Tag Archives: IMO

LIFE AT SEA: Phillipines ratifies ILO Convention 185

MANILA, Philippines — Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced the ratification by President Benigno S. Aquino III of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 185 or the Seafarers’ Identity Convention (Revised) 2003 which provides a uniform Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) that ILO member-countries are required to issue to their seafarers.

“With the ratification of ILO Convention 185, the security of our seafarers and their continued employment is assured,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz said ILO C185 also spells out the requirements for ILO member-countries on how to establish processes and procedures for the issuance of SIDs.

All countries ratifying ILO Convention No. 185 will be required to issue new SIDs that conform to the requirements specified in ILO SID-0002, the standard which puts in place a comprehensive security system that enables the first global implementation of biometric identification technology on a mandatory basis, thus enabling positive identification of the seafarer that holds the document.

“The Philippines has done extensive work for the implementation of the ILO Convention 185 as preparation for its ratification. Because of this, Filipino seafarers will be able to move more easily around the world with this international document,” said Baldoz.

ILO Convention 185 revised the earlier Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 1958 (No. 108). The much needed changes in the new Convention relates to the identification of seafarers.

Under ILO C185, the new SID carries a fingerprint-based biometric template, aside from the normal physical features for a modern machine-readable identity document, which was adopted with the agreement of the world’s ship owners and seafarer organizations. This new SID must conform to an international standard enabling the biometric templates on a SID issued by one country to be correctly read by devices used in other countries.

In addition, border authorities around the world will be able to check the authenticity of a SID produced by a seafarer, as the new Convention enables them to verify information in the SID either by reference to the national electronic database in which each issued SID must be stored, or through the national focal point of the country of issuance, which must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, the SID country-issuing must arrange for an independent evaluation of the administration of its issuance system to be carried out at least once every five years. The evaluation report is reviewed within the framework of the ILO with a view to the maintenance of a list of the countries that fully meet the minimum requirements laid down by the Convention.

Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/347266/aquino-ratifies-ilo-convention-185

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SHIPPING: Greener ships for a sustainable future

After watching the video, one thought crossed my mind: is shipping preparing itself for the dusk of the fossil fuel era?

The maritime industry, being important as it is, has a challenge, and the opportunity, to lead the world into what IMO called “a sustainable future”.

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MARITIME NEWS | WMO hosts workshop on extreme seas

WMO (World Meteorological Organization) is hosting a workshop with representatives of the International Maritime Organization, classification societies, shipyards, marine designers and ship operators on Extreme Seas: Improving Wave Observations, Maritime Safety and Ship Design.

The aim is to enhance safety of the merchant fleet in extreme seas and meet future challenges – especially given that the anticipated shrinking of the Arctic ice will lead to an increase in shipping and oil and gas exploration in unpredictable northern waters which were previously closed to navigation.

“WMO has a long standing culture of cooperation with the international merchant fleet. Presently, about 4000 carriers provide platforms for observation of various types around the globe. Needless to say, these observations contribute in part to the safe and economic operations of all marine activities,” said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a message to the workshop.

“Safety for shipping starts at the drawing table of the ship designers where structural matters are considered to make the new ships resilient to the environmental impacts. Weather and sea state observations from the open seas are part of the information bedrock of better ship design,” he said

The conference 4-6 October is meant to promote the harmonization of ocean observation practices with the needs of modern applications of these data in marine design and risk based management of ship operations.

Provision of ocean wave observations is central in this perspective, and particular attention will be paid to the occurrence and recording of extreme events and their calculated impacts on ships. Attention will be given to container vessels, passenger ships, and product and chemical tankers.

Historically, marine designers have relied on a WMO wave database consisting of mariners’ visual estimates of wave parameters. There is general consensus that this database needs improving – especially to meet the needs of ship accident investigations. Several studies indicate that one third of major ship accidents are caused by bad weather conditions. Consequently, the accuracy of wave observations is crucial.

Objectives of the conference include:

  • The application of available up to date met-ocean data in ship design and operations;
  • Methodologies for ship design in extreme and abnormal conditions with particular focus on acceptable safely levels;
  • Rules and regulations for marine structure design;
  • Consensus or methodology for extreme wave warnings.

