Specifically, the Asian owner-operator China Navigation Company, member of the Swire Group is conducting a project to deal with the issues it faces when calling at some of the smaller island Pacific ports with its liner and tramp services.
The problem, which often leads to fatalities, has emerged because of the growing diversity among seafarers and the limitation around their language skills aside from their native tongue, as well as the limited profile of labour skills of local stevedore personnel.
The challenging issue is mostly seen in emerging countries where personnel is employed by private enterprises or where applying health and safety policies in practice are challenging.
Consequently, to mitigate the risk of injuries that prevents ships from departing, shipowners are beginning to engage with the ports they regularly call at together with their contractors to create a safer operating environment.
Erik Green, Partner of Danish marine safety experts Green-Jakobsen commented that
Responsible shipowners - particularly those calling at smaller breakbulk destinations with limited onshore handing equipment - are regularly confronted by unprotected stevedores with limited training expected to perform rigorous manual tasks during both geared and non-geared loading and unloading operations.
Moreover, ITF reported two years go that the estimated number of preventable deaths by dockworkers registered by the ITF was at fifty on a global scale. Yet, from January 2018 to May 2019, ITF calculated at least sixteen dock workers and twelve seafarers that have lost their lives in a confined-space related accident. The latter marks a noticeable increase considering the fact that a total of 145 casualties over the last twenty years have been reported.
Therefore, the project is now phasing the implementation phase and is the first of its kind to be launched by a shipowner rather than a port authority or terminal operator.
Concluding, IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven stated that
Cooperation and interaction between shipowner-operators, ports, terminal operators and their service providers are very much needed in this area of safety at the quayside. It is another demonstration of the need for closer collaboration between shipowners, ports and port service providers on an industry level.