The event was organized by SAFETY4SEA having as lead sponsors the following organizations: ABS, Bureau Veritas, MacGregor, SQE MARINE & UMAR WSR. The event was also sponsored by: American P&I Club, Arcadia Shipmanagement Co Ltd, Blue Planet Shipping Ltd, Britannia P&I Club, Capital Shipmanagement, Consolidated Marine Management, DNV GL, Dorian LPG, ERMA FIRST, FLIR Systems, Inc., GAITAS, KENNEDY & CHALOS PC, GOLDBAY MARINETECH CO. LTD, Gray Page Ltd, Green Jakobsen, Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association, Inmarsat, Marshall Islands Registry, MINERVA Marine, North P&I Club, Orpheus Marine Transport Corporation, RINA ACADEMY PHILIPPINES INC, Steamship Mutual, T&T SALVAGE, Tsakos Group,  The Standard Club, UK P&I Club, UnitedHealthcare Global and VENLYS Maritime Specialisation Services.

Discussions on how the industry can change mindset and embrace Safety II concept to focus on people rather than on systems took place at this year’s event. Namely, the last two panels centred around safety aspects describing why until today shipping has adopted Safety I concept, with panellists suggesting ways to move forward. As explained, there is need for moving from what goes wrong to what goes right, highlighting that safety management should not only be reactive, but proactive as well. Delegates at the 2018 SAFETY4SEA Conference also heard about challenges ahead for sustainable shipping, lessons learned from maritime accidents and ways to minimize risks while the focus was once again shed to human element and on ways to improve crew welfare and enhance human performance. Panel discussions and open feedback with delegates revealed key takeaways on both enhancing safety at sea and ashore and embracing technology to maximise efficiency and improve seafarers’ training while also attract the next generation to maritime industry.

Presentations were given in six panels as follows:

Panel No. 1 – Sustainable Shipping

Opening the first panel of the conference, Mrs. Carleen Lyden Walker, Executive Director, NAMEPA, emphasized on sustainability as an opportunity of change for the shipping industry. Never before the recorded history had so much change and disruption occurring at such an accelerated pace, she argued, providing several examples of how many changes the industry has seen over the recent years.

Mr. Jan Fransen, Managing Director of the Green Award Foundation, provided a list of current sustainability challenges the shipping industry has to deal with. He further talked about how ready the industry is to convert challenges to opportunities and adopt a strategy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting that collective action is imperative toward that end.

Mr. Peter Broadhurst, Senior Vice President, Maritime Safety & Security Services, Inmarsat, focused on the importance of satellite communications for shipping safety and steps toward GMDSS modernization.  On average, he informed, Inmarsat receives 6 distress alerts per day through its Fleet Safety system.

In completion of first panel, Mrs. Carleen Lyden Walker, on behalf of NAMEPA and along with Mrs. Cynthia Hudson, Hudson Analytics and NAMEPA Board Director, granted an award to SAFETY4SEA for all initiatives taken so far in favour of sustainable shipping.


Panel No. 2 – Minimizing Risk

Mr. George Dimopoulos, Principal Specialist, DNV GL, talked about the bow tie methodology. As explained, this method, which has already wide application in ONG, highlights the direct link between barriers, controls and elements of the management system. Although it is a novel approach for shipping, it has many potential benefits, yet requiring a broad industry uptake, he noted.

Dr. William Moore, Global Loss Prevention Director at the American P&I Club, discussed crew injury as a major aspect of human error: Slips, trips and falls are the most frequent cause of injury to seafarers, he noted, arguing that this issue does not receive attention it deserves. Citing what the industry can do about it, he informed of the Club’s joint initiative with ABS and Lamar University which focuses on such incidents.

Mr. Thrasos Tsangarides, Group CEO, UMAR WSR, discussed hazards and risks related to drydocking. Drydocks and ship repair facilities, he noted, are hazardous work places and common focal points for accidents in maritime, with the most common dry dock incident being fires, but also falling loads, trips and falls, starting machines accidentally, burn injuries, shocks, floods, crane and equipment collapses and failures.

Mr. Apostolos Belokas, Managing Editor, SAFETY4SEA, emphasized on benchmarking as a tool to minimize risk, providing statistics from the RISK4SEA Project. Benchmarks may be used successfully to identify gaps between ports, ships, companies, countries, with special emphasis what to do to prepare to minimize future risks, he noted.


Panel No. 3 – Human Element


Capt. Hans Hederström, Managing Director of CSMART, Center for Simulator Maritime Training, cited steps to create safety environment in shipping. Among the most important things, he stressed, is the Captain to be a leader and not operator, willing to delegate and coach officers. Combining voyage planning and Bridge Resource Management, as well as effective communication for timely intervention, are also vital, he added.

