The clock is ticking for the new year, for which we remain optimistic and have a positive mindset that despite the difficulties, maritime industry will keep strong and ready to adapt to new trends!
his time of the year is always a good chance to make an assessment of the running year and think of all the good moments and lessons learned. During 2022, shipping industry joined forces and launched several initiatives to support its Environmental, Social and Governance topics. As the industry is heading towards a more sustainable future, the challenges are many. Improving its image remains a top priority and ESG showcase the positive strides that shipping is making.
In the following article, we have stood out twenty-two highlight events that shaped 2022, which was yet another challenging year but also a year of progress.
#1 Global piracy incidents hit lowest levels
ICC IMB’s report detailed 90 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Gulf of Guinea in the first nine months of 2022, the lowest recorded figure in three decades while incidents in the Singapore Straits showed an increase. Following a significant reduction in the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean region, the maritime industry stakeholders decided to withdraw the High-Risk Area (HRA) in the Indian Ocean from 1 January 2023. From 2010 until today the HRA has been reduced 3 times (2015, 2019,2021) with latest amendment effective from 1st September 2021.
#2 UKHO decides to withdraw paper charts up to 2026
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) announced its intention to withdraw paper chart production and solely focus on digital products. As explained, they will phase out the withdrawal of paper charts from production over several years and conclude at the end of 2026.
#3 Major Merger & Agreements announced
In July 2022, Euronav and Frontline Ltd. signed a ‘definitive combination agreement’ to create a leading global independent oil tanker operator with 146 vessels including 68 VLCCs. As announced, the combined group is named Frontline and its operations will continue in Europe and Asia including Belgium, Norway, UK, Singapore and Greece, with headquarters in Cyprus. Furthermore during 2022 it was announced that on 20th February 2023, The North of England P&I Club and The Standard Club will merge to form NorthStandard, a new single legal group with oversight of the marine insurance activities of both organisations. In May 2022, Veson Nautical, a leading provider in maritime freight software worldwide, announced its acquisition of Q88, an information management and software platform for the maritime transportation industry.
#4 Tradelens halts operations after 4 years
In late November 2022, Maersk and IBM announced the decision to withdraw the TradeLens offerings and discontinue the platform. The partners made the decision as “TradeLens has not reached the level of commercial viability necessary to continue work.” The TradeLens platform was announced in 2018 and jointly developed by IBM and GTD Solution, a division of Maersk, as a blockchain-enabled shipping solution designed to promote more efficient and secure global trade.
#5 COP 27 showcases slow progress for shipping decarbonization
From 6 to 20 November, COP27 gathered over 45,000 participants, including more than 100 Heads of State, government representatives, scientists, policymakers and activists, in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss the future of climate action around the world and across different sectors. While the high-level meeting was expected to set a more ambitious timeline for shipping to decarbonize, the progress on climate ambition was generally perceived as weak.
#6 Shipping inclusion in EU ETS close to finalization
EU institutions have reached a preliminary agreement on how to extend its Emissions Trading System to cover shipping after months of trilogue negotiations, the European Parliament said in late November. The regulatory development means ship operators will be required to pay for the greenhouse gas emissions during their voyages to, from and between EU ports, with a phase-in period starting from 2024. According to the Union of Greek Shipowners (UGS), the agreement reflects to a significant extent the positions of the European shipping industry, namely the due application of the “polluter pays” principle, and the earmarking of part of the revenues generated from shipping for the decarbonisation of the sector. The EU ETS must reflect the whole climate footprint of emissions from fuels to be a truly green regulation, Danish Shipping commented in an open letter to EU’s decision makers. Find out more about EU ETS developments concerning shipping here.
#7 SIRE 2.0 to take four stages before implementation
OCIMF confirmed that its updated Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE 2.0) will be delivered to industry in a ‘phased approach’ comprising four stages, rather than a single ‘go-live’ switch between the current SIRE (VIQ7) and new SIRE 2.0. The roll-out of the new programme will occur over four stages to allow for comprehensive testing and interrogation of the system, with a review of ‘critical success factors’ needing to be confirmed by the OCIMF membership before moving to the next stage. The organisation has also assured users of the programme that they will be provided with ample warning before each stage is progressed.
#8 Neptune Declaration Index: Transition to new normal confirmed
The July Crew Change Indicator showed stability since the number of seafarers onboard vessels beyond the expiry of their contract decreased slightly, while the number of seafarers onboard vessels for over 11 months remained stable. Ship managers reported little new developments or difficulties in carrying out crew changes. During 2022, in general, the quarantine requirements were loosened while the Covid-related crew change restrictions eased and seafarer vaccines reached high numbers.
