Trieste fines move threatens ship and port safety warns Intertanko

 maritime safety news, Pollution  Comments Off on Trieste fines move threatens ship and port safety warns Intertanko
Mar 142011

Trieste threatens ship and port safety says Intertanko

The Port of Trieste has advised that, with effect from 3 March 2010, vessels using fuels with a sulphur content exceeding 0.10% by mass (in contravention of EU Directive 2005/33/EC) will be prosecuted with fine of between Euros 15,000 and 150,000 (usually 30,000 for the first offence). Exemption to the law will not be granted anymore and all eventual special authorisations issued in the past are cancelled, it states.

This means that ship and port safety may be sacrificed purely in order to generate local harbour funds. Continue reading »

Risks and regulations of ship to ship transfer ops seminar

 maritime safety, MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Risks and regulations of ship to ship transfer ops seminar
Feb 222011

UK P&I Club and UK Defence Club are hosting a seminar on Ship to Ship Transfer Operations (STS) in conjunction with and FenderCare on the 3rd March at the Piraeus Marine Club.

A growing trend in collision incidents in maritime areas allowing STS transfers has highlighted some of the complexities of liability and contractual arrangements associated with this practice as well as the potential for serious pollution or personal injury claims.

This seminar is particularly topical as amendments to MARPOL Annex I for the prevention of marine pollution during some ship-to-ship oil transfer operations entered into force on 1st January 2011.

The new chapter 8 on ‘Prevention of pollution during transfer of oil cargo between oil tankers at sea’ applies to oil tankers of 150 gross tons and above. Its provisions include a requirement that any oil tanker involved in oil cargo STS operations have on board a plan describing how to conduct STS operations (the STS Plan) which has been approved by its flag state administration, or a classification society on its behalf.

The seminar programme will address the new IMO regulations and the necessary preparations to ensure ships, their equipment, crews and chosen docking master are appropriate. Practical insights into the actual STS operation will be provided by a qualified docking master.

The UK P&I and Defence Clubs’ speaker will present on the liability and charterparty issues that may ensue from an STS incident by way of a case study.

The social reception that follows the seminar provides an opportunity for those attending to discuss points of interest with the speakers and other representatives of the companies involved.

If you wish to attend this seminar, please contact Ms Marinella Makarona at the Thomas Miller Hellas office in Piraeus either by telephone (+30 210 458 5218) or email (

Pacific Adventurer Gets Lashed For Rocking Roll

 Accident, Accident report, ATSB, Australia, container accident, containership, Pollution  Comments Off on Pacific Adventurer Gets Lashed For Rocking Roll
Jan 292011

Hull damage caused by oberboard containers

Australia’s Transport Safety Board has released its report into the lost of containers from the containership Pacific Adventurer, the subsequent holing of the hull and subsequent pollution.

The ATSB investigation found that the most plausible explanation for Pacific
’s severe, and at times violent, rolling motions was synchronous rolling, as a result of the ship’s natural roll period matching that of the encounter period of the waves experienced.

While the master took action to avoid the rolling, in accordance with the guidance in the ship’s safety management system, this action was not sufficient. The option of altering the ship’s stability by adjusting the seawater ballast in its tanks, and therefore its natural roll period, as the ship made its way up the Queensland coast, was not considered.
Much of the ship’s fixed and loose lashing equipment was in a poor condition. Continue reading »

Website of Note:

 Pollution  Comments Off on Website of Note:
Dec 102010

Is it efficient? Find out is an initiative launched by the Carbon War Room and industry-leading partners to increase information flows around international shipping’s energy efficiency and ultimately help reduce the environmental impacts of the world’s shipping fleet.

Says the website: “We understand that shipping is a highly efficient form of transport, but it is also, according to independent analysis from management consultants Booz & Co., “the largest potential energy efficiency opportunity in the transportation sector where new financing models will make a difference.”

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Only Chance Prevented North Sea Blowout Amid 2009 Spill Worries

 explosion, North Sea, oil spill, Pollution  Comments Off on Only Chance Prevented North Sea Blowout Amid 2009 Spill Worries
Nov 242010

gullfaks C

Only chance averted a sub-surface blowout or explosion, and prevented an incident from developing into a major accident says Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority. The comment, following an audit of a loss-of-control incident in May, 2010, comes at a time of increasing concern over hydrocarbon leaks and well control incidents during 2009.

