The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA having as lead sponsors the following organizations: ABS, MacGregor & SQE MARINE. The event was also sponsored by: American P&I Club, Arcadia Shipmanagement Co Ltd, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd, Bureau Veritas, Capital Shipmanagement, Chandris (Hellas) Inc., ClassNK, Costamare Shipping Company, Diaplous Maritime Services, Dorian LPG, Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Limited (EASTMED), Gaitas & Chalos, P.C, Green Jakobsen, Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association, Latsco Marine Management Inc., Marshall Islands Registry, MINERVA Marine, Neptune Lines Shipping, North P&I Club, Orpheus Marine Transport Corporation, RISK4SEA, Standard Club, T&T SALVAGE, Trafalgar Navigation, Tsakos Group of Companies and UK P&I Club. Supporters of the event were: AMMITEC, Chios Marine Club, HSA, IWSA, PEPEN, SNAME, WISTA Hellas.

Discussions varied among key safety challenges affecting the industry, as well as the hot issue of sustainable shipping. The human element, amid a growing shift in automation and new technologies, was high on the agenda, including discussions on safety models, on seafarers’ wellbeing, and on the journey of shipping organizations to the adoption of a safety culture. Moving forward, the loss prevention panel included themes varying from mooring safety to security, prosecutions and war risks issues, while another panel focused on key lessons to be learned arising from salvage and marine claims handling. Concluding, the two last panels provided interesting discussions on vetting and training challenges, giving the opportunity of interaction between panellists and delegates on these hot issues.


Presentations were given in six panels as follows:

Panel # 1 – Towards Sustainable Shipping

Opening the event, Mr. Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, welcomed the delegates and speakers and thanked sponsors. Moving forward with his presentation, he presented key figures and trends in regard to deficiencies and inspections of ships worldwide, from 2012 onwards, as indicated by RISK4SEA platform. Analytics get trickier every year, Mr. Belokas noted, highlighting that age of a ship, ship type, month of inspections and even the day of the week are factors affecting detention trends.

Mr. Stavros Meidanis, DPA/CSO, S&Q Manager, Capital Ship Management Corp shared his views on how shipping will look like in 2030 even 2050, focusing on implications for ship managers in the future. Focusing on key trends, including geopolitical obstacles, new technologies and the challenge of decarbonization, he shared two key messages: that shipping must and can play a bigger role in shaping the future of trade, along with governments, and that the transition to a decarbonized shipping is challenging, requiring a combination of technical, feasible, sustainable and safe solutions.

Dr. John Kokarakis, Director Technical Business Development, Bureau Veritas, focused on risks and challenges arising from the use of low sulphur fuels as a compliance option for IMO 2020. Key issues are the lack of lubricity, the need to choose a low TBN cylinder oil, the low viscosity, potential stability and incompatibility problems, Dr. Kokarakis argued, noting that crews need to be guided in all procedures associated with the fuel from delivery, storage and segregation to purification and change-over.

Closing the first panel, Mr. Stavros Niotis, Principal Engineer OEP, ABS, noted that, in order to have sustainability, we need to have basic training for our seafarers and he moved forward by providing an overview of basic and advanced training requirements under STCW for vessels following the IGF Code. Basic training is for all seafarers’ care use in emergency response and advanced is mainly for masters and engineers-officers with immediate responsibility for the systems, he stressed.


Panel #2 - Human Element

Capt. Yves Vandenborn, Director of Loss Prevention, The Standard Club, discussed seafarers’ wellbeing from the mental and social point of view. Nationalities and different cultures have different ways of socializing, argued Mr. Vandenborn, so companies should adopt new ways to encourage socializing amongst seafarers onboard. For example, making WiFi accessible to certain common areas instead of cabins, introducing alcohol restrictions instead of alcohol bans, and arranging team activities like basketball, are some of the things that can make people onboard discuss and interact with each other and create relationships, he stressed.

In her presentation, Dr. Maria Progoulaki, Regional Representative and Senior Consultant, Green-Jakobsen A/S, highlighted important Do’s and Don’ts for organizations on the journey towards building a sustainable safety culture. This journey requires continuous reflection and true embedment in all processes and companies which achieve sustainable results, understand the delicacy of culture change and stay determined in their effort, she argued, noting that some fail, others succeed.

Mr. John Southam, Loss Prevention Executive, The North of England P&I Club, focused on a new safety approach called Safety Management 2.0, highlighting the current problem in shipping is that companies are mainly based on procedures. The ISM code needs to be more person-centric, as people do not follow procedures they do not understand, he argued, and it is time for shipping to mature: Change will not happen overnight- until the whole mindset is reformed, transforming the way people work and think.

Closing the second panel, Mr. Manit Chander, Chief Executive Officer, HiLo Maritime Risk Management, explained how the HiLO 2.0 predictive model collects data points from shipping companies with a special focus on human error. While companies generally share their data in the HiLO model, the challenge is that they do not internally collect data on human error, so no analysis can be done to address this factor, which is responsible for majority of accidents.


Panel # 3 – Loss Prevention & Best Practices

Mr. Rod Lingard, the Club Manager of Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association (Bermuda) Limited, looked at key war risks trends, including sanctions and the recent advice from OFAC on sanctions compliance programmes; developments in the Arabian Gulf; the status of piracy in both the Gulf of Guinea and the Western Indian Ocean; recent cyber incidents and the relevant protective measures that should be taken in each area.

Mr. Daniel A. Tadros, Chief Legal Officer, American Club, shared loss prevention tips against criminal prosecution for ships calling in the US. Over the past few decades, unauthorized discharges of oil, garbage, and related offenses often result in severe criminal penalties against owners and managers, officers and crew. Drawing from case studies as examples, Mr. Tadros discussed “dos and don’ts” in advance of calling at US ports, highlighting that, in the US, you have to play by the rules; there is no other way to do this.

Mr. George A. Gaitas, Attorney and Partner, Gaitas & Chalos, P.C, shared predictions regarding what owners should expect in the US in the enforcement of MARPOL Annex VI regulations after Jan 1st of 2020 and, specifically, whether the US will widely implement criminal sanctions as it has done with enforcement of Annex I. He also shared examples of actual enforcement cases. The bottom-line of his presentation was that if operators and crews want to achieve compliance with sulphur regulations in the US, they should stick to the truth and maintain records and documents properly.

Closing the Loss prevention panel, Mr. David Nichol, Senior Loss Prevention Executive, UK P&I Club, focused on mooring safety, noting that mooring-related incidents often cause injuries and deaths of seafarers and shore personnel, as well as collisions and property damage. In this respect, Mr. Nichol provided a brief overview of the challenges facing seafarers as well as common failures arising from mooring accident investigations.


Panel # 4 – Lessons to be learned

Captain Mark Bull, Director, Trafalgar Navigation, used COLREGS as an example to question whether some maritime laws and regulations are out of date. The size of ships, the navigational equipment they carry, and the impending introduction of autonomous ships is now rendering COLREGs unsuitable in their present format, Captain Bull argued, concluding that MASS ships are a reality and investments on ships and equipment should occur with an eye on the future.

Mr. Elias Psyllos, Vice President Commercial and Risk Management, T&T Salvage, shared lessons learned from his experience in emergency response incidents. Beginning his presentation with key salvage concepts, he provided the main first steps operators need to follow in the initial phase of a response. Experts’ presence on site, a proper salvage plan and salvage engineering are vital, he stressed, to verify what savors are doing is right.

Mr. Jim Allsworth, Regional Director – Claims Director, C-Solutions, discussed ways of an innovative handling of marine claims, sharing real-life cases where things were done differently. All claims have one common, he noted: They are going to cost you money. The most important thing when handling marine claims, he underlined, is to focus on what you are actually trying to achieve in the long-term. Also important is not accept the norm, look for win-win options, be fair with contractors and be proactive.

Mr. Yannis Botonakis, Insurance & Claims Manager, Chartworld Shipping Corp., participated in the panel, sharing his views on shipping’s safety culture, noting that the industry will eventually be forced to adopt a true safety culture due to commercial pressure. Meanwhile, for culture change, decommercialization of regulation would be the factor with the most immediate effect, Mr. Botonakis stressed.


Panel # 5 – Vetting

Panel 5 gathered four experts with experience in the field of vetting, moderated by Mr. Belokas, discussing implications associated with TMSA3. All panelists, including Stylianos V. Dafermos, DPA / HSQE & Vetting Manager / Training Officer at AVIN International, Tasos Kartsimadakis, Vetting & Inspections Manager at Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement, Panagiotis Mpikas, HSQE – Marine Manager, DPA / CSO / MR, at EURONAV Ship Management, and Captain Mark Bull, Director, Trafalgar Navigation, agreed that TMSA is a valuable tool for shipping industry as it pushes all organizations working towards the same goals and best practice. However, they highlighted issues relating to the criteria assessment, rating, which has shifted the focus from the best practice to some kind of competition among companies, lack of education in the industry regarding TMSA, too many inspections etc.


Panel # 6 – Training

The last Panel, consisting of Dimitrios Fokas, Training Manager at Maran Tankers, Capt. Dimitrios Aslanoglou, Training Manager at Eletson, Evangelos Tzitzis, Training Manager at LATSCO, and Erik Green, Managing Director and Partner at Green-Jakobsen A/S, focused on trends affecting crew training. Discussing green shipping and digitalization as current challenges surrounding training, the panelists also shed a special focus on soft skills development in the younger generation, as well as the encouragement of more women in shipping as a key component to diversity.


Finally Apostolos Belokas as the Forum Chairman thanked the delegates for their participation, the sponsors for their support and the speakers for their excellent presentations and also the organizing team of the event for their contribution towards forum objectives.

This was the 10th SAFETY4SEA Conference taking place in Athens, Greece while, as explained by Mr. Apostolos Belokas, the events are now extending presence to global leading shipping hubs. Next destinations on the busy agenda are Hamburg, Rotterdam, Singapore and Hong Kong where SAFETY4SEA events will take place as well as the first SAFETY4SEA-EUROPORT awards will be presented during Europort exhibition.


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