SAFETY4SEA: Tell us a few words about your organization. Do you have any new developments/ or any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans that you would like to share with the rest of the industry?
Andreas Nicolaou: This year Dromon Bureau of Shipping celebrates 15 years since its establishment. Despite all the obstacles and difficulties, we faced in the first years of our operations with the professionalism and devotion of DromonClass personnel we managed to create a legacy of a Classification Society that delivers a high level of quality services to its clients. We continue to invest heavily in our personnel and in our infrastructure in order to reach higher levels of quality, always staying focused on responsible business practices while delivering value to our clients.
Amongst the recent developments that are worthy of a mention is our accreditation against ISO 14065 as a verification and validation body within the scope of the EU MRV Regulation services. Ultimately, DromonClass was listed amongst the first accredit EU verification bodies. It is also worth mentioning the direct connection of our online ship survey status platform ERETES with the internationally recognized Equasis website. DromonClass has become a data provider to Equasis following harmonization of our platform with IACS UR PR16.
It is our Board decision to expand our activities in all continents through the establishment branches in key regional maritime centres enabling us to serve promptly and cost effectively our clients.
S4S: Has the industry been successful in implementing safety culture? What should be our key priorities for strengthening safety culture onboard and ashore?
A.C.: Increasingly in all kind of industries it is becoming obvious that it’s important to transform the industrial culture in order to improve safety. It is commonly known that the growing interest in safety culture has been accompanied by the need for assessment tools focused on the cultural aspects of workforce safety improvement efforts. I would say that the industry in whole has managed to reach to an acceptable level in respect in implementing safety culture through implementing Health, Safety and Environmental Management Systems. On the other hand, the maritime industry still lacks towards the industry ashore. I am not suggesting in developing new standards or Codes to be followed since maritime industry is well equipped with standards, Codes, International Conventions etc. What must be done is to ensure the effective implementation of the existing standards either is called OHSAS, ISM, MLC 2006 etc.
Once top management decides to provide all support for the development of a more advanced safety culture, it must be designed in such way to provide a clear direction, road map to an advance culture defined in terms provided by people within the industry. In other words, the strategy for implementation must be developed in order to rely more on bottom-up ‘pull’ rather than top-down ‘push’. It is therefore a key priority that top management ensures that sufficient resources are allocated for the development of more advance safety culture with continuous enrolment and motivation of the people.
S4S: What is your wish list for the industry and/or regulators and all parties involved in order to minimize the impact of the uniform global deadline of 2020?
A.C.:The introduction of the new global Sulphur cap in 2020 is causing a complex challenge on how our clients choose to comply. The method that may be chosen may ultimately impact the future competitiveness. It is a great uncertainty in relation to the enforcement, availability of the fuel and technological solutions. The ultimate decision between HFO and scrubber, distillate fuel (MGO), LNG, low-sulphur fuels (0.50 % S) or other, alternative fuels should to be evaluated individually. It appears, based on assumptions for future cost of fuels and the corresponding investment, that a SOx scrubber installation may prove to be the most cost-effective choice over a decade period.
In this respect I would expect that the scrubber technology will be well developed and expanded and the initial or retrofitting installation costs will be at acceptable levels not to severely affect operators’ CAPEX and OPEX. Regulators must take also into consideration amongst other weaknesses the fact that presently the scrubber technology is mainly limited and similarly with Ballast Water Management Convention to decide to postpone the implementation of the Sulphur Cap.
S4S: If you could change one thing about the shipping industry, what would it be and why?
A.C.: If I had this chance I would challenge the regulatory burden on shipping industry. All agree that a regulation is a fundamental policy tool that creates incentives and disincentives and has great impact on both individual behavior and interaction. Regulation also facilitates dealing with difficult economic, social and environmental problems. Not to be misunderstood, I am not against regulations and not suggesting that our industry is over-regulated. I am a great supporter of effective implementation of simplified regulations and I am insisting that regulations must transform in a more simplified form. In this industry either being ashore or onboard the aim is to successfully operate and ensure safety and environmental protection. The regulations must be well understood in all management level from top to bottom and implementation culture must be developed. Especially onboard we are experiencing bureaucracy which is tending to discourage seafarers from their prime duties. We do not want seafarers to consume their time just mechanically completing papers on board but seafarers that clearly understand the need of implementation of certain regulation which apparently affects their wellbeing on board.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.