Philippe Boisson, communications manager and legal advisor to Bureau Veritas' Marine Division
, has recently authored a book, Safety at sea: policies, regulations and international law, focuses on preventing accidents and evaluating safety at sea. Boisson, who has been following safety system developments for more than twenty years, researched recent sea disasters, such as Braer in 1993; Estonia
in 1994; and Sea Empress in 1996. The book is the result of five years research that set out to answer a myriad of questions that, according to Boisson, "always arise after the aftermath of an accident." Specifically: Could disasters at sea be prevented? Are safety levels adequate? Are protective measures appropriate? Is the present system obsolete, unable to cope with the upheