The event organized by SAFETY4SEA and sponsored by ABS, American P&I Club, Arcadia Shipmanagement Co Ltd, CHALOS & Co PC, Consolidated Marine Management, DNV GL, Dorian LPG, Gray Page Ltd, Green Jakobsen A/S, Hellenic Mutual War Risks Club, INSB Class, MacGregor, Marita Hellas, Marshall Islands Registry, North of England P&I Club, RISK4SEA, SEAHEALTH, SQE ACADEMY, SQE MARINE, Steamship Mutual, T&T SALVAGE and UK P&I Club.

The event brought together expert speakers who discussed issues concerning safety culture, crew competence, training and vetting. Inspiring presentations and panel discussions highlighted the importance of embracing a safety culture and focusing on safety performance. Experts shared their views on the crew competency gap, crew training needs and Safety Management Systems overhaul, which still remain challenging topics for the industry. In addition, safety-related issues in the cyber and autonomous era were put on the agenda. Panels also addressed the vetting evolution, measurement of safety performance and TMSA 3 challenges. Presentations were given in six panels as follows:

Panel No. 1 – Conference Opening

David Price, Managing Director, Wallem Ship Management, talked about engagement as the key to safety and operational excellence. He stated that safety of seafarers remains a top priority for Wallem and explained why safety is intrinsically linked with operational excellence. He also explained Wallem’s approach to increase engagement among its people, by referring to company’s safety strategy which focuses on five key areas: communication (ship & shore), retention, training, shipboard working & living conditions, recognition & rewards.

Sean Hutchings, Chief Technical Officer, Thome Group of Companies, noted that since the introduction of the ISM Code in the mid 90’s, there has been an increase in the number and complexity of maritime safety management systems. At the same time, there has been a rise in the number of complicated new regulations coming into force combined with increased demands from owners and charterers; all of which, he said, has led to an exponential rise in the number and complexity of administrative tasks on board. Mr. Hutching therefore explained how a SMS can be easy to navigate and understandable to serve its purpose. 

Warwick Norman, CEO, Rightship, talked about the vetting evolution over the last twenty years. Capt. Norman said that the motivation for the creation of RightShip was largely a desire to improve safety standards, in particular around the cape fleet where both BHP & Rio shared a common risk. The success of RightShip tells us is that the industry has changed, said Capt. Norman who believes that  human factor will be one of the next area for vetting reviews and a focus for the future.

Panel No. 2 – Safety Perspectives

Apostolos Belokas, Founder & Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, presented a set of Key Performance Indicators to demonstrate resilience of a Safety Management system. He outlined the concept behind safety I and Safety II and urged the industry to proceed from reactiveness to proactiveness with a faster pace. Under the key practical definition of resilience as “progress despite adversity” he stressed the fact that adversity for a ship operator may be initiated from encounters with Port State Control, Vetting and Incidents. He demonstrated that the cornerstone of an SMS is the management of its deficiencies and highlighted a set of four KPIs that may act as precursors of a properly operated “resilient” safety management system urging for their employment and benchmarking as an improvement tool.

Elias Psyllos, VP Commercial and Risk Management, T&T Salvage, shared his experience from recent incidents and referred to the appropriate steps for a correct risk assessment. The steps that ship operators should take into consideration are: appoint a protecting agent; activate a salvage company; perform on-site assessment; issue a refloating plan; notify OSRO and; execute refloating plan.

Konstantinos Voutzoulidis, Senior Engineer, ABS, noted that personnel transfers using ship's cranes during Ship-to-Ship transfer operations have significantly increased the last years; an increase in related accidents has been reported as well. Loss of time, damage of equipment, injuries and even fatalities are among the reported incidents, he said, and there are many causes that may lead to such, either due to human or equipment factors. Mr. Voutzoulidis advised that ship’s cranes, as being one of the identified causes, should be provided with certain safety features if intended to be used for personnel lifts and should be appropriately designed and meet the respective class requirements.

David Nichol, Senior Loss Prevention Executive, Thomas Miller Hellas, talked about important issues related to crew mental health. Mr. Nichol said that a broad range of factors, including anxiety, social isolation, pressure of work and disturbed sleep, can negatively influence the mental health of seafarers. Crew fitness evaluations have previously given emphasis to physical health and it is only relatively recently that due attention is being given to the mental wellbeing of seafarers. Therefore, the UK P&I Club places a high priority on the matter by raising awareness to the problem and in providing support and advice to its members.

Panel No. 3 – Loss Prevention

Mark Bull, Marine Consultant, Trafalgar Navigation, pointed out that we are on the threshold of a major change in our industry; it has already started and it is picking up speed. He said that the new ‘buzz’ word that is around now is autonomous, however, many things need to be considered about. The know on effect is far reaching and will require many conventions to be overhauled or dropped completely, new training systems to be developed, new control centres to be stablished, decisions made on responsibility; the story goes on. He highlighted that history always teaches us and we need to learn from the past so not to repeat the same mistakes in the autonomous era.

Chris Adams, Head of Loss Prevention, Steamship Mutual, discussed how cyber risks affect navigational safety. Considering that the computerisation of operating and control systems on vessels requires effective cyber security arrangements, it is vitally important to raise awareness of cyber security risks with personnel and to implement safe practices to avoid putting systems at risk. If however, navigational data should be compromised by a cyber event, traditional navigation skills should ensure that the ship is not placed at risk. Mr. Adams presented two case studies to question whether there is confidence that shipping assets are really protected.

