Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
At its Nor-Shipping press conference in Oslo on 3 June DNV GL Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen (illustrated here, image kindly provided by DNV GL) emphasised the classification society’s dedication to maritime safety. Although shipping losses have declined over the last decade, challenging markets, demanding environmental regulations, and new technologies threatened to pull the industry’s focus away from marine safety, he said.
He added: ‘At a time when shipping is rapidly transforming, I believe it is crucial to put our primary focus on safety, making sure it is at the core of all changes – whether it is ways of working, technology, or regulations.
He noted there were tectonic shifts within the maritime industry on three fronts: (a) in the market, which are increasingly unpredictable; (b) in regulations, headed by the upcoming 2020 global sulphur limits; and (c) in technology, driven by the constant evolution in digitalization.
The tectonic shifts were creating their own safety challenges, Ørbeck-Nilssen said: (i) from growing ship sizes, (ii) fire risks due to new cargo types such as cars with Li-ion batteries, to (iii) environmental regulations with unintended consequences, as well as (iv) the increased risk of cyber-attack due to vessel automation and ship-to-shore connectedness.
Ørbeck-Nilssen continued by indicating that the industry needed to be both aware of these challenges, but also to embrace the opportunities they created. However, a safety net was needed to unlock these opportunities, which was where class and DNV GL could be instrumental.
He explained: ‘I have five proposals that I believe could benefit our industry and improve safety at sea. Firstly, to develop holistic regulations with safety at the core – this is a challenge to the IMO and the classification societies when they are developing rules. Secondly, to improve the safety culture within shipping companies. Thirdly, to apply barrier management lessons from other industries. The fourth proposal is to increase transparency on incident findings. And finally, to unlock data silos for deeper insights into incidents and near-misses.’
There were already many substantial examples of how DNV GL had been working on projects that built on these proposals, he said: ‘We have been working with Carnival on a holistic safety management system, which integrates the human, organizational and technical dimensions of safety to help develop a more efficient incident investigation process. Also in the cruise industry, we have developed barrier models for critical areas, such as fire in machinery or escape and evacuate. And we have carried out more than 200 surveys where we have put class and statutory findings into context by presenting the results in a barrier dashboard on the industry data platform Veracity.’
As a classification society, DNV GL was also providing safety-related research and technical expertise that was leading to informed debates and better decisions. To continue Ørbeck-Nilssen added: ‘In a recent joint development project, we tested the properties of the new Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) after a series of stern tube bearing failures were reported. Based on the results, we updated our design rules, to add a viscosity influence parameter as a safety margin.’
Furthermore, DNV GL has been sharing its expertise on critical issues such as cargo liquefaction. ØBeck-Nilssen noted: ‘In 2015, we published our first guideline for the design and operation of vessels with bulk cargo that may liquefy. This was created to raise the awareness of the risks of liquefaction and to offer mitigating actions for crews, owners and operators. We have been working on this over the past years and have published an updated version at Nor-Shipping.’
Coronavirus: Let’s keep ships moving, ports open and cross-border trade flowing
Statement on 25 March by UNCTAD Secretary-General, Dr Mukhisa Kituyi
Note: There is a series of related links to be found at the foot of this article*
‘As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, the global maritime transport industry is playing a critical role in the response.
‘A call by the industry to all governments to keep maritime trade moving by allowing commercial ships continued access to ports worldwide and by facilitating the rapid changeover of ships’ crews should not go unheeded.
‘Around 80% of global trade is transported by commercial shipping, which moves the world’s food, energy and raw materials, as well as manufactured goods and components, according to UNCTAD statistics.
‘This includes vital medical supplies, which are sorely needed at this time, and items that are necessary for the preservation of many jobs in manufacturing – without which modern society cannot function.
Trinity House has been closely monitoring the developments of the impact of COVID-19 and has followed advice provided by HM Government.
With regard to its function as the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar, the Trinity House priority is to keep staff safe while delivering its statutory functions.
The three GLAs of the UK and Ireland* are deemed essential services vital for the safety of marine navigation and the continuous flow of food, fuel, medical and hygiene supplies, along with the many other commodities upon which the nation depends daily.
In accordance with Government advice a significant majority of Trinity House personnel are now working from home where possible, but some staff are required to attend their normal workplace because of the essential nature of their work.