The 2021 SAFETY4SEA Forum took place virtually from 19 to 21 of October 2021, focusing on key safety issues and latest updates of the regulatory agenda for the maritime industry which is currently facing challenging times due to the pandemic.
The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA having as lead sponsors the following organizations: Elvictor Group, Epsilon Hellas, MacGregor and SQEMARINE.
Other sponsors were: ABB, Alandia, American Club, ARCADIA SHIPMANAGEMENT CO. LTD, Augustea Ship Manning Philippines Inc, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd, Bureau Veritas, Capital-Executive Ship Management Corp., Capital Gas Ship Management Corp., Capital Shipmanagement, CR Ocean Engineering, Diaplous Group, Dorian LPG, Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Limited (EASTMED), ERMA FIRST, EURONAV, Green Jakobsen, I.M.A. ASSESSMENT AND TRAINING CENTER, INC., Latsco Marine Management Inc., MarineTraffic, Metropolitan College, MINTRA, North of England P&I Club, OCEANKING, Palau International Ship Registry, RINA, RISK4SEA, SHIP MED CARE, Standard Club, Steamship Mutual, Sun Enterprises Ltd, The Swedish Club, Synergy Group, THOME GROUP, Tsakos Group of Companies, UK Club, WALLEM, World Link Communications.
Day 01 - Tuesday October 19
Panel #1 – Crew Welfare
Crew Welfare is on the top of the agenda of several industry stakeholders with calls from the industry by the Neptune Declaration on “Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change”. It is now high time that we focused on the vital role that seafarers play for safer and sustainable shipping as well as the whole trade and economy; highlighting ways to improve crew welfare taking into account that the pandemic has added new challenges in the work and daily life onboard.
Experts of Panel 1 – Mr. Simon Frank, Thome Group, Chief Human Resources Officer; Mr. Tom Jenkins, Bahamas Maritime Authority, Deputy Director (Investigations Department); Mrs. Johanna Kull, Alandia, Loss Prevention Executive; Dr. William Moore, American Club, Senior Vice President; Dr. Periclis Tzardis, ShipMedCare, Chief Medical Officer and; Mrs. Anna Wucher, Mental Health Support Solutions, Clinical Psychologist – referred to the key challenges of this pandemic crisis for the shipping industry as well as the opportunities raised for crew welfare.
With COVID-19, all industry stakeholders became aware of mental health issues, experts said. More attention is now given on seafarers’ stress factors and as an industry, it is firstly important to understand what it means to work onboard and evaluate strategies that can support seafarers successfully. Certainly, we have a long way to go back to normal operations again, but it is positive that many initiatives have appeared to raise awareness over mental health issues. Overall, it goes without saying that during these months, the key challenge for ship operators is to keep seafarers health, both physically and mentally, and keep functioning at the same time. However, the focus should be on seafarers’ situational awareness and working environment.
As such, maritime stakeholders can take this crisis as an opportunity and drive the industry forward to embrace means of communication, medication, medical facilities and technologies onboard to improve welfare but also try to include mental health practices, standard proactive procedures, erase the stigma of mental health and gain knowledge of all factors that affect seafarer’s mental health. As key takeaway, experts agreed that industry is lacking of significant data to measure and monitor mental health while it is time for real action. Seafarers are resilient and it is our responsibility to implement changes and improve their wellbeing.
Mrs. Emmanolia Kolias, Mintra, Sales Director Marketplace, presented how Covid-19 is driving digitalization in training, highlighting that online training does not replace physical but it is a supplement, offering many benefits such as enhanced safety, support on the onboard welfare, more time with family onshore and re-skilling. However, there is still a long work to do, considering that only 10% of crews have internet access and there is stigma in maritime around e-learning.
Mr. Erik Green, Green-Jakobsen A/S, CEO/Partner, highlighted that by directing attention to important things, we can have enhanced situational awareness onboard. As such, he explained how ‘Delta Method’ works and manages to evaluate where seafarers may direct their attention. Delta Method evaluates 9 key areas, developing a shared situational understanding to help uncover private and social understandings with the aim to improve performance onboard.