Rod Lingard, Joint Managing Director, Thomas Miller War Risks Services Ltd, focused on war risks hot topic at his presentation. Mr. Lingard began by reminding delegates of the War Risks Additional Premium areas and then went on to look briefly at incidents and recent developments in a number of areas including, the Gulf of Guinea particularly Nigeria, Somalia, Yemen and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, Asia particularly the Sulu Sea and some incidents in other areas. Mr. Lingard concluded his presentation with a brief look at Cyber Attack Exclusion Clauses.

James Wilkes, Managing Director, Gray Page, raised awareness on how terrorism has distorted industry’s security priorities. Sixteen years ago, the shipping industry was told that there was a significant threat “to the security of passengers and crews and the safety of ships”. Mr. Wilkes noted. In response, IMO produced the ISPS Code, the first and only global maritime security regulation of its kind. Mr. Wilkes explained how the shipping industry’s response to concerns about terrorism has distorted its physical security priorities and why tackling regular and common security problems in shipping should be central to its security priorities in the future.

Panel No. 4 – Crew Competence & Training

Dr. William H. Moore, SVP, Loss Prevention, American Club, focused on loss prevention challenges regarding seafarer competency assessment and competency assurance. Dr. Moore presented concerns over seafarer competency and important key points associated with training. He highlighted that training is necessary for both skill development and regulatory compliance and that learning outcomes should be consistent with performance criteria objectives.  Above all, he emphasized that commitment to training, assessment and competency assurance is vital to maintain the quality of their seafarer’s skill sets and employment and referred to tools for shipowners, based on claims experience, surveys and regulatory developments.

Colin Gillespie, Deputy Director (Loss Prevention), North P&I, shared his views on the ‘right crew’ from a loss prevention perspective. Mr. Gillespie explained that at North, officers who have the right combination of knowledge, experience and attitude as recognized as ‘The Right Crew’. During his presentation, he explored the relationship between systems and people, focusing on the three key elements of safety culture: Sensible Systems, Safety Behaviour and the Right Crew.

George M. Teriakidis, Regional Business Development Manager, DNV GL, presented findings from a training survey which was conducted last year among the main shipping clusters in the world. The main target was to investigate if shipping community does have safety high on their agenda and which crucial elements contribute to safety awareness and culture. Mr. Teriakidis presentation gave an overview of these results and how crew, along with its training, is considered one of the main pillars of safety awareness.

Panel No. 5 – Safety Culture

Yuzuru Goto, Managing Director, K Line LNG Shipping (UK) Ltd, gave advice on how to avoid major accidents in LNG shipping. Mr. Yuzuro stressed that failures occur because it is difficult to eliminate risk in a complex industry like shipping, regardless all efforts on technology, training, regulations and procedures. He also noted that when we focus on doing everything right in the first place and police this through inspections and audits, we risk making people reluctant to admit their failures, concerns and mistakes. This, in turn, creates and supports a culture of cover-ups – creating a negative cycle based on distrust. Taking into consideration that in shipping accidents, crew knew before the event of the failures that caused the incident, but they failed to raise or correct the issue, the way to tackle this, is to create strong organisational culture.

Erik Green, CEO Green-Jakobsen A/S, explained how to measure real safety performance, considering that TMSA3 requirements and industry stakeholders are increasingly turning their attention towards safety performance that is driven by people’s enhanced soft skills. The latter are very much linked to reflection and learning from experience rather than learning from incidents, he said. Mr. Green further presented the his company’s approach in cooperation with four shipping companies , for measuring the safety performance and highlighted its importance for meeting the requirements of safety excellence through building resilient safety cultures.

Vivek Menon, Head of Occupational Health and Safety Dept, SEAHEALTH, focused his presentation on the ‘Safety Recruitment Assessment’ which assesses the likelihood for individuals to perform in a safe manner and enables the maritime industry to recruit the right people. Each potential staff member is assessed by using three elements -Knowledge, Personality and Reasoning. The process is on three distinct aspects that combine to filter applicants through to identify one firm safety profile.

Panel No. 6 – Ship Operators Vetting

Capt. Panagiotis Nikiteas, HSQE Manager / DPA / CSO, Anangel Maritime Services Inc, encouraged operators instead of discussing about vetting theory and following directly or indirectly imposed requirements, to discuss and implement actions to bring operators and managers, instead of followers, to the forefront of developments and applied innovations. During his presentation, Capt. Nikiteas suggested how industry players can work towards reduction and elimination of substandard shipping and presented actions to denote different approaches.

Stavros Meidanis, DPA/CSO, Safety & Quality Manager, Capital Ship Management Corp. , presented how TMSA 3 presents a new challenge for the Ship Operator. The 3rd edition, launched in April 2017, adopts a similar document structure as previous TMSA editions, but with more wording clarity, consistency of language and focus on continuous improvement.  Mr. Meidanis talked about the major changes introduced such as expansion of Element 6 - Cargo, Ballast, Tank Cleaning, Bunkering, Mooring and Anchoring Operations, an updated Element 10 combining Environmental and Energy Management and a newly introduced one, Element 13-Cyber Security. Also, special focus has now been given on continual improvement cycle, taking into consideration additional KPIs with ultimate target an effective performance management.

Capt. Panos Chatzikyriakos, HSE Director, Sea World Management & Trading Inc., provided insight into the current vetting challenges. As we became experts at slicing and dicing data to obtain amplified details on SIRE performance, the threat of sidetracking from our target grows, he said. Therefore, Capt. Chatzikyriakos urges for caution in determining the right indicators and targets for companies with this type of culture as the individuals may see their role as managing the indicator rather than managing the process that it is indicative of.

All sessions ended with a round table discussion and exchange with the audience.

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.