to assist Carnival in this process, DNV GL offered its “HOT” approach that highlights the interdependencies between the human (H), organizational (O) and technological (T) dimensions to optimize management performance and foster a mature organizational culture.

In this scheme, the management system assessment (O) is based on DNV GL’s International Sustainability Rating System (ISRS), which represents best practice in safety and sustainability management. It is designed to help customers understand how to manage complex and emerging risks and demonstrate to their stakeholders that their risks are under control. Incident investigation is included in the ISRS “Learning from Events” process.

DNV GL’s approach to safety culture assessment (H) includes a tool for digging into the underlying causes of identified weaknesses in safety performance. It reveals discrepancies between the intended processes of a safety management system and what actually happens on the work floor.

The combination of these two assessments helps organizations chart gaps between their governance on risk (risk management in theory) and the employee perception of risk (risk management in practice).



Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement (TCM) has introduced electronic payment and phased out cash payment for its crew employed on vessels under its management.

Under an agreement with global maritime payments provider ShipMoney, the electronic payment solution means the seafarers will have control and access to their wages while onboard ships, including the timing and currency of remittances sent home.

The solution will also significantly reduce the need for large amounts of cash to be delivered to ships and eliminate the need for TCM to administer individual crew wire payments sent to home bank accounts.

ShipMoney is rolling out its service to 90 vessels consisting of tankers, containers, and dry bulk vessels following a successful trial.

“By introducing ShipMoney, we’ve been able to streamline the onboard crew payment process across the fleet by enhancing the safety in money transfer, reducing costs, saving time and providing a new benefit to our valued crewmembers and their families,” said Harry Katsipoulakis, cfo of TCM.

Stuart Ostrow, president of ShipMoney, commented: “One of the important benefits to the deal relates to foreign exchange, which is often a hidden cost for crew. The majority of today’s crew are contracted and paid in US dollars and most employers remit individual US dollar wire payments to individual seafarer bank accounts. If the seafarer’s home bank account is not denominated in dollars, then the receiving bank has complete control over the conversion from US dollars to the currency of the crew member’s account.”

Ostrow continued: “A 2017 World Bank study identified that banks are the most expensive option when converting currency with an average cost of approximately 11%. Mobile Money offered the least expensive option at less than 4%. Over the life of a crew member’s career, this differential could be substantial.



On 24 January, the IMO issued updated guidelines on fatigue.  This is just another in a long series of band aids that attempt to cover over the problem without providing a solution.  

Fatigue is a long-standing weakness in the maritime industry.  It is recognized as a major or contributing causal factor in the majority of maritime casualties.  As is well-known, fatigue is caused by a lack of sleep and relaxation.  These, in turn, are the result of too few people being tasked with too much work.  Guidance on how to recognize and manage fatigue is meaningless.

The root cause of fatigue among the personnel on merchant vessels is that those vessels are insufficiently crewed.  The minimum manning levels recommended by the IMO and mandated by flag administrations are inadequate and have been so for years.  No one ship operator can afford to crew its vessels above the minimum level because that would put those vessels at an economic disadvantage against its competitors.  All vessels operating in similar trades must increase their crew levels simultaneously.

Attempts at fatigue management
The IMO and the flag administrations have taken a helpful step in addressing the fatigue problem by establishing maximum work hours and minimum rest hours.

In 1997, the IMO adopted major amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention), along with the accompanying STCW Code.  Among other things, the Convention stated that each Administration shall, for the purpose of preventing fatigue, establish and enforce rest periods for watch keeping personnel.  The Code was more explicit, stating that watch keepers shall be provided a minimum of 10 hours of rest in any 24-hour period and not less than 70 hours of rest in each seven-day period.  The 2010 Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code, which came into effect on 1 January 2012, expanded the rest requirement to a minimum of 77 hours in any 7-day period.  Administrations are further enjoined to require that records of daily hours of rest of seafarers be maintained in a standardized format to allow for monitoring and verification of compliance by the Administration and during port state control examinations.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has long-recognized the dangers presented by fatigue in the transportation sector.  It stated in a recent report: Because “powering through” fatigue is simply not an acceptable option, fatigue management systems need to allow individuals to acknowledge fatigue without jeopardizing their employment.  Likewise, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) considers seafarer fatigue to be a potentially serious issue which is detrimental to safety at sea and the health of seafarers.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) found the following:

Everyone has experienced fatigue at some point, but in the transport industry, where there’s often high pressure to deliver, fatigue can have very real, very dangerous implications.  Fatigue can have a range of adverse influences on human performance, such as slowed reaction time, decreased work efficiency, reduced motivational drive, and increased variability in work performance.  Fatigue can lead to lapses or errors associated with attention, problem-solving, memory, vigilance and decision-making.  Most people generally underestimate their level of fatigue.  Studies have found that people experiencing fatigue are not able to evaluate accurately their own fatigue level or their ability to perform. Instead, they tend to overestimate their abilities.