Expected outcomes are:

  • Enhanced involvement of the world merchant fleet in met-ocean programmes;
  • Consensus on future wave data definitions and database management;
  • A special focus on extreme conditions and risk based management requirements;
  • Highlights of disaster risk reduction in the marine communities.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the International Maritime Organization and risk management service provider Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is part of the “Extreme Seas” project funded by the European Union.

Source: http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/news/waves_en.html. Highlights and links added by me.

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ARTICLES | Iran, sanctions, and a disaster waiting to happen

Luke Hunt | The Diplomat, 2011.08.22

International sanctions against Iran’s national shipping line in response to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are intensifying. The world’s largest container carrier, Maersk, has suspended operations at three Iranian ports, while the US Treasury Department has launched legal action against 121 companies and individuals affiliated with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping (IRISL).

The latest round of measures, aimed at Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes, came after IRISL was ostracized by the international maritime community with mortgage foreclosures on its ships and saw access to insurance greatly limited, prompting speculation IRISL is facing its own death knell.

However, as IRISL limps on, a new and potentially deadly risk has emerged – particularly in East Asia, where the monitoring of IRISL’s fleet has improved dramatically, but surveillance still remains patchy.

‘Any Iranian ship in Asian waters should send alarm bells ringing as Iran tries by all means to escape sanctions imposed for its involvement in nuclear weapons proliferation,’ says Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor with the University of New South Wales. ‘The effect of the sanctions led IRISL to put unsafe ships to sea, where they pose a potential environmental hazard. Who will foot the bill if an IRISL ship is involved in an accident and spills its fuel? Asia states that allow IRISL ships into their ports should have second thoughts.’

Doing business with Iran and IRISL has become increasingly difficult in recent years with United Nations, European and US sanctions making even the most awkward operator cautious about trading with the country.

Tehran insists the sanctions are unjust and that its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes; IRISL has echoed those sentiments and says its operations remain profitable and sound.

‘We don’t want nuclear arms, nor are we seeking to possess them,’ Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday. ‘These weapons are directed against people. We oppose them because of our religious beliefs – our religion says that they are prohibited. We are religious.’

While maintaining this stance, IRISL has also been accused of attempting to evade sanctions through a complex network of front companies to take advantage of loopholes in maritime security. But maritime law now poses a problem for IRISL and the waters that its ships ply.

Under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (2001), ship owners are required to hold insurance or other financial security to cover the liability for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability. This limit is usually up to $1 billion.

A well-documented cat and mouse game has therefore been played out as IRISL tries to buy adequate insurance for its operations. Of one specific class of insurance – protection and Indemnity, or P&I – the potential consequences could be felt well beyond the United States, Europe and Iran.

When goods are shipped around the world, the owners of the goods and vessels usually take out marine insurance. This cover, however, doesn’t generally extend to third party liability in the event of an accident.

‘P&I cover is third party liability insurance, which provides compensation to third party victims of maritime incidents,’ says Andrew Bardot, Secretary-General of the International Group of P&I Insurers.

It is essential to reassure port authorities that should a vessel run aground, collide with another ship, or become involved in an oil spill or other serious incident, that insurance cover is in place to pay for damage to ships, ports or the environment.

The enormous costs associated with the Deep Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico of between $2 billion and $5 billion, or the still evolving Fukushima disaster in Japan, have driven home the potential cost of nightmarish accidents. The Exxon Valdez showed litigation and reparations could take decades to resolve.

IRISL’s P&I cover was withdrawn by Lloyds of London in 2009 following UK sanctions against the shipping line. IRISL then found cover from a P&I provider operating out of Bermuda. In 2010, Bermuda passed legislation, bringing the country in line with the UK.

‘EU regulations have resulted in cover being terminated or not renewed for a number of designated Iranian shipping companies including IRISL and the NITC (National Iranian Tanker Company),’ Bardot says.

IRISL then approached the Islamic P&I club, which refused to provide cover.