Panel #2 – Future Skills
What used to be considered the “future of work” has already arrived! With COVID-19 accelerating automation, it is expected to displace 85 million jobs by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. At the same time, BIMCO and ICS warn that the industry must significantly increase training and recruitment levels, in order to avoid a serious shortage in the total supply of officers by 2026.
Experts of Panel 2 – Mr. Kjetil Flood, Mintra, Chief Commercial Officer; Mr. Erik Green, Green-Jakobsen A/S, CEO/Partner; Dr. Konstantinos Poulis, Epsilon Hellas, General Manager; Capt. Nicolo Terrei, Augustea Ship Manning Phils. Inc., Owner Representative and; Mr. Bill Truelove, CSMART Training Centre, Managing Director – discussed about the potential crew shortage, ways to invest in future skills and reduce the competency gas as well as get people more involved in training combining new technologies.
This pandemic revealed that shipping industry should not be accused of conservatism anymore as it proved its ability and willingness to adapt quickly to new reality and remain innovative, experts noted. The 4th industrial revolution is taking place and shipping industry can follow it as we are witnessing many new technological developments. However, we need to take advantage of this technology acceleration and shed our focus on training and skills development to drive performance. Considering that crew shortage is projected for the coming years, the maritime industry needs to be prepared since this shortage has not only to do with a decrease in the number of crews but also with a lack of skills. In that regard, focus on competence and up skilling should be a priority; to achieve these, significant changes should take place.
Additional skills are necessary to face the competency gap and industry stakeholders have a joint responsibility towards. We need to ensure that people onboard are being provided with news ways of training and systems. In order to move faster and accelerate our position in the learning curve, we need to use modern tools and constructive feedback to develop and grow crew skills. The industry wants to invest in its people and organizations need to find better ways towards.
Dr. Periclis Tzardis, ShipMedCare, Chief Medical Officer, answered to questions related to COVID-19 vaccination and highlighted its benefits. Vaccination not only prevents anyone for getting COVID-19, but also prevents the spread of the disease. Although many still worry about the COVID-19 vaccines, it is important to remember that the advantages greatly outweigh all disadvantages.
Mr. Nikos Marmatsouris, GAC Shipping SA, Group Senior Marketing Manager, provided an overview of the crew change situation referring why issues still remain. Although more flights are now available and country borders are open, there are still many limitations due to bureaucracy which brings additional time losses and costs to operators. Many countries, especially those in the Far East, are still restricting crew changes.
Panel #3 – Crew Change/Vaccination
200,000 seafarers are affected by restrictions which do not allow them from leaving their ships. According to the latest GMF data, after a significant deterioration of the situation since May, the Neptune Declaration – Crew Change Indicator since August pointed a stabilization and beginning alleviation of the situation. Given the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and rapid testing, more practical solutions are needed to resolve the crew change crisis.
Experts of Panel 3 – Mr. Konstantinos Galanakis, Elvictor Group, CEO; Mr. Michael Hughes, Standard Club, Claims Executive; Mr. Arnold Javier, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, President; Mrs. Katie Lea, V.Group, Senior Crew Management Partner; Mr. John Panorios, Latsco Marine Management Inc, Deputy COO and; Mr. Christos Sialakoumas, Dorian LPG Management Corp., Crew Manager – focused on industry’s actions from now on to resolve crew change crisis.
Ship operators provided an overview of their fleet situation and vaccination progress and expressed restrained optimism about the current situation, forecasting that it will take more than a year for the operations to come back to normal; certainly, many new things came to stay and we will see many changes in future travels. However, as per latest Neptune Declaration Crew Change Indicator, the situation shows improvement; now operators can plan crew changes in many ports but still the different requirements and restrictions make it very challenging. Overall, the word is splitted into two tiers; navigating through China and Australia for example is still a nightmare.
