New Year, New Vessel

Captain Katherine Sweeney (taken from the January 2012 print edition of MarineNews)
Monday, January 23, 2012
Captain Katherine Sweeney

Start the year off right with the newest addition to your fleet.

 

Vessels come with lots of manuals and instructions as well as increasing amount of high-tech equipment. That said and even if it just involves a new digital camera or Blu-Ray Player, reading manuals is never exciting. Similarly, reviewing equipment documentation on a vessel is downright daunting, especially when you consider all of the other work it takes to get a vessel into service. That said; it is critical that the crew understand new equipment and are able to operate it. Get this part of your operations right from the very start.
 

While obvious competencies are in place (that’s why you hired qualified work force, after all), care should be taken in the first few days of operation to make sure you are off to the right start. Don’t institutionalize bad habits, or worse, inherit bad one from the previous vessel owner.
 

Recently, I was in a class where the Cosco Busan was discussed at length. One person who had intimate knowledge of the case indicated that remnants of the prior crew’s incorrect voyage planning was left on board and perhaps contributed to the accident. An ill-drawn course line to transit the span of the Golden Gate Bridge was on the chart in use on the day of the accident. This chart line had been drawn by the previous company’s officer(s) who had operated the ship on the last voyage. It was the track line in use, even after the inbound pilot informed the crew that the track line was incorrect. While I’m sure the outbound pilot did not consult the chart and use that track line to transit the area, it’s still an example of where remnants can kill.
 

Also, in the case of the Cosco Busan, the manuals on board were not in the working language of the crew, as required by the International Safety Management (ISM) Code section 6.6: The Company should establish procedures by which the ship’s personnel receive relevant information on the safety management system in a working language or languages understood by them. Manuals were, however, just not in Chinese. And while the crew had been on board for just two weeks, it was two weeks too long without understandable manuals, and with a very unlucky outcome.
 

While these are extreme cases, it’s important to realize that the previous owner (or even the crew on board for sea trials in the case of a new build) may leave behind what is appropriate for their company’s operation, but not yours. Before the vessel begins service is the time to catch these adulterations to your management systems. Operating instructions should be reviewed to make sure they reflect how you expect your crews to operate the equipment. If a checklist was generated by the previous owner or the shipyard, make sure it matches your procedure, especially when it comes to testing the equipment.
 

Pollution prevention equipment should also be addressed, as your policy may be stricter than what was in place before. Hopefully, your crew will be the first to tell you if a posted placard or policy is not correct. But the crew may accept whatever documentation and placarding is present on new equipment (or a new vessel) and assume it’s the new marching orders from the company.
 

Bunkering or fueling procedures are a requirement for all vessels. Care should be taken that (a.) these procedures exist; (b.) they are correct; and (c.) they match the company’s environmental policy. This is often overlooked. An auditor – certainly this one – will want to see them. Best practice, for example, is to have a binder with the bunkering procedures, as well as tank sounding tables, so that they can be available at the fuel station when fueling as required by law.

 
There could be new equipment on board that your safety management system does not address. Incinerators and oily water separators are examples of equipment requiring specific operating instructions, as well as clearly defined geographic areas where the equipment can be operated. Also consider whether the vessel requires a separate waste management plan, or if the company’s current procedure is sufficient.
 

I had the opportunity to take delivery of the first vessel built at a new shipyard. Due to a conflict of interest, a sea trial crew was used on the two sea trials conducted prior to delivery. The vessel was fitted with state-of-the-art plasma mooring lines with a breaking strength higher than that of the winch brake. I had never seen anything like these lines before — pliable and splice-able, yet hard as a rock when under tension. But I knew enough to understand they required a split drum, with the tension line split off to the working side. The delivery crew, however, didn’t know this, not being very familiar with these types of lines. Our brand new mooring lines could have been ruined before the vessel even finished its first voyage if our crew had merely followed the old crew’s procedures for mooring the vessel. That would have been a very expensive mistake.
 