Finally, IRISL secured P&I cover from Moallem, an Iranian insurer with no record of providing this type of insurance. NITC was faced with a similar issue with regards to P&I cover and has publicly stated it is using an ‘Asian P&I provider’ with cover that’s reliable, but more expensive than that secured through London. However, the lack of transparency on the identity of the provider does nothing to reassure on the reliability of the cover. Either way, on December 21, the US Treasury sanctioned Moallem.

All P&I providers re-insure against catastrophic losses, which kicks in for large exposures, but it isn’t clear who Moallem uses for re-insurance. Major European insurance houses wouldn’t be in a legal position to offer cover, leaving the Peoples Insurance Company of China (PICC) being touted as a possibility.

But analysts say that given its ongoing negotiations over access to Lloyds of London, it was highly unlikely that PICC would risk its international standing by being associated with a controversial and sanctioned client like IRISL.

Within maritime circles, the presumption is the Iranian government is the reinsurer of Moallem. But analysts say that given the doubts over Moallem and the severe restrictions on the Iranian government, banks and other institutions, the key question is how IRISL and Tehran would react to a shipping and environmental calamity, and what options would be open for redress and compensation.

It’s an issue that Greenpeace says must be addressed by the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) given the threats to livelihoods and food security – and it says that any legal loopholes should be closed, while uninsured ships should be barred from entering regional ports.

Keith Loveard, a regional security analyst with Jakarta-based Concord Consulting, says an Iranian shipping disaster off the coast of Indonesia would likely cause a rift within government, as was seen with the leak from a Thai rig off the northern Australian coast last year.

‘The government would be caught between different currents, with the Foreign Ministry attempting to maintain smooth relations, while the Environment Ministry would be hopping mad and local communities would be left to deal with the mess,’ he says. ‘This is all very hypothetical. But the longer rogue ships operate without any insurance cover, the likelihood of something going wrong obviously increases.’

Others suggest one means of recovering costs incurred in dealing with an environmental incident would be to sequester any Iranian state-owned property or assets within the affected country, such as aircraft operated by state-owned Iran Air.

Gavin Greenwood, a risk analyst with Hong Kong-based Allan & Associates, says the recent seizure of a Thai aircraft used by the country’s crown prince in Germany to try and resolve a long standing dispute over money was one example over how this could work.

‘The International Court of Justice could also be involved, though this is a long term proposition,’ he says, adding that ‘Iran used the ICJ to claim restitution from the US after a US Navy warship shot down an Iran Air Airbus in July 1988.’

Mohan Malik, Professor of Asian Security at the Asian-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, says the location of an accident involving the Iranian shipping line would also be important.

‘If it happens in the busy Malacca Straits or in the South China Sea, most littoral and major powers will be forced to contribute to the clean-up in order to facilitate an uninterrupted flow of energy and goods,’ he says.

‘Of course, there will be law suits against the Iranian government too, but the Islamic clerics can be expected to invoke Allah’s wrath on those who do so. Also, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and other UN agencies would be called upon to play a greater role in ensuring that uninsured shipping lines aren’t allowed to operate in international waters.’

The IMO declined to comment on IRISL. However, sources close to the organisation say it has been undertaking amendments to its strategic direction in regards to liability and compensation claims in the wake of the Deep Horizon disaster.

Most maritime authorities demand a Blue Card from the P&I insurer as evidence that sufficient insurance is in place to meet liability requirements under the Bunker convention. But in Asia it’s not clear how routinely this is enforced or checked. If a maritime agency had doubts about the owners or operators ability to meet a liability it is able to deny a vessel entry or exit from ports or waters under its control.

Thayer says that lack of clarity in Asia demonstrates ‘yet again’ the weakness of the region’s security architecture and the reluctance of many Asian states to support sanctions.

‘By allowing the IRISL to continue in the face of sanctions, they are undermining not only good order at sea but inviting a disaster for which they will have to assume responsibility,’ Thayer says. ‘Banning IRISL ships from Asian ports would be a good first step in supporting the non-proliferation regime and protecting the marine environment against an accidental fuel spill.’

While the United States, EU and UK have taken the lead against Iran in regards to its declared and undeclared nuclear weapons ambitions, the real world impact of those sanctions are now being seen well beyond the Iranian interests that have been targeted.