The time is overdue for flag administrations and port state control regimes to vigorously enforce those record keeping requirements.  There are suspicions that, on many ships, the watch keeping hours are under reported and the hours of rest are over reported.  Only detailed and careful review of those records can reveal the truth.

Crewing Levels
Only when the crewing level of ships is increased to an appropriate level will crew fatigue become manageable.

The IMO should immediately undertake a thoughtful analysis of vessel crewing requirements.  Technological advancements may have reduced the level of physical labor on ships, but it has had minimal impact on work hours.  For example, ECDIS, when operating properly, may have made it easier to identify where a vessel is located.  The watch officer is still expected, nay, required to verify this visually and by radar.  Instruments may tell the engineer that a motor has failed, but repairs must still be done manually.

Vessel owners and operators for years have pushed, successfully, for reductions in minimum crewing levels.  The time has come for flag administrations, port states, and the IMO to push back. Covering over the fatigue problem with yet more management guidance is not a solution.




IMO Urges Users Of GPS-SPS To Check Their Systems Ahead Of GPS Roll-Over


Maritime users of the Global Positioning System Standard Positioning Service (GPS-SPS) are urged to check their systems ahead of the week counter roll over on 6 April 2019. Some outdated GPS receiver systems may cease to function properly – with potentially serious impacts on navigation.


The roll over occurs because the GPS system transmits time to GPS receivers using a format of time and weeks as a 10-bit value, which started from 6 January 1980, and can only count 1023 weeks. The previous roll over was on 21 August 1999, when systems reset and began counting towards week 1023 again. When the GPS system reaches week 1024, the system will revert back to week zero.


Some GPS receivers are known to be unable to make the transition from week 1023 to 1024. If the GPS receiver is outdated or has not been properly updated, the receiver will revert on 6 April 2019 to reading the week zero as August 1999. The internal clocks of these GPS receivers will experience a lack of absolute reference and may give the wrong time and position or may lock up permanently. Some of these GPS receivers are repairable with upgrades and others will become unusable.

Maritime users are advised to check the status of their receiver with their GPS manufacturer. IMO has issued a safety of navigation circular SN.1/Circ.182/Add.1 warning maritime users to take action for the roll over.

The GPS-SPS has been recognized by IMO as a component of the world-wide radionavigation system since 1996.



Maersk Pelican with Norsepower Rotor Sails installed. Image via Marsk Tankers

Finnish clean technology group Norsepower announced Tuesday that its innovative Rotor Sail Solution has received the first-ever type approval design certificate granted to an auxiliary wind propulsion system onboard a commercial ship.

The type approval from leading ship classification society DNV GL was issued in February 2019 after a design assessment of Norsepower’s 30-meter by 5-meter Rotor Sail, two of which have been installed onboard the Maersk Pelican LR2 tanker.

Norsepower says the landmark certification means that vessels operating its Rotor Sail technology are technically capable of safely navigating “all operational and environmental situations”.

The company’s Rotor Sail Solution is a modernized version of the Flettner rotor; a spinning cylinder that uses the Magnus effect to harness wind power to propel a ship and enhance fuel-saving.

Rotor Sails have already been installed on three vessels and has achieved over 35,000 hours in operation, saving more than 4,500 tonnes of CO2, according to Norsepower. The solution has also been independently verified to reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%.

Commenting on the type approval, Norsepower CEO Tuomas Riski said: “We are very proud to be the first company to have type approval granted to an auxiliary wind propulsion system onboard a commercial ship. Having a type approval design certificate is very important to us. Clearly, it provides shipowners, operators, and charterers with a level of assurance when investing in the Rotor Sail Solution, but in the long term, it removes yet another hurdle to the realization of renewable wind energy propulsion systems at a scale that supports shipping’s transformation to a low carbon transport sector.”

Last month, Norsepower was crowned the winner of the 2018 International Quality Innovation Award in recognition of its Rotor Sail Solution technology’s ability to demonstrate positive environmental contributions.

“To help reduce shipping’s environmental impact we will need many different fuel and technology options, which is why we were very pleased that Norsepower asked us to be part of this innovative wind propulsion project,” said Geir Dugstad, Director of Ship Classification and Technical Director at DNV GL.