The PSA calls the incident, which involved the lengthy loss of a barrier  at Statoil’s Gullfaks C platform, “very serious” and says planning for the drilling and completion operation on well C-06A featured serious and general deficiencies.

Earlier in November the authority presented a report showing that both acute crude oil spills from petroleum operations on the Norwegian continental shelf and near misses for such incidents have fallen sharply since 2001.

But the RNNP report from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) on acute discharges in 2001-2009 expresses concern at the rise in hydrocarbon leaks and well control incidents during 2009.

The results of the study, which builds on the PSA’s on-going survey of trends in risk level in Norway’s petroleum activity (RNNP), were presented to the Safety Forum on 18 November.

Coinciding with the PSA report the Australian government has released its investigation into the PTTEP Montara disaster in August last year.

Says Matin Ferguson, minister for resources and energy: “The fact is that we were lucky with Montara – no lives were lost, there were no serious injuries and the quick, coordinated response from governments, regulators and industry meant that the impact on the marine environment was minimal… Montara was the first major loss of well control in 25 years of safe offshore petroleum operations”.

The Montara report contains 100 findings and 105 recommendations, which have implications for governments, regulators, and the offshore petroleum industry. The Australian government proposes accepting 92, noting 10, and not accepting three of the Report’s recommendations.

Prestige judgement “Flawed – ECHR has badly let down seafarers”

 maritime safety, oil pollution, oil spill, oil tanker, Pollution  Comments Off on Prestige judgement “Flawed – ECHR has badly let down seafarers”
Oct 172010

imagePrestige appears to be something that the European Court of Human Rights, ECHR, has a problem earning. Its evident support for Spanish practices in the harassment of seafarers, in particular Captain Apostolos Mangouras of Prestige ill-fame is sufficiently irrational for the International and European Transport Workers Federations to send off a broadside at the weekend calling the ECHr’s decision”deeply flawed”.

In 2002, as Mangouras fought bravely to save his ship from disaster, French and Spanish authorities decided that it was better for the ship to break in two in rough weather and pollute their beaches that allow the vessel a safe haven. It was, at the very least, a decision of outrageous inhumanity. Spain got its polluted beaches, an inevitable and foreseeable result of its decision, and promptly arrested Mangouras.

Mangouras, now well into his late 60s, has yet to be tied before Spain’s criminal courts but was only released from detention in return for a blazingly irrational $4m bail and house arrest in Greece.

At least they stopped short of having him renditioned to Quantanamo Bay.

The ITF/ETC announcement captured some of the Kafka-esque flavour of Captain Mangouras’s situation:

Continue reading »

IMO CO2 Talks ‘Difficult’

 IMO, Pollution  Comments Off on IMO CO2 Talks ‘Difficult’
Oct 042010

Denmark’s Maritime Authority says that the recent round of negotiations on CO2 emissions at the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee’s 61st session were “lengthy and difficult. A number of countries tried to have some of the committee’s previous decisions in this field overturned, however without any success. But this made any progress in developing specific regulatory measures difficult.

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Could Marpol Whistleblowers Be Your Best Watchdogs?

 MARPOL, Pollution  Comments Off on Could Marpol Whistleblowers Be Your Best Watchdogs?
Sep 262010

Recently a frisson of excitement quivered its way through the industry as an American court found a ship’s master not guilty of using the notorious magic pipes to illicitly discharge oil. Dark tales, probably true, were told of barrack-room lawyers coaching Filipino seafarers in Singapore on the money they could make as whistleblowers and how to fake evidence of magic pipes. The industry may have only itself to blame.

To get things into perspective, a whistleblower does not really count for much. An accurate Oil Record Book will count for more. Oil Record Books are quite complicated instruments that must match with oil products on board. Evidence has to add up. If there are identifiable holes in ORB records, then that is evidence enough. Evidence of magic pipes hardens the case, but are not the case by themselves.

