A Call for Vessel Refuge Guidelines

Posted by Michelle Howard
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Peter Hinchliffe

Shipowners, Salvors and Insurers – through their respective trade associations – have jointly called for the prompt and proper implementation of international measures to provide a Place of Refuge for stricken vessels, following a series of incidents where casualty vessels have been delayed in accessing a safe harbor.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said that it has noted “with dismay” the refusal by some coastal States to make places of refuge available, thereby risking lives and the environment even after the high profile cases of the Stolt Valor and the MSC Flaminia in 2012.  And the plight of the Maritime Maisie presently off the coast of Japan has brought this subject back into sharp focus.  The 44,000 dwt chemical tanker is being held at sea by six tugs after a collision and fire on 29 December 2013.  The cargo fire has now been extinguished through the efforts of the salvors in the face of difficult conditions at sea.

The vessel has been seeking a place of refuge in either the Republic of Korea or Japan for more than a month.  The salvors have indicated that it is a priority to take the vessel to calm waters to manage the remaining cargo in a safe manner and so to minimize potential damage to the environment.

The International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI); the International Salvage Union, (ISU) and ICS all recognise that the issue of Places of Refuge for casualty vessels is sensitive and that the risk of pollution from casualties cannot be completely removed. They also recognise that decisions with regard to handling casualty vessels carry political implications and may impact coastal communities.

At the same time, failure to offer a suitable Place of Refuge may prevent successful salvage intervention and therefore allow a casualty’s condition to worsen and ultimately lead to pollution that might otherwise have been prevented, and that pollution may affect a wider area than need have been the case.

Peter Hinchliffe, ICS Secretary General, said, “Guidance on the handling of requests for places of refuge was agreed at IMO but often when a case arises the coastal states concerned take a 'not in my backyard' attitude. This is in marked contrast to attitudes to aircraft in need of assistance.  This current case shows that recent lessons have simply not been learned.”

Commenting on the matter, President of the ISU, Leendert Muller said, “Our members are right on the front line of this issue. Too often they are unable to follow the best course of action which is to take the casualty into shelter, which does not necessarily have to be a port. We have seen infamous cases like Castor and Prestige and more recently the MSC Flaminia and Stolt Valor and now the Maritime Maisie where our members, attending damaged vessels, experienced great difficulty in finding an authority willing to accept the casualty.”

Ole Wikborg, President of the IUMI, pointed out, “The potential impact of environmental damage has to be reduced as much as possible and the safety of crews is paramount and we have to minimize material damage to ships and equipment. Coastal states must be able to make the best possible decision to prevent further damage following a maritime accident. Some countries have a system that seems to be functioning. IUMI is of the strong opinion that the prevailing regulations as set out, for example, by IMO and the EU are sufficient but that the necessary steps have to be taken to make the rules work.”

ISU, ICS and IUMI all note the international legal context for the issue and the significant relevant legislation that is in place internationally and regionally, in particular, IMO Resolution A.949, “Guidelines on Places of Refuge for ships in need of assistance”; Resolution A.950 (23) (recommending all coastal States to establish a Maritime Assistance Service) and the 1989 Salvage Convention as well as the European Union vessel traffic monitoring and information system (Directive 2002/59/EC as amended by Directive 2009/17/EC) which prevents member States from issuing an outright refusal to provide a place of refuge and states that safety of human life and the environment are of over-riding concern.

The industry bodies do not see merit in pursuing additional international legislation which will be a lengthy process and will consume resources. Instead they will campaign for better application of, compliance with and enforcement of existing rules and guidance. ISU has already formally presented views on Places of Refuge to EU member states through the EU Commission; the issue will be raised in IMO fora this year and there will be direct engagement with the governments of individual coastal states.

In short, coastal states should be encouraged to recognise that granting a Place of Refuge to a casualty vessel may be the most appropriate course. States should establish an authority to assess each case on its merits without political interference. Such an assessment must include a visual inspection and conclude with recommendations for managing and mitigating the risk of any impact on local coastlines and communities. The assumption should be that a Place of Refuge will be granted if needed and that there should be “no rejection without inspection”.

IUMI, ICS and ISU would like to see wider adoption by coastal states of simple, robust, “single point” command and control models akin to that of the United Kingdom’s SOSREP system.