  • PdVsA has been made a target of U.S. sanctions and added to the OFAC SDN list.
  • A number of General Licences have been issued with authorisations of varying duration to allow U.S. persons to wind down existing business with PdVSA or its subsidiaries.
  • FAQs issued by OFAC suggest (but do not explicitly confirm) that non-U.S. persons may continue to do business with PdVSA and its subsidiaries without risk of sanctions provided that restrictions on U.S. persons are observed.
  • Members are therefore recommended to exercise caution in dealings with PdVSA and subsidiaries, and to take legal advice if in any doubt as to whether any proposed transactions may incur a risk of U.S. sanctions.



Executive Order 13857 dated 25th January 2019, published by the U.S.Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), amends several previous Executive Orders to include Petroleos deVenezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) within the meaning of “Government of Venezuela”, thereby making PdVSA a sanctions target. PdVSA has also been added to the OFAC SDN list with effect from 28th January 2019.

Alongside the Executive Order, a number of general licenses have been issued, to authorise U.S. persons (both individuals and entities) to wind down or continue commercial activities relating to PdVSA and its subsidiaries, but requiring in some cases that payments can only be made to blocked accounts which PdVSA cannot access.

The following licenses,which it should be noted contain authorisations of varying lengths of validity,may be of particular relevance to Members who have business with PdVSA or its subsidiaries:

General License 7 – authorises (a) up to 27 July 2019, transactions and activities involving PDV Holding Inc (PDVH),CITGO Holding Inc. and their subsidiaries; (b) up to 28 April 2019, PDVH,CITGO Holding Inc. and their subsidiaries to engage in transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to the purchase and importation of petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA.

General License 8 – authorises up to 27 July 2019, all transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to the operations inVenezuela involving PdVSA or its subsidiaries for: Chevron Corporation, Halliburton, Schlumberger Limited, Baker Hughes, andWeatherford International.

General License 11 – authorises up to 29 March 2019 (a) U.S. person employees and contractors of non-U.S. entities located outside of the U.S. andVenezuela to engage in all transactions and activities that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the maintenance or wind down of operations, contracts, or other agreements involving PdVSA and its subsidiaries, and (b) U.S. Financial institutions to reject funds transfers involving PdVSA and non-U.S. entities located outside of the U.S. orVenezuela.The GL expressly prohibits dealings with ALBA de Nicaragua (ALBANISA).

General License 12 – authorises (a) up to 28 April 2019, all transactions and activities ordinarily incident and necessary to the purchase and import into the United States of petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA or its subsidiaries, and (b) up to 28 February 2019, all transactions ordinarily incidental and necessary to the wind down of operations, contracts, or other agreements, including the importation into the United States of goods, services, or technology not authorised under (a) involving PdVSA or its subsidiaries.

General License 13 – authorises up to 27 July 2019, all transactions where the only PdVSA entities involved are Nynas AB or any of its subsidiaries.

New FAQs providing guidance on the interpretation of the relevant Executive Orders and the General Licences have been published on the OFAC website with effect from 31 January 2019.

FAQ 657, set out below, addresses questions that may be of interest to Members who are non-U.S. persons involved in trade with PdVSA.

657. I am a non-U.S. entity that purchases petroleum and petroleum products from Petróleos deVenezuela, S.A. (PdVSA) or an entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest.Am I now prohibited from purchasing petroleum and petroleum products from these companies?

Transactions to purchase petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA or any entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, and that involve U.S. persons or any other U.S. nexus (e.g., transactions involving the U.S. financial system or U.S. commodity brokers) must be wound down byApril 28, 2019 pursuant toVenezuela-related General License 12. In addition, under General License 11,U.S. person employees and contractors of non-U.S. companies located in a country other the United States orVenezuela are authorized to engage in certain maintenance or wind-down transactions with PdVSA, or any entity in which PdVSA owns, directly or indirectly, a 50 percent or greater interest, through 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time,March 29, 2019. (See FAQ 654.) [01-31-2019]

Members may note that the answer in FAQ 657 suggests, but does not explicitly say, that non-U.S. entities may continue to purchase petroleum and petroleum products from PdVSA and its subsidiaries, provided that restrictions on U.S. entities are observed.

FAQ 657 does not, however, address the effect of Section 1 (a) (iii) of EO 13850 which provides for the blocking of all property in the U.S. of “any person” (not limited to U.S. persons) who is determined – “to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of … any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.”

The Club’s legal counsel has therefore been asked whether a non-U.S. shipowner who provides ocean transportation for PdVSA would be at risk of being regarded as providing services in support of a blocked person. The Club’s legal counsel considers it unlikely that the U.S. intends to target non-U.S. persons, bearing in mind the absence of any explicit prohibition on PdVSA shipments to third countries and an absence of wind-down licenses for such shipments. It is also considered significant that there are no specific secondary sanctions directed against insurance of targeted trades or activities.

