What’s the reason to vet a vessel? What are charters looking at?  Traditionally, it was the big, newsworthy incidents, collisions, groundings, major pollution incidents, as well as detentions which lead to delays for vessels that commercially impact charterers. But, we are now seeing a change with the Charterers focus widening onto subjects such as environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Additionally, there are fresh challenges in terms of sanctions and seafarers human rights. Clearly, there is now a need for managers to be operating beyond compliance.

In the area of safety, RightShip has a predictive analytics platform called Qi. At a glance, Qi is:

  • A big data approach that predicts the likelihood of a vessel having an incident in the next 12 months.
  • 1-5 Star Rating measurement to represent the above risk, where 5 is optimal.
  • Tailored platform which allows each Customer’s own vetting criteria to be incorporated.

Christopher then referred to RightShip’s 2018 data showing that a 1 star vessel was 16 times more likely to have an incident than a 5 star vessel.

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Just as not all vessels are equally safe, not all vessels are equally efficient. Thus, we required a standardised framework to compare relative and absolute efficiency. RightShip’s GHG Rating measures the carbon dioxide output of individual vessels, and rates them on an A to G scale where A represents the most efficient vessels. Charterer adoption has been high with one in five vessels chartered now using the GHG rating equating to over 30,000 vessel movements per year.

We are actually now seeing some charterers and financial institutions who will only use vessels which are A & B GHG rated. We also have Customers who are using the same tool to account for all annual carbon emissions for their shipping activity who then buy carbon offset credits to make their entire shipping operations carbon neutral.

Last, but by no means least the other focus area concerns seafarer welfare. Great strides were made with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 coming into force, but we still have more to do. Positively we have seen the charterers embracing it, and many have started using this in terms of their contract negotiations to ensure those they are doing business are meeting and complying with these standards. The shipping industry is finally becoming more proactive in this respect.

In terms of abandonment there have been some horror stories in the news and these are issues we take extremely seriously. Within RightShip we receive the ILO and the IMO databases and integrate that straight into our Qi platform. This allows us to automatically downgrade the star rating to 1 star of any vessel or company that has been involved in an abandonment. Through this, we have managed to identify over 150 vessels and 300 high risk companies and limit their ability to continue to trade.

Finally, we have the important topic of seafarer health and wellness and are proud of the work we have done in this area with the Sailor’s Society. We recently introduced a voluntary Health and Wellness Assessment Questionnaire for managers of vessels to complete. It gives an opportunity for them to demonstrate where they go beyond compliance and to be recognized for it, focusing on the same areas of MLC such as crew welfare, accommodation and access to shore leave. We have seen a lot of interest in this initiative, particularly in western Australia where Terminal Operators have started incorporating this into their own inspections of vessels whilst alongside.

The above text is an edited version of Mr. Christopher Saunders’ presentation during the 2019 SAFETY4SEA London Conference.

You may view his presentation here.

The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and not necessarily those of  SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion  purposes only.


About Christopher Saunders, Global Marine Process Manager, RightShip

Christopher is a Master Mariner with extensive LNG sector oil major experience with both Shell and Chevron. He joined Rightship’s London team as a Vetting Superintendent in January 2018 from MOL LNG Europe where he was involved in the challenging Yamal Arctic LNG Project as a Marine Superintendent. He is passionate about the challenge of improving Maritime Standards and Seafarer Safety and the increasing role technology has to play in this. As part of RightShip’s London team, Christopher assists customers in managing marine risk by identifying and eliminating substandard ships from their supply chain, whilst improving overall maritime safety standards in the industry. Outside of work Christopher enjoys motorsports, cooking and reading – particularly novels by John Grisham and Wilbur Smith.