#9 Poseidon Principles for marine industry adopted
The Poseidon Principles for Marine Insurance entered into force in early May, with the aim to establish a framework to engage with the shipping industry and support net-zero insurance. Patrizia Kern-Ferretti (Swiss Re Corporate Solutions) was elected as Chair of the Steering Committee.
#10 Green shipping corridors are taking off
Signatories of the Clydebank Declaration during COP26 last year agreed to establish at least six green shipping corridors by the middle of this decade. On the occasion of this year’s COP27 event, the Zero to Mission coalition issued an Annual Progress Report on Green Shipping Corridors, identifying a major progress with more than 20 green corridor initiatives across Transpacific, Asia Pacific and Transatlantic regions, Europe, North and South America. With regards to green corridors, the following were also announced during COP 27:
- The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA) partnered with the Republic of Korea, the Busan Port Authority, and the United States to study the feasibility of creating a green cargo shipping corridor between the NWSA and the Busan Port Authority’s cargo gateways.
- Canada aims to create a Canadian Green Shipping Corridors Framework, in addition to the country’s entry into the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission.
- The UK and the US have agreed to launch a special Green Shipping Corridor Task Force
- MPA Singapore, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach and C40 Cities began discussions to establish a green and digital shipping corridor between Singapore and the San Pedro Bay port complex.
- The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping launched the Green Shipping Corridor Hub, an interactive platform and toolkit to support the development of green shipping corridors.
#11 Maritime humanitarian corridor established in Black Sea
In late July 2022, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim welcomed the signing of an agreement between Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export critical cargoes of grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine. This initiative opened a path for significant volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea – Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. In early August, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim welcomed the departure from Odesa of the first commercial ship, the M/V Razoni, to leave the port under the UN supported Black Sea Grain Initiative. In November 2022, UN and Ukraine agreed to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative by 120 days, aiming to ease global food shortages by facilitating Ukraine’s agricultural exports from its southern Black Sea ports.
#12 Bunker fuel contamination cases on the rise
On 11 March 2022, a VPS Bunker Alert informed about chlorinated hydrocarbons being found and identified in Heavy Fuel Oil (HSFO) deliveries recently made in Singapore. During July, Veritas petroleum services (VPS) informed that they had investigated samples of very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) taken in the ARA region (Rotterdam and Amsterdam areas) following reports that vessels using these fuels were experiencing operational problems, such as excessive wear of fuel pump plungers, barrels and injectors. The organic compounds that were detected in these fuel samples were Phenols, Styrenes, Alcohols and Ketonic compounds, ranging up to 40,000 ppm (4%) in total. This range of combinations did not originate from normal refinery processes and indicated contamination while phenol-like compounds are often associated with fuel pump wear and damage.
#13 Crew abandonment remains a key concern
As at the end of May 2022, 247 vessels remain abandoned at multiple locations around the world, along with 3,623 seafarers cast adrift, unable to return home, crew abandonment remains a worrying issue. According to RightShip data, the majority of seafarers known to be abandoned are from India, with 724 seafarers stranded in various locations around the world, closely followed by 368 crew from Ukraine and 318 crew from the Philippines, all renowned nations of seafarers. The highest number of vessels left adrift is in the United Arab Emirates waters’, with 26 abandoned vessels, and when the data is sorted by flag state, Panama heads the list. In that regard, new measures to improve conditions for seafarers, including those who have been abandoned, were adopted at a joint ILO/IMO meeting, in late December 2022.
#14 P&O Ferries fires 800 seafarers
On March 17th, P&O Ferries announced its decision to fire 800 seafarers and replace them with cheaper crewing agencies. The company said that its decision was “tough” but “necessary”, while the CEO admitted that the company broke the law in full knowledge. Immediately, several industry stakeholders reacted, including ITF, ETF and Nautilus International. In a joint statement ITF and ETF called on DP World (P&O Ferries’ owner) to engage in dialogue with RMT and Nautilus International. The Seafarers’ Charity’s UK Maritime Anchor Fund offered its financial and psychological support for the seafarers. Unions urged to halt this “scandalous betrayal” and demanded government intervention to protect British jobs. UK MPs voted in favor of an Opposition Day Motion condemning the company. Boris Johnson said he believed the company indeed broke the law and the government would take legal actions. In late March, the Transport Secretary announced that new legislation will ban ferries that do not pay the national minimum wage from docking at British ports. The British Government called on the IMO to discuss the rights of the seafarers and revise the basic pay standards. On April 3rd, the Insolvency Service of UK initiated both ‘’formal criminal and civil investigation’’ of the case.
