Best Practices in Recent Loss Prevention Incidents

The following presentation/article makes a brief review of best practices in loss prevention that have been collected from some of the recent UK P&I Club loss prevention bulletins, hence a UK P&I Club miscellany.

2013.12.05 - Best Practices in Recent Loss Prevention Incidents

S.27 of the updated Protection of the Sea Act Australia

The Australian policy makers have an extremely low tolerance of oil pollution. This is reflected in the Commonwealth’s Protection of the Sea, Act 1983. Sections 9 and 10 of the Act provide for strict liability and maximum fines of AUD$3.4 million for individuals and AUD$17 million for corporations.

Section 27A of the Act gives the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) the power to detain a foreign ship if there are “clear grounds for believing that a pollution breach has occurred”. AMSA have powers to investigate further under Section 27 and the right to demand security before releasing the vessel. I recently became aware of a case where it is alleged that there was some oil or oily substance on the deck and which was washed overboard while the ship was being washed down. The crew denied it, AMSA have not actually brought any evidence that it happened but detained the ship and requested security for the maximum amount, AUS$20.4 million.

They said that they do not have discretion to request a lower amount of security for minor offences and the advice from Australian lawyers is, until there’s a change in the legislation, or until there is judicial review, then that is likely to remain the situation

Customs fines

They are not everybody’s favorite, they’re only doing their job but in some countries we are finding that they are overzealous or pedantic, particularly when it comes to declarations, ship’s stores or bunkers. Ukraine and some of the West African countries come to mind.

In a case last year in Argentina, San Nicolas, the Master was declaring the bunkers on board and used the previous form as guidance on how to fill the one for this visit. Unfortunately, when the paperwork was submitted the old form went in with the new one. The customs added both bunker declarations together. Clearly the ship had nowhere near the declared bunkers on board and the UK P&I Club had to give security for $590,000 to get the ship away. Crews, Master and Chief Engineer need to be very vigilant and even avoiding administrative or clerical errors when submitting these declarations.

Concentrated Inspection Campaigns

The Caribbean MoU and Paris/Tokyo MoU concentrated inspection campaigns run from September 1 to November 30, 2013. The Caribbean MOU is focusing on compliance with MARPOL Annex I, regulation 14. This is dealing with the operability of oil filtering equipment and sludge handling. The Paris and Tokyo combined MOUs, which might be as many as ten thousand inspections, are looking at compliance with SOLAS Chapter II-1, focusing on safety working order and maintenance at the propulsion and auxiliary machinery, alarm systems and will pay special attention to the familiarity of the crew with the safety and emergency procedures

Fines for no switching the fuel over from heavy fuel oil to low-sulfur in California

We’re still seeing ships fined, for examples a car carrier with 17 visits to California without switching over fined nearly $300,000. A bulk carrier in August 2012 visited LA without switching over fined $53,000, a bulk carrier earlier this year visited Stockton and Long Beach fined $87,750. Chief engineer needs to remember to switch over and document it before going into regulated Californian waters.

Visas for crew members – Brazil

On ships trading Brazilian cargoes between Brazilian ports all the crew must have something called a Temporary V Consular Visa. There is a thirty day grace period, so if you get the business over within 30 days you’re okay, if you don’t then the ship will likely be fined; in a case last year a ship was fined $23,000.

Crab Shell Meal

The crab shell meal is not shipped very often I guess, but we see it shipped in containers from time to time. In a shipment from Halifax to Japan, the ship arrived in Oakland and smoke was seen coming from the container, the container was put to shore, opened up and the fire was put out.

It was determined that it was caused by spontaneous combustion. The container had actually been stowed on deck and in direct sunlight and the ambient temperature was 90 °F (32.2°C). Crab shell meal is not classed as a dangerous cargo at the moment. In the absence of those regulations, the UK P&I Club recommends that crab shell meal is handled stowed and shipped with same precautions as fishmeal.

Port Documentation and Sulphur Checks

A correspondent in Genoa advised very recently that ships visiting the VTE terminal will be inspected, and particularly the pollution type documents; IOPP Certificate, Air Pollution Prevention Certificate, Oil Record Book, Bunker Receipts (last three), main engine running hours. Sulphur content tests are carried out as well and ships will be fined if they’re above the permissible levels.

In a little research I have done to see what fines the UK P&I Club had in Europe, for not having low-sulphur fuel onboard, I was only able to come across one case for this policy year, but again it was Taranto in Italy. In that case there was a fine of 30,000€ but I understand the maximum can be a hundred and fifty thousand euros

Asian Gypsy Moth

The Asian Gypsy moth populations in Far Eastern Russia, North and South Korea, Japan, Northern China have been high again this year. If egg masses are found on board Ships arriving in the US and Canada, then the ships are instructed to move offshore for cleaning and further inspection. In order to avoid delay you’ve got to have the AGM certificate from the relevant body in the port of departure. You have got to depart from that port as soon as possible after the certificate has been issued, conduct self-checking en route and document it and then the agents at the port of arrival have got to be informed before arrival. From the 12th February 2012 Chile is going to have very similar requirements to Canada and the United States.

Above article is an edited version of Rod Lingard’s, Syndicate Manager, Thomas Miller (Hellas) Ltd, presentation during 2013 SAFETY4SEA Athes Forum.

You may view relevant video by clicking here.

The article was initally published in SAFETY4SEA.

Valuable information on Loss Prevention can be found in the UK P&I Loss Prevention webpage.

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