Maritime Safety News Today – 11th January 2008

 lifeboat, lifeboat accidents, oil, oil spill, Pollution  Comments Off on Maritime Safety News Today – 11th January 2008
Jan 112008

Two dead in Baltic Sea lifeboat accident
Sydney Morning Herald – Sydney,New South Wales,Australia
Two people died and one was seriously injured in a lifeboat accident onboard a container freight ship in the Baltic Sea, officials said.

Another freighter hits bottom in Muskegon
Kalamazoo Gazette – MLive.comKalamazoo,MI,USA
The grounding of the Indiana Harbor was followed by that of another 1000-footer, the American Integrity, on Sept. 10. It wiggled free after about an hour,

Navy submarine collides with cargo ship off Diu

NEW DELHI: The collision of an Indian attack submarine, INS Sindhugosh, with a large foreign-owned cargo ship in the Arabian Sea last Monday could have meant a cold watery grave for the 53 sailors on board the underwater vessel.

Fishing vessel stranded near the rocks in outer New Bedford (3:01 pm) – New Bedford,MA,USA
He noted that the Western-rig scalloper is not yet damaged, though it sits high on rocky ground. The vessel’s crew is checking for signs of damage or

09 Jan 2008

JAKARTA 9 January – Indonesia’s Department of Transportation (DOT) blames human error for half the country’s maritime mishaps last year. Of the 79 ship accidents in 2007 that killed 558 people, 54 cases were reportedly caused by people either lacking the training to man vessels or simply being uncertified for the task at hand.
However, DOT spokesperson Umar Aris …

Standard P&I Club in wake-up call over fines and risk of jail

INFLUENTIAL mutual, the Standard P&I Club, has warned that shipping boardrooms are seriously underestimating the impact of a “breathtaking” level of fines and jail sentences imposed by the Marpol anti-pollution convention.

The Bermuda-incorporated protection and indemnity club has called on ship operators to heed the legislation it has dubbed a “multi-million dollar problem”, if they want to avoid escalating fines and their employees being sent to jail.

Standard has added its voice to a rising chorus of concern among industry representatives and insurers over the rapidly rising level of pollution-related fines and the criminalisation of seafarers in the US.

BIMCO and Intertanko last year published guidelines to members on compliance with Marpol, or the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships.

GAO – terrorism & energy commodity tankers

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report addressing challenges in preventing and responding to terrorist attacks on energy commodity tankers. The lengthy report focuses on liquefied gas carriers, but actually covers tankers carrying crude oil and refined products in addition. It recommends better planning by the Coast Guard and other agencies for a growing security workload; ensuring that ports plan deal with the economic consequences of an attack; integrating terrorism and response plans; and developing performance

Australia – caution re use of GPS and DGPS

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) issued a notice reminding mariners that even GPS and DGPS are not infallible and should not be used as the sole means of position-fixing. Older GPS receivers lack certain capabilities. Further, GPS read-outs are based on the WGS-84 geodetic datum, with the result that GPS data may not translate accurately onto charts using other datums. Note: The inability of most GPS receivers installed before 1 July 2003 to conduct Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) is known, but not well publicized. This means that the older receivers will continue to utilize signals from a GPS satellite even when the satellite is malfunctioning (newer receivers automatically discount such erroneous signals). Older GPS receivers also lack course over ground and speed over ground output and are less able to cope with signal interference. Marine Notice 29/2007 (12/21/07).

American Maritime Safety (AMS) Files Amicus Curiae (“Friend of the Court”) Brief in the United States Supreme Court

AMS brief in support of Exxon Mobil’s argument before the Supreme Court that the $2.5 billion it was ordered to pay in punitive damages in the Exxon Valdez case – one of the largest awards ever against an American company – was in conflict with more than 200 years of maritime law.


Israel ‘plotted to blow up freighter’ / Plan to keep N. Korean
The Daily Yomiuri – Osaka,Japan
JERUSALEM–Israel plotted to blow up a smuggling vessel in the Mediterranean Sea in 1991 in an attempt to block transport of ballistic missiles from North


New sharing website kicks off industry-wide asset integrity programme

Step Change in Safety has launched its 2008 programme to improve asset integrity on offshore installations with the creation of a unique sharing website.<br /><br />The first of its kind, the website aims to increase the sharing of good practice, improve companies internal learning processes and enhance communication within companies and across Industry on the key issues surrounding process safety and asset integrity....


Competency ain't worth the paper

 competence, competency  Comments Off on Competency ain't worth the paper
Dec 142007

Few of our readers had the opportunity to hear Eric Murdoch, Chief Surveyor for  the Standard Club  give his presentation “Operational errors, why they happen and what owners can do to minimise them” at the International Union of Marine Insurers meeting in Copenhagen this year, but Steve Harris of Maritime Web Award fame did.

One set of points in particular caught my eye in the Powerpoint presentation:

Seafarer training
• certificates of competency do not necessarily mean the holder can do the job
• experience or education based training schemes
• application is learnt on board not at college…know your onions
• are certificate schemes keeping up with technology?
• are junior officers promoted too quickly?

Anyone inclined to browse through accident report after accident report will certainly give an uptick to the first point. In almost every case the crewmember had the appropriate certificates and was therefore assumed to be competent. Many of those seafarers are dead.

Point Three seems to be screamingly obvious to anyone outside the industry but has made little headway within it. Competency is established in the workplace and that is where it should be measured, assessed and assured.

To put with brutal frankness, accident happen most often because, despite the paperwork, the seafarers were incompetence at the time of the incident. Nobody knew they were incompetent because they hadn’t been assessed and their trained need were not identified.

Indeed, Eric Murdoch very rightly recommends:  “…actively evaluate sea staff
competence and training needs”.

At a time when oil spills, groundings, collisions and fatalities occur at depressingly frequent intervals, Murdoch makes sound sense, not just his thoughts on competency but on other measures that could mitigate the loss of ships and human life.

What is needed is the firm resolve to bring about change.

One has to wonder where that resolve will come from.

You can get copies of the presentations at the IUMI website here .