#15 Ever Forward ran aground
Almost a year after Ever Given got stuck in the Suez Canal and resulted in disrupting global trade for months, another Evergreen marine-owned containership, the Ever Forward, ran aground on March 15, in Chesapeake Bay after departing the Port of Baltimore Seagirt Terminal. Following the second failing attempt to refloat the 12,000 teu Ever Forward, the company Evergreen announced on March 31 that, with the increasing costs of the salvage operation, it declared General Average.
#16 EEXI,CII effective from 2023
The requirements for EEXI and CII certification will become effective on 1 January 2023 while the first annual reporting is to be completed in 2023, with initial CII ratings given in 2024. In that regard, operators need to revise the existing Ship Energy Efficiency Plan (SEEMP) to include a Part III for CII, calculation and rating.
#17 Lithion risks in the spotlight after related incidents
In a new bulletin, Allianz warned that the presence of Li-ion batteries and the subsequent fire risk is something that should be addressed as part of fire protection and emergency response arrangements. Pre-emergency planning with the local fire department and on-site fire brigade, if available, is extremely important due to the fact that this technology may be new to the fire department and there are specific procedures that must be followed to eliminate the hazard. A pre-defined Emergency Response Plan should be in place to tackle damaged or overheating Li-ion batteries.
#18 IMO designates the Mediterranean Sea as a SECA
MEPC 79 adopted amendments to designate the Mediterranean Sea, as a whole, as an Emission Control Area for Sulphur Oxides and particulate matter, under MARPOL Annex VI. The amendment is expected to enter into force on 1 May 2024, with the new limit taking effect from 1 May 2025. Further to this development, NGOs called for the establishment of the area as a Nitrogen Emission Control Area (NECA) like in the North and the Baltic Sea as a next goal to further improve air quality.
#19 Diversity Equity & Inclusion issues top the agenda
According to a recent report by the Diversity Study Group, the shipping industry is making progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). During 2022, many companies, organizations and alliances took their first steps in improving inclusion in their workplace, providing more platforms for all people to have equal career opportunities. For example, Thome Group, together with Hafnia, Anglo American, RightShip, Rio Tinto, and Wilhelmsen joined forces to launch Maritime Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Innovation Lab 2022. The aim of the innovation lab is to uncover powerful ideas through crowdsourcing and applying rapid and agile methodology from ideation through to product development. Find out more DEI initiatives here.
#20 Milestone Declaration to safeguard human rights at sea launched
On March 1st, 2022, the Geneva Declaration on Human Rights at Sea was launched, developed by UK-based NGO Human Rights at Sea, with the aim to define and defend the human rights of all people crossing the world’s oceans and seas. The launch followed three years of research and aims to generate global awareness and an international response to human rights violations at sea, based on four fundamental principles:
- Human rights at sea are universal; they apply at sea, as they do on land.
- All persons at sea, without any distinction, are entitled to their human rights.
- There are no maritime specific reasons for denying human rights at sea.
- All human rights established under both treaty and customary international law must be respected at sea.
#21 New era in crew welfare with new MLC amendments
During the ILO’s Special Tripartite Committee (STC) for the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, the following are few of the amendments adopted:
- Obligations to inform a seafarer of their rights during the engagement process in respect to failure of a recruitment and placement service or shipowner to meet its obligations
- Port States, flag States and labour-supplying countries shall cooperate to ensure repatriation of abandoned seafarers in their territory, or on a ship flying their flag
- Appropriate facilities, amenities and services shall be provided to seafarers
- Internet connectivity to facilitate social connectivity their time on board ships. If charges to such connectivity applies, they shall be reasonable in amount.
- Welfare facilities and services in ports
- Both food and drinking water to be provided free of charge to seafarers
- For seafarers in need of immediate medical care, Members shall ensure prompt disembarkation of the seafarer and provision of appropriate treatment
- The term “in need of immediate medical care” has been established and includes amongst others, serious injury or disease, injury which may lead to disability, broken bones, suicide risk etc.
#22 Fight against bullying and harassment in shipping progresses
During MSC 105 members agreed to the establishment of an IMO/ILO joint group to consider bullying and harassment in the maritime sector, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. The group will take into account information submitted by interested parties, with a view to providing recommendations for future steps, including the development of legislation, mechanisms and policies, and the launching of awareness campaigns by relevant stakeholders, aimed at reporting and addressing these matters. Recently, Maersk Line, Limited was hit with two lawsuits claiming that it failed to protect US Merchant Marine Academy midshipmen from sexual assault and harassment, according to the law firm representing two victims.