In particular, several ports create huge problems with crew change planning and thus more flexible procedures are necessary. The biggest challenge for the operators is to find the more convenient port while the worst case scenario is to have a COVID-19 case onboard. New and amended regulations and the emerging protocols also create barriers and disruptions to global trade which will continue unless uniformity exists. However, all these are lessons learned for a next crisis.
Mr. Konstantinos Galanakis, Elvictor Group, CEO, assessed the COVID-19 impact on shipping industry and highlighted that response strategy plan and proactiveness should be every operator’s key priorities featuring key communication and welfare principles and considering all potential associated risks.
Mr.Ross Millar, Steamship Insurance Management Services, explained the ‘Airline Dynamic’ to compare how shipping and airline sectors function and collaborate, finding similarities and differences to highlight lessons learned.
Day 01 - SAFETY4SEA Awards
Maran Dry Management Inc. (MDM) received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Dry Bulk Operator Award for providing world-class ship management services. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: Blue Planet Shipping Ltd., Fleet Management Limited, Thenamaris Conbulk, Wallem Group.
Sun Enterprises Ltd. received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Tanker Operator Award for establishing a longstanding tradition of operating a safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly fleet. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: Evergas Ship Management Pte Ltd., Maersk Tankers, MM Marine Inc., V. Group.
ABS received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Sustainability Award for embracing a sustainability and decarbonization agenda. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), Nautilus International, Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), YoungShip.
The OCEAN Technologies Group received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Training Award for its Ocean Learning Platform . Other short-listed nominees for this category were: CEOSAN CONSULTING, CSMART Academy, Maritime Training Institute Karachi-Pakistan, V. Group.
ShipIn received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Technology Award for equipping seafarers with advanced tools for safe and productive voyages. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: ABS, M2Intelligence, NAVTOR AS, Scoutbase.
Britannia P&I Club received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Initiative Award for its ‘BSafe’ proactive safety campaign. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA), Project Connect, V. Group, Workplace Options.
ISWAN received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA COVID-19 Resilience Award for assisting more than 44,000 Seafarers worldwide since COVID-19. Other short-listed nominees for this category were: The Cyprus Shipping Deputy Ministry, IMEC (The International Maritime Employers’ Council), Magsaysay People Resources Corporation, Sailors’ Society.
Mrs. Jillian Carson-Jackson received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Personality Award for empowering Women in Maritime and her significant efforts to support communications technologies, education & training as well as vessel tracking.
Mr. Vassilios Demetriades, Shipping Deputy Minister to the President, Republic of Cyprus, received the 2021 SAFETY4SEA Leadership Award for taking charge of key actions for Cyprus to enable safe Crew Changes and gain momentum with Seafarer Vaccinations.
Day 02 - Wednesday October 20
Panel #4 – Maritime Security & Anti Piracy
In first half of 2021, IMB reported a decline in piracy incidents while from September, the geographic boundaries of the ‘High Risk Area’ for piracy in the Indian Ocean have been reduced. Nonetheless, maritime piracy today remains a complex challenge to international law, world trade and needless to say, the safety and security of seafarers (especially in West Africa).
Experts of Panel 4 – Mr. Munro Anderson, Dryad Global, Founding Partner; Mr. Chirag Bahri, ISWAN, Director of Regions; Capt. Kostas Bourliaskos, Latsco Marine Management Inc, CSO; Lt. CDR. Diego Cánovas-Cánovas, European Union Naval Force Operation Atalanta, Interagency and Shipping Advisor, Coordinator and; Mr. Nikos Georgopoulos, Diaplous Group, Chief Business Development Officer expressed their concerns over the new emerging maritime security trends.
Experts referred to the key challenges with regards to maritime security; the industry is suffering and the pandemic has made us realize that we need to adapt to a new environment. The same applies to maritime security, since the threat in Indian ocean has been evolved to terrorism. Thus, in order to face this, industry needs to support a global perspective around maritime security, new architecture and development of sharing information network. In particular, a new maritime security architecture is important to support all different geopolitical areas and reassure that there is enhanced maritime security.
