INTERTANKO Bulletin: Safety, Training & BMPs to Deter Piracy Attacks

By The Maritime Executive 01-20-2011 11:49:28

INTERTANKO addresses three hot button items; Launching and Recovery of Lifeboats, mandatory piracy training in the Philippines and examples of value of adhering to Best Management Practices (BMPs) to deter piracy attacks.

"Tanker Shipping Today" from INTERTANKO's Managing Director

While tanker shipping continues to deliver ever-improving performance, the tanker industry is definitely not complacent and is wedded to maintaining its aims to develop and adopt best practices in shipping through its commitment to continuous improvement, said INTERTANKO's Managing Director Dr Peter Swift last week to the IMarEST/RINA joint branch on the Isle of Man. Against a backdrop of reduced demand for most ship types coming at a time of rapid growth in fleet supply, and consequentially lowered freight rates, the challenges for tanker owners today are particularly pressing. Additionally, the developing surplus in world shipbuilding capacity, besides being a headache for shipbuilders and creating its own problems, also contributes to the present and longer-term uncertainties for ship owners and their bankers.

Swift continued that as an international industry, tanker owners seek consistency in international regulations and standards, with global governance for a global industry, while providing safe, secure, reliable, cost effective and environmentally sound maritime transportation.

The environmental challenges are themselves wide ranging from managing toxic air and GHG emissions to biofouling, waste management and recycling, and also embracing emerging issues such as the avoidance of whale strikes and the minimisation of radiated noise.

He added that the already challenging quantity and quality issues associated with the future manning of ships are frequently compounded by the failure to accord fair treatment principles to ships' crews, and by the growing tendency to unjustifiably criminalise seafarers after marine accidents.

In his concluding remarks, Swift suggested that the maritime industries also collectively suffer from their failure to develop appropriate mechanisms for incident reporting, accident investigations and information sharing. While feedback and lesson-learning procedures are still generally relatively weak, the shipping community is nevertheless becoming more aware of the value of cooperation and partnership as necessary processes to deliver on their continuous improvement programmes.

Launching and recovery of lifeboats – the whole system is unsatisfactory

The following letter from INTERTANKO’s Marine Manager Fredrik Larsson was published on page 4 of Tuesday’s Lloyd’s List:


I was amused reading the article in LL about the Paris MOU's press release on the outcome of its Concentrated Inspection Campaign on lifeboat arrangements. I was particularly amused reading the following in the press release itself: 'Of the procedures or instructions and identification of hazards associated with launching and recovery of lifeboats, one out of 6 was found unsatisfactory. These are related to the safety management system on board the ship'.

I have no reason to doubt that one out of six procedures or instructions and identification of hazards associated with launching and recovery of lifeboats was found unsatisfactory. However, it is well-known among seafarers that operating a lifeboat is seriously dangerous, as the many deaths of seafarers every year demonstrates! Therefore, the question we have to ask ourselves is why this is happening? Is it the seafarers’ fault? The shipowners’? The manufacturers’? The regulator’s? Or a combination of all?

For decades the IMO has tried to answer above questions, but the tragic fact is that it hasn’t got the answers right. Another sad fact is that manufacturers blame the shipowners for not maintaining the equipment and for not training their crews, while shipowners blame the manufacturers for designing and producing poor equipment. Clearly nobody wants to take responsibility, although under SOLAS, liability rests with the shipowner!

Fortunately, all is not gloom as the LSA working group at IMO last year agreed on a set of new functional requirements for a new generation of hooks, including a requirement for the hook mechanism to be designed so that the hook and locking mechanism remains fully closed under any operational conditions until it is deliberately caused to open by means of the operating mechanism. Until such hooks are available and installed in a process which will become mandatory and which will take a couple of years, IMO recommends the use of a Fall Preventer Device (FPD) i.e. strops or similar to prevent lifeboats falling of their hooks when they open inadvertently - something which happens far too often with some types of hook. From the shipowners’ side, both the new hook and the use of the FPD are welcomed and supported.

It is of course very sad that some manufacturers recommend against the use of FPDs for reasons of liability. These manufacturers should consider that if the hook fails, then the lifeboat will definitely fall uncontrolled! But if a FPD is applied then the uncontrolled fall could be prevented - thus their name. Even so, some manufacturers still do not recommend FPDs.

Coming back to the sentence which amused me - the one which said that one of six procedures or instructions and identification of hazards associated with launching and recovery of lifeboats was found unsatisfactory. What really is unsatisfactory, in my view, is the whole system, including design, operating procedures, maintenance schemes, regulatory requirements and the lack of willingness among certain parties to accept responsibility and liability; and most of all, the fact that we have yet to find a way to get our crews off a ship in a safe and reliable manner when and if a ship ever needs to be abandoned. I am not convinced that the answer is the traditional type of lifeboat, as we know it today!

Fredrik Larsson,
Marine Manager, INTERTANKO

Philippines orders mandatory piracy training for seafarers

Filippino seafarers, comprising about a third of the world's commercial sailors, will have to go through anti-piracy training before they will be allowed to board ships. The training, which lasts about eight hours, has been mandatory since 15 January 2010. The measure is a response to a wave of ship hijackings, which remain a serious problem a year after international naval forces began operating off Somalia to protect shipping lanes.

Seafarers will be taught how to use fire hoses, how to detect approaching pirates and who to communicate with in case of an attack, how to manoeuvre their vessels to prevent pirates from boarding them, how to behave in case they are taken captive. The recruiting agencies will conduct the training and issue a certificate as required by the government. Seafarers will not be armed and training classes will not include the handling of firearms.

INTERTANKO is pleased to note that the piracy training programme is based on the industry Best Management Practices Version 2

New examples of value of adhering to Best Management Practices (BMPs) to deter piracy attacks

In view of recent hijackings in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, INTERTANKO again feels the need to remind its members of the value and the need to implement the recommendations of the industry Best Management Practices (BMP) including all relevant Self Protective Measures, (SPM), utilisation of all reporting requirements either voluntary or mandatory, as well as the need to register with the Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) (MSCHOA), the coordination centre run by the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR).

Statistically it has been shown that the best form of defense in the Gulf of Aden and/or Indian Ocean region is:

1. compliance with BMP,
2. full utilisation of SPMs and ensuring compliance with necessary reporting requirements,
3. registering with MSCHOA,
4. participating in Group Transits.

The BMP and other piracy details and information can be accessed from the Intertanko website by clicking HERE.