The evidence for false whistleblowing on any significant scale is actually slim. Nobody has ever been found guilty on whistleblower testimony alone. Over a large number of cases, two have been thrown out because of alleged false whistleblowing, one of which was abandoned because the whistleblower was found to have child pornography on the cellphone on which he claimed to have photos of illicit oil discharge.

It would be unwise to simply dismiss whistleblowers as using the system to take revenge on perceived slights and to make money – the financial rewards may be attractive but the personal cost to the whistleblower can be enormous.

By whistleblowing they lose respect of their peers and their superiors and their fellow seafarers. For Filipinos that is an intensely difficult position.

It’s worth noting that the reward offered is only payable if there is a successful prosecution.

Reducing the threat from a whistleblower has much to do with attitude, especially attitudes within the industry towards seafarers generally and, at another level, the attitude of ships’ officers toward those they command.

For too long, and too widely, seafarers have been treated as a disposable commodity. For the most part they are hired by manning agencies to work on ships that are managed by another company on behalf of the shipowner.

At best their loyalties are divided and probably strongest to whoever directly pays their salary.

Many seafarers are hired on a single contract with no guarantees of long term employment. Not surprisingly their commitment is short term and based on “what’s in it for me?” So if the opportunity arises to make some big money from a big corporation that does not treat you decently then, not surprisingly, whistleblowing can be a way out and a way up.

Companies should not expect loyalty from seafarers until they demonstrate long term commitment to their employees – obvious really.

You’ll get loyalty from people you treat with respect and if you put systems in place to ensure that crews are treated with respect.

One way of showing that is to have a system through which seafarers can report their concerns in confidence without putting their jobs or shipboard relationships at risk, and by making it very clear on a fleet-wide basis that breaches of Marpol are not acceptable and will be firmly dealt with.

Then the seafarer becomes the watchdog you need to enforce compliance.

In a recent case it was found that a company had rehired an engineer who had already committed Marpol violations. He then proceeded to commit further offences. No monitoring was put in place to make re-offending difficult. It is self-evident, and clearly evident to crew, that Marpol violations are acceptable on the company’s ships.

It would have been pointless reporting the engineer’s activities to the company management in such circumstances, which left the US Coast Guard as the only alternative.

Apart from that, social attitudes to environmental protection have changed significantly and it is unwise to assume that seafarers are unaffected by that change. The majority of seafarers come from countries classed as “developing economies” where environmental protection is a low priority when measured against daily needs for survival. They see first hand the deterioration of the environment around their homes but are powerless to do anything due to the enormous power gap between them and the local governing authorities. Consequently they have high expectations that the foreign owner of the ship they work in will live up to the standards so frequently espoused by corporations based in developed economies. In some cases it is more than just the money, it is being able to do something to stop the pollution.

Simply put, they want to do the right thing.

There is a number of defences against false whistleblowers: First make a commitment to your seafarers to ensure that they receive proper training and understand the how and the why of compliance with Marpol.

Second, reward them for supporting and complying with company environmental policies and procedures.

Third, have in place a system by which your seafarers can tip you off and actively investigate those tip-offs that suggest non-compliance.

Fourth, provide seafarers employed in your company with a career path and a system to manage competency that will guide and monitor their development.

Take care of their professional and personal needs and they will take care of your company.

Queensland Leans On Polluters

 maritime safety, Pollution  Comments Off on Queensland Leans On Polluters
Sep 072010
Map pictureWarns P&I Club Skuld: “Following a series of highly publicised incidents involving oil discharges and reef groundings, the Queensland Government has drastically increased maximum penalties for marine pollution and the Queensland courts are imposing greater fines than previously seen for navigational offences in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.Most significantly, the maximum penalties for discharge of oil or noxious liquid substances or harmful substances in Queensland waters have risen from AUD 1.75 million to AUD 10 million for corporations and from AUD 350,000 to AUD 500,000 for individuals. These penalties are effective as of 23 May 2010. The offences are of strict liability (ie. fault or negligence is not required) although the usual MARPOL defences are available. The government has said that these tough penalties are designed to ‘send a clear warning’ to shipping companies that breaches of marine pollution laws will not be tolerated.

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