Maritime Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Baltic Mercur II makes maiden voyage to Antwerp

This week Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC) celebrates the maiden voyage of the Baltic Mercur II via the port of Antwerp as part of their regular transatlantic service to the US Gulf.

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

USS George Washington Completes Carrier Qualifications

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 and the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) completed its carrier qualifications (CQ), May 23. CQ allows

Legal

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

DNV GL’s Synergi to Manage Siem Offshore Newbuilding Projects

Siem Offshore has chosen DNV GL’s Synergi Project to manage nine newbuilding projects. Synergi Project software The software is used to optimize the collaboration

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

Tanker Trends

Bahri Inks Contracts with Hyundai to Build 5 VLCCs

The National Shipping Co. of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) signed contracts on Thursday with Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) to build five very large crude carriers (VLCCs),

Red Tape, Industrial Relations Could Stifle LNG Potential

Australia could develop the world’s most technologically advanced LNG industry, according to a report by Accenture. But if industry is to reach its potential

HSH Bank to Split Off Bad Shipping Loans

German lender HSH Nordbank could split off a "bad bank" for non-performing shipping loans as part of a plan to create a sustainable business model, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Ports

Norwegian Dawn Arrives In Boston

The Norwegian Dawn, the cruise liner that ran aground as she left Bermuda this week, has arrived in Boston.   A story in the Boston Herald says, “Passengers

Dortmund Port's Throughput Up

In 2014, Dortmund’s combined goods throughput on ships and trains amounted to 5.7 million tonnes, compared to 5.3 in the previous year. 2.9 million tonnes (+600,000) of this was ship related.

Baltic Mercur II makes maiden voyage to Antwerp

This week Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers (ARRC) celebrates the maiden voyage of the Baltic Mercur II via the port of Antwerp as part of their regular transatlantic service to the US Gulf.

News

Singapore and China Conclude Naval Drill

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and the People's Liberation Army (Navy) (PLAN) concluded the inaugural Exercise Maritime Cooperation, a new bilateral naval exercise series on Tuesday (May 26).

US Senators Want a Stop to Arctic Drilling

Eighteen U. S. senators have urged the Obama’s administration to halt Shell’s Arctic drilling plans saying that it is an unacceptable and irresponsible decision, says a report in Reuters.

Norwegian Dawn Arrives In Boston

The Norwegian Dawn, the cruise liner that ran aground as she left Bermuda this week, has arrived in Boston.   A story in the Boston Herald says, “Passengers

Maritime Safety

Japan, Malaysia to Beef up Maritime Cooperation

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak pledged to advance defense and maritime cooperation.   It is the first time that

USCG Provides Safety Tips to Paddlesports Enthusiasts

As the boating season unofficially begins, the 9th Coast Guard District is reminding paddlesport enthusiasts to take precautions to ensure safe trips and increase

Wärtsilä's' Propulsion for Use with US Compliant ELA

Wärtsilä has developed propulsion systems that are capable of operating with Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) and comply with the US Vessel General Permit 2013 (VGP-2013).

Government Update

Solarworld Wants Duties on Chinese Solar Goods in U.S. Extended

German solar manufacturer SolarWorld will apply to the United States for an extension of duties on Chinese panel imports that are due to end this year, weekly Euro am Sonntag said.

Alaska, Washington to build Arctic Icebreakers

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, and Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington, have introduced a bill that would authorize the Navy to build up six icebreakers for use by the U.

Launch of First Future Destroyer, Hobart

Speech delivered by the Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews during the launch of Hobart - the first future destroyer: Thank you for being here on this very important day.

Insurance

Shell CEO Backs Fossil Fuels, Climate Change Warnings

The world's fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said on Friday.

CMA CGM Implements War Risk Surcharge in Yemen

French container shipping company CMA CGM said it has implemented a War Risk Surcharge on all shipments to Hodeidah, Yemen.   Applicable with immediate effect,

Freeport LNG Was Not Advised Against Inviting Chinese Investors

The head of Freeport LNG on Friday said that the U.S. Department of Energy did not advise against inviting Chinese investment in the company's Texas export plant,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2325 sec (4 req/sec)