IRISL continues to operate in Asian waters, with untested and unproven insurance. The responsibility for ensuring Asia doesn’t become a victim of events in Iran now rests squarely on the shoulders of Asian governments and their maritime authorities.

Source: http://the-diplomat.com/2011/08/22/maritime-disaster-waiting-to-happen/

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MARITIME NEWS | UK Chamber of Shipping: taxes may be necessary to cut carbon emissions

THE UK Chamber of Shipping (CoS) has told the global shipping community that it must go further that adopting the IMO technical efficiencies to cut carbon emissions and that an economic (or market-based) system – ultimately a state system of taxation – may be necessary to meet government targets.

Read more at SeaNews Turkey – UK: Chamber of Shipping says taxes may be necessary to cut carbon emissions.

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MARITIME | New ship waste rules big step forward

After years of campaigning for stricter control of ship waste dumping at sea, environmental NGOs are cautiously celebrating substantial revisions to global rules governing garbage discharges from ships, as adopted at the International Maritime Organisation this week. NGOs are however concerned about loopholes and the likely inability of governments to properly enforce the new regulations.

Environmental groups the North Sea Foundation and Seas At Risk, who are represented at the International Maritime Organisation through the Clean Shipping Coalition, have been calling for International action on ship source litter for many years.

The most significant change to Annex V of the MARPOL Convention comes in the shift away from a system that listed what could not be dumped, to one that contains a “general prohibition” on dumping with only limited exceptions. Environmental NGOs welcome this development but fear that regulators have not given sufficient attention to the enforceability of the new regulations.

A key criticism of the new regulations concerns their failure to create a “closed system” that would allow full waste accounting to expose instances of illegal dumping. The existence of unnecessary exceptions to the “general prohibition” together with the continued use of on-board incinerators make it impossible to tell if the waste a ship delivers to a port reception facility is all the waste it has generated on its voyage or not.

It is also the case that although the dumping of plastics has been prohibited for many years, on most beaches, and certainly on any that are close to a shipping route, it is easy to find plastic items that have come from ships.

Jeroen Dagevos of the North Sea Foundation said: “After years of campaigning for international action on ship waste dumping we applaud the IMO for adopting stronger regulations. The global marine environment is under serious threat from the build of marine litter and although we are concerned that the current enforcement and compliance system is not working, these revisions are a big step towards ending the problem of ship waste dumping.”

Chris Carroll of Seas At Risk said: “The extension of the ban on dumping plastics to other ship waste is welcome but the amended regulations are a missed opportunity as regards effective enforcement. Policing ships at sea is almost impossible and without a closed system and full waste accounting it will be difficult for port authorities to identify breaches of the regulations. ”

Source: http://www.noordzee.nl/en/actueel_artikel.php?contentID=11

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SHIPPING | ISF Launches New ‘Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention’

The International Shipping Federation (ISF) has launched a new edition of its comprehensive ‘Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention’.  The new edition has been extensively revised to take account of the substantial changes made to the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) by the IMO Diplomatic Conference in Manila, in June 2010.

ISF Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, explained:

“Since the 1990s, when the STCW Convention was previously revised, the training of seafarers has been substantially overhauled, and the 2010 ‘Manila amendments’ will hopefully consolidate this improvement in standards.”

The new Guidelines explain in detail these amendments, which cover everything from enhanced refresher training for qualified seafarers to the introduction of standards of competence for the new grade of Able Seafarer in both the deck and engine departments.  Importantly, the 2010 amendments also introduce major changes to the IMO regulations concerning seafarers’ minimum rest hours, which are intended to prevent fatigue.  Given their significance to shipboard operations, an entirely new section of the Guidelines has been added to this edition to explain these new rules.

Mr. Hinchliffe added:

“The competence of seafarers is a critical factor in the safe and efficient operation merchant ships, and has a direct impact on the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.  Consequently it is imperative that the standards required by the STCW Convention, as amended in 2010, are put into effect as soon as possible.  It is hoped that the new edition of the ISF Guidelines will help achieve this objective and ensure that the highest standards of seafarer competence will continue to be maintained worldwide.”

The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention will enter into force on 1 January 2012, with full compliance required by 1 January 2017.

Source: http://www.marisec.org/pressreleases.htm#22march

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