Mr. Erik Green, Managing Director, Green-Jakobsen A/S, discussed the importance of involving the entire organisation when companies want to improve people’s performance. The focus, he noted, should be on work processes, integration and HR management. Meanwhile, he added, companies must look for creating the possibilities for new and different learning process and various departments should contribute to that process including HR, Crewing, Training, HSQE, Technical, etc.

Capt. Nicolo S. Terrei, Managing Director, RINA Academy Philippines, Inc. analyzed the Competence Management System, a systematic method of education and training designed to minimize any gap between the competence level required by a company and the level of each individual seafarer on board. This system, he explained, will provide seafarers a more specific and objective assessment of their strengths and specify targeted areas for development.

Mr. Phil Sharples, Global Senior Medical Director, UnitedHealthcare Global Medical, discussed how mainstream healthcare is embracing technology to deliver higher quality medical care and how some of these initiatives could apply to the maritime industry. These initiatives include the utilization of low bandwidth video consultations to improve accessibility of medical care onboard, as well as electronic medical records systems to secure seafarer heath data.


Panel No. 4 – Lessons to be learned

Mr. Elias Psyllos, VP Commercial and Risk Management, T&T Salvage shared lessons learned with respect to salvage incidents, stressing the importance of the appointment of a protective agent, liaising daily with the local authorities and issuing a proper refloating plan. The protection of the marine environment by notifying OSRO is equally important, he added.

Mr. Rod Lingard, Club Manager of the Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association (Bermuda) Limited, discussed ship detentions caused by smuggling. He particularly referred to a recent English Supreme Court decision, the insurance implications of the decision, as well as Loss Prevention measures to be taken to prevent ships being targeted.

Mr. George A. Gaitas, Managing Partner, Gaϊtas, Kennedy & Chalos, P.C spoke at conference delegates about what traders in the United States may encounter with respect to the ODME bypass criminal prosecutions. Mr. Gaitas predicts that it is likely to be a significant change in the enforcement of MARPOL Annex I regulations in US and talked about related challenges.


Panel No. 5 – Safety Aspects

Dr. John Kokarakis, Technical Director, Bureau Veritas, Hellenic & Black Sea Zone analyzed how critical is the investigation of marine accidents, not only for accountability and security awareness, but also live-saving. Although human error is mostly blamed, he argued, accidents are probably caused by more than one factor and for this reason, it is important to transfer knowledge from other disciplines.

Mr. Chris Adams, Director, Head of European Syndicate and Loss Prevention, Steamship Mutual, analyzed marine casualties from the insurers’ perspective. Providing a brief overview of large accidents through 2017 and 2018 so far, he informed that the largest claims typically arise from collisions, groundings, and damage to fixed and floating objects.

Mr. Stamatis Fradelos, Director, Business Development, ABS, highlighted key technical safety issues related to the installation of Ballast Water Treatment Systems. His presentation provided an overview of the BWT Technologies and corresponding physical separation and different disinfection solutions that are currently available in the marine market.


Panel No. 6 – Safety 2.0

Mr. Colin Gillespie, Director (Loss Prevention), North of England P&I Club, argued that the first 20 years of ISM implementation have been biased towards a systems-centred, mechanistic approach to safety. This approach is called ‘Safety Management 1.0’. However, safety management in shipping is showing a shift towards a person-centred approach, referring also to changes need to take place and pave the way for ‘Safety Management 2.0’

Mr. Neale Rodrigues, Divisional Director, Britannia P&I Club, emphasized on safety culture in shipping: Analyzing the two models of safety, from the current Safety I referring to a reactive response to dangers, to the Safety II, promoting a proactive response to risk, he cited the requirements for an effective safety management in the shipping workplace.

Mrs. Katerina Skourtanioti, Managing Director, VENLYS Maritime Specialisation Services, discussed human performance under the scheme of continuous changes in the maritime industry. Shipping is continuously evolving, she noted, hence the role and the responsibilities of human onboard and ashore too. She further presented case studies proving that Human is the focal point of maritime industry: As such, she argues, personalisation will be the next step towards safety enhancement in the industry.

Capt. Yves Vandenborn, Director of Loss Prevention, The Standard Club, talked about one specific aspect of human element in maritime casualties: Seafarers’ resilience, he noted, can be improved through enhanced training regimes focused on realism, emphasis on experience, as well as changes to how an organisation functions.


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.

This was the 9th SAFETY4SEA Conference taking place in Athens, Greece while, as explained by Mr. Apostolos Belokas, the events are now extending presence to global leading shipping hubs. Following the first event in Cyprus, which successfully concluded within the first half of 2018, Hamburg, Singapore and London are the next destinations for upcoming months. Find photos from the event at SAFETY4SEA Flickr and explore more about SAFETY4SEA Events at