Care should also be taken to meet all regulatory requirements for the myriad of placarding requirements. This includes signage about oil (Discharge of Oil Prohibited), addressing Marpol requirements (no plastic overboard and limits on what garbage can be tossed over the side and where), correct labeling of the Marine Sanitation Device and countless others. All of these are required by the Code of Federal Regulations and you would also be surprised by how many of these can be overlooked in the new delivery process.
 

A new vessel can also mean a new area of operation which, of course, comes with a huge list of items to be checked. The term “management of change” comes to mind in the effort to ensure no area is overlooked. As such, a new vessel is great for document control as you have a fresh start: new vessel, new procedures, new forms, new documents and (hopefully) no sins of the father. Be sure to take advantage of this fresh start by maintaining good document control as you sail into the future.
 

Captain Katharine Sweeney is CEO of Compliance Maritime, provider of independent internal auditing of security, safety, quality and environmental management systems for vessel operators. Captain Sweeney is an experienced Master Mariner, safety expert and federally licensed pilot with over 25 years in the Maritime Industry. Contact her at captsweeney@compliancemaritime.com.

 

(taken from the January 2012 print edition of MarineNews)

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

People & Company News

The Maritime Person of the Year

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s annual salute to ‘the person of the year’ this year spotlights McAllister Towing and Transportation Co. and its leadership team.

Oil Steadies as Equities Rally

Recovering stock markets boost oil prices; U.S. crude on track for first weekly gain in nine weeks. Oil prices steadied on Friday after bouncing back from six-and-a-half-year

Wärtsilä Scrubbers for Finnlines Vessels

Finnlines, a Ro-Ro and passenger vessel operator with services in the North and Baltic Seas, has contracted Wärtsilä to supply three vessels with exhaust cleaning scrubber systems.

Environmental

Sunken Towboat Lifted from Neches River

A towboat that sank in Texas' Neches River August 21, and caused a temporary closure of the waterway, was lifted out of the water Wednesday Evening. T&T Marine,

Wärtsilä Scrubbers for Finnlines Vessels

Finnlines, a Ro-Ro and passenger vessel operator with services in the North and Baltic Seas, has contracted Wärtsilä to supply three vessels with exhaust cleaning scrubber systems.

Dutch Green Ports to be Model for Turkey

Netherlands will be a model for Turkey’s ports within an environmentally-friendly Green Port implementation, says Daily News.   Port of Amsterdam and Dutch officials

Casualties

Iranian Ship, Crew Escape Captivity off Somali Coast

An Iranian fishing vessel and its crew have escaped after being held captive for five months by Somali fishermen, maritime piracy experts said on Friday, but it

Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya; 200 Feared Dead

A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died. A security official in the western town of Zuwara,

USN Observes Suicide Prevention Month

While September is Suicide Prevention Month, subject matter experts from the 21st Century Sailor Office's Suicide Prevention Office, OPNAV N171, say their goal

Maritime Safety

Sunken Towboat Lifted from Neches River

A towboat that sank in Texas' Neches River August 21, and caused a temporary closure of the waterway, was lifted out of the water Wednesday Evening. T&T Marine,

Iranian Ship, Crew Escape Captivity off Somali Coast

An Iranian fishing vessel and its crew have escaped after being held captive for five months by Somali fishermen, maritime piracy experts said on Friday, but it

Migrant Boat Sinks off Libya; 200 Feared Dead

A boat packed with mainly African migrants bound for Italy sank off the Libyan coast on Thursday and officials said up to 200 might have died. A security official in the western town of Zuwara,

Consulting

DNV GL Wins Frame Agreement with CLP Hong Kong

DNV GL, the technical advisor to the oil and gas industry, has been awarded a framework agreement by CLP Hong Kong to deliver risk management advisory services for its Asia Pacific operations.

MN 100: Baker Marine Solutions, LLC

The Company: Baker Marine Solutions (BMS) is an industry leader providing marine assurance and consulting services, performing DP assurance, OCIMF- OVID inspections,

Mariners Dread Port Calls

Seafarer social media site Crewtoo, part of KVH Industries, Inc., has published the results of its second Crewtoo Seafarers Happiness Index report detailing job satisfaction at sea.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
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: 2.7149 sec (0 req/sec)