Members are nevertheless reminded that cover remains subject to the Club’s Rule 5V which would exclude the right of recovery from the Club in circumstances where such recovery may expose the Club to a sanction or other adverse action by a competent authority or government. Members who have trading relationships with PdVSA or its subsidiaries and who could potentially be affected by the sanctions are therefore recommended to exercise caution in their dealings with PdVSA or its subsidiaries and to take legal advice on proposed trades until the situation becomes clearer.



Cleaner Marine Shipping – A global corporation called Wärtsilä is pushing “An Oceanic Awakening,” due in part to all the stuff people order online.

The awakening is taking place around a SEA20 effort, which is calling on major port cities including New York, Singapore, Hamburg, Helsinki and Rotterdam to develop a digitalized marine ecosystem – or Smart Marine – by 2020. “This encompasses connectivity, data-sharing, intelligent automation and intelligent, carbon-free vessels, which feature efficient designs, hybrid propulsion technologies and cleaner fuels for eco-friendly shipping,” says Wärtsilä, which is headquartered in Helsinski, Finland, and makes power plants and marine equipment.

How will they get it done? SEA20 has reportedly assembled key influencers from the targeted cities to participate in an online forum and ongoing series of events and workshops; including FOOD designer/founder Dong-Ping Wong, who has worked on projects for Kanye West and Nike.

How would a “smarter” Big Apple look? SEA20 reimagines it “with offshore ports allowing for pop-up test sites within the city itself – like retail hubs and fresh produce markets,” also taking pointers from ORE Design + Technology Founder/Principal Architect Thomas Kosbau, rePLACE Urban Studio’s Peter Syrett and The Dream Corps CEO Vien Truong.

Wärtsilä President and CEO Jaakko Eskola argues that shipping is the most cost-effective way to move goods and people around the world. Demand is increasing, and so are opportunities to improve operational inefficiencies that hurt profitability and sustainability:

“We simply cannot afford to wait for the marine and energy industries to evolve at their own pace. The calls for greater efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity are simply too strong to be ignored. Rapid acceleration to benefit the entire sector, as well as society at large, is urgently required, and ‘An Oceanic Awakening’ is our wake-up call to everyone, heralding the beginning of our journey to making the future of shipping and energy a reality.”

The wave seems to be growing slowly. A SEA20 Twitter forum has just over 60 followers as of this writing. But a company rep say much more participation and activity is on the horizon, including summits to be held and intelligence reports to be issued. A total of 20 port cities are being targeted.

“Hamburg, Helsinki and Rotterdam have already expressed their keen interest in joining this global initiative,” said Andrew Calzetti, a Wärtsilä spokesman. “We are in active discussions with around 10 cities at the moment and have a great many more on our radar, all of which play an important role in the marine ecosystem, either because of the volume of trade they handle, their history, or because of the investment they are making in innovative solutions which foster more sustainable shipping. We will be making those and other port announcements in due time.”

Calzetti says most issues afflicting port cities and marine industries are open-ended and highly complex, so solving them requires collaboration across disciplines.

Figures from an Energy Transition Outlook estimate that shipping will grow nearly a third by 2050, resulting in the doubling of container cargo.

While initiatives like the Paris Climate Agreement and International Maritime Organization mandates are helping address the environmental impacts of mass urbanization and shipping, few are specifically focused “on bringing a unified design vision to maritime projects that are shaping marine cities,” he said. “That, to us, signaled the need for our initiative, SEA20.”
Source: Forbes


Marine incident reporting

AMSA – Marine Safety Awareness Bulletin  Issue 8 — September 2018

Incident reporting is essential to maritime safety. When you report a marine incident to AMSA, you help shape the way maritime safety is improved.

Benefits of marine incident reporting
The information obtained from marine incidents enable us to:
 identify issues, patterns and trends
 respond to concerns
 share information with the maritime industry
 learn and improve maritime safety

Case study one
Faulty emergency generator
During routine maintenance onboard a bulk carrier, it was discovered that the emergency generator wasn’t working and needed replacing.

Case study two
Knowledge of rescue helicopters
Following a number of incident reports submitted to AMSA from vessels operating in remote areas around Australia, it became clear that the limited range of rescue helicopters was not widely known among vessel operators.

The incident reporting process

Report a marine incident that has affected, or is likely to affect, the safety, operation or seaworthiness of the vessel1. The alerts let us know that a serious event has occured. The incident report provides us detailed information about the incident, in particular the measures put in place to prevent reoccurrence.