Furthermore, pirates are becoming more active; now the crew has to face not only the pandemic but also the threat of pirates. In that regard, emotional support for seafarers and their families is vital as well as guidance and company policies to get prepared and handle attacks. In addition to seafarers’ wellbeing issues, we need to create trust among agencies and reporting structures in order to ensure that seafarers report all incidents. However, experts highlighted that as a key priority we need to define the new threat and consider the emerging risk areas and provide better protection; however in many countries, provision of protection is challenging due to legislation restrictions. Experts also shared their perspectives on how piracy activity may evolve within the different areas, noting that they don’t expect change in the Indian Ocean while Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea remain hot spots. Also, they discussed whether there is a need for regulatory update, noting that it is important to consider national and international laws as well as ISPS Code implementation.
Capt. John Dolan, Standard Club, Deputy Director, Loss Prevention, shared P&I perspective on navigational claims under pilotage, mentioning that over 20 years, 1,064 incidents under pilotage have been reported in excess of $US1.85bn. Although training and technology have advanced, such incidents continue and thus, engagement of both pilotage bodies and port authorities is critical.
Capt. Mark Bull, Trafalgar Navigation Limited, Director gave a presentation entitled ‘Safety in the rear-view mirror’ to highlight the reasons why accidents at sea continue, making an assessment of ISM Code implementation. He stressed that we need a new approach for enhanced maritime safety and suggested to focus on critical control points and challenge the existing safety protocols.
Panel #5 – Navigational Safety & BTM (Bridge Team Management)
In recent years, there have been many casualties resulting from poor navigation. This trend is surprising, given the advances that have been made in deck officer training in the past years along with the greater use of advanced navigation systems, and the implementation of safety management systems and regulation.
Experts of Panel 5 – Capt. Mark Bull, Trafalgar Navigation Limited, Director; Capt. Konstantinos G. Karavasilis, UK P&I Club, Senior Loss Prevention Executive; Capt. Sudhir Malhotra, Standard Club, Senior Surveyor, Loss Prevention; Capt. VS Parani, Tufton Asset Management Ltd, HSSEQ Manager and; Mr. John Southam, North P&I Club, Loss Prevention Executive discussed about the key challenges with regards to navigational safety and and ways to move forward.
Experts highlighted the need for emphasizing more on navigation, since related incidents continue, revealing a lack of focus and strategies around. Namely, the introduction of TMSA recognized the importance of navigational audits but given that the last 25 years many incidents have occurred, it is about time to point our direction towards navigation and consider it as a critical topic in our discussions. Outlining the challenges of navigational safety, experts agreed that ship bridge themselves are so complex and have so many complicated systems that look like an airplane cockpit. Therefore, technology at bridge is an issue that needs to be addressed since the different alarms and buttons can affect the focus and situational awareness of officers. For enhanced navigational safety, two things are important to focus on: firstly, ensuring increased situational awareness and secondly effective communication and support by the bridge team. In this context, we should shed our attention to the bridge team, the bridge ergonomics, crew recruiting and retaining to pass out their experience and develop key soft skills for experience exchange.
What is more, experts agreed that ECDIS is a key milestone that helped the industry to move forward with navigational safety, but comes with challenges. In particular, they mentioned alarming trends from the ECDIS use; for example there are several different types, featuring many applications for which the end user may not be aware of. Thus, ECDIS has become a complex system, however, this technology need to become more human centered and take into consideration the end user. Overall, as an industry, we need to provide crew with proper training as well as the best tools and solutions that will minimize the risk of navigation errors and ensure enhanced safety.
Mr. Julian Hines, Standard Club, Loss Prevention Manager, shared lessons learned from accidents in the offshore sector. He, firstly, identified the key difference between shipping and offshore operations to highlight that hazards remain same but risks are different due to the different operating environment, operating procedures regulations, automation and digital technology and structural & mechanical.
Panel #6 – Lessons learned from Major Accidents & Crisis Communications
We have become witnesses to major accidents that have made headlines to media and the start for regulatory change for enhanced safety. Years have gone by and accidents still happen, the MV Wakashio and MV Ever Given being some of the most recent ones. All these accidents not only result to considerable reputation and financial losses to stakeholders but also have a negative impact on industry’s profile.
Experts of Panel 6 – Dr. Nippin Anand, Novellus Solutions, Founder & CEO; Mr. William R. Bennett III, Blank Rome LLP, Partner; Mr. George Margetis, Margetis Maritime Consulting, CEO and; Capt. Yves Vandenborn, Standard Club, Director of Loss Prevention attempted to explain why maritime accidents still happen.
It seems that we have not learned from previous accidents, experts noted. Accidents will continue to happen but we can limit their consequences. Although, there is expertise, at the same time there is an unwillingness from the industry to make a radical change. Not enough has been made; regulations are available, but are not being implemented effectively. What is more, commercial pressure, experienced crew work in unfamiliar environment, mechanical failure, over reliance on computers/ technology and unexpected weather conditions are among the key risks which are getting higher with the increased size of ships. In essence, nowadays, there is a reduction in number of accidents but casualties are more severe with devastating consequences due to big sizes of the ships and increased exposure to media.
Experts also noted that there is a need to focus more on accident investigations and question what new we can learn from previous disasters and observe any patterns. Sadly, all the advancements in safety are due to major accidents that have made headlines. But let’s be more proactive and try to collaborate effectivily to resolve the problems. Also, a fresh look on the design of ships and regulation is important. Experts also thought what can we learn from other industries such as aviation and nuclear and commented how recent accidents, such as EverGiven, have impacted industry’s image and what should we do to change any negative perceptions and handle future crises.
Day 03 - Thursday October 21
Panel #7 – Ship Safety – Dry Bulk
Bulk cargoes can shift, liquefy, catch fire and even explode as a consequence of poor loading procedures; ships can capsize, lose stability or sustain severe structural damage. Such happenings enhance the risks involved and lead to injury, death, insurance claims, operational delay and considerable expense. Compliance with the mandatory requirements and adherence to procedures are vital components of an enhanced safety performance.
Experts of Panel 7 – Capt. Akshat Arora, Standard Club, Senior Surveyor, Loss Prevention; Capt. Panagiotis Nikiteas, Maran Dry Management Inc., HSQE Manager / DPA / CSO; Mr. Dimitris Orfanos, M-MARITIME, HSQE Manager / DPA / CSO and; Mr. John Prosilias, IRI/The Marshall Islands Registry, Deputy Technical Manager suggested best practices to develop enhanced safety culture onboard dry bulk carriers.
Experts talked about the key challenges that dry bulk sector is currently facing, mentioning that there are weak drivers for safety as long as stakeholders comply only to available regulation. A strong safety culture can be built beyond regulatory compliance while there are many issues that need to be addressed such as fatigue onboard, incident investigation, the safe carriage of cargoes, liquefaction, quality standards and enclosed space casualties which is a concerning trend. Although there are many issues to resolve, experts appeared optimistic for the future, highlighting the need for collaboration to enhance safety awareness and provide continuous training. Things can improve, but industry needs to take into consideration that there is a lot of commercial pressure, in particular due to COVID-19 restrictions, and that dry bulk sector is very fragmented. In that regard, we need to realize the dynamics of crew, work and ports, to identify the persistent compliance problems as well as to consider any additional issues i.e. welfare.
Furthermore, experts suggested ways to fight the ‘safety paradox’; in essence, we tend to identify risks by adding more paperwork but in the end, this approach doesn’t improve safety. Therefore, it is important to focus on the quality of the process and involve actually with maritime safety, regulatory and quality matters and incident investigation. We also need to change our mindset since young generation onboard has different vision; so it is important to be open and discover new paths to bridge gaps and embrace technology. But above all, we need to communicate with crew onboard dry bulk ships; ship operators should listen to them, show trust, collect constructive feedback and share best practices in order industry to view real improvement.
Capt. Konstantinos G. Karavasilis, UK P&I Club, Senior Loss Prevention Executive, provided an overview of the current loss prevention challenges. He presented the most common causes of P&I accidents noting that human error prevails; in that regard, he stressed, we need to find ways to assist crew onboard and personnel ashore to mitigate risks.
Capt. Martti Simojoki, Alandia, Senior Loss Prevention Manager, presented digital solutions for loss prevention: APP, API, Realtime Loss Preventer, Real Time two way communication and data collection, noting that these tools aim to create and share safety observations for a safer and more predictable future.
Panel #8 – Ship Safety – Tankers
Considering the hazardous nature of the cargo tankers carry, seafarers need to always be alert and thoroughly trained to endure the safe operations of the vessel. Namely, in certain circumstances even a single spark may cause a disaster or another minor event; Hence, there are many issues that should be taken into account when thinking about tanker safety.
In this context, experts of Panel 8 – Capt. Steve Blair, Epic Marine Services Ltd, Managing Director; Mr. Alexandros Glykas, DYNAMARINe, Director; Mr. David Savage, Oceanfile Marine Ltd, Director; Capt. John Taylor, Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited, Loss Prevention Manager and; Mr. Thanasis Theodorou, Capital Ship Management Corp., DPA/CSO, S&Q Manager – suggested ways to move forward and improve the safety record.
Experts expressed their concerns for the tanker sector, considering that the pandemic has made situation onboard quite challenging, putting additional stress to crew. Therefore, operators are responsible to focus on crew welfare while keeping the safety standards to the highest level as possible. Unfortunately, there are many cargo related claims and incidents taking place; albeit lessons learned and procedures in place, industry continues to see the same incidents. Another key concern is how to utilize SIRE 2.0 and TMSA. Namely, TMSA has been a key driver to assist industry in building safety culture, experts agreed and discussed where industry should focus on. Key areas are: technology, situational awareness, minimize bureaucracy, improving communication channels, emphasize on best practices
Above all, this panel highlighted the need to resolve the ‘safety paradox’ within the tanker sector by building trust with the crew and investing in training, communication and an inclusive culture in which crew have voice to share constructive feedback. Safety culture should be well communicated across all personnel with the aim to motivate crew on how to implement the procedures for their own safety. In that regard, operators should promote a positive attitude to give encouragement and make seafarers feel respected and valuable. Also, thinking how to simplify procedures and more effective implementation of the existing regulation and focus on competence are vital.
Mrs. Joanna Eugenia Bakouni, Epsilon Hellas, Group Training Manager, suggested ways to keep balance between automation and people to help maritime training adapt to new requirements. Active learning, complex problem solving, creativity, resilience and flexibility are among the key skills for the future; the catalysts to drive human performance and enhance safety, she said, highlighting to place people at the center of digital transformation.
Dr. Stefanos Chatzinikolaou, RINA, Consultant, shared lessons learned from the pandemic, emphasizing how connectivity helped to function and how training has been transformed. Online training is now the new normal, helping shore and onboard personnel and maritime professional to acquire knowledge and develop their skills without restrictions.
Mrs. Chrysanthi Laimou, Diaplous Group, Maritime College Manager, focused on the human factor and suggested ways for a more human-centered approach featuring learning initiatives for training and development.
Mr. John Southam, North P&I Club, Loss Prevention Executive gave a presentation entitled ‘ Charting the Future’ to highlight the importance of training for navigational safety, questioning whether training is keeping up or lagging behind technlogy considering that paper charts are still the predominant tool for navigation but many people onboard use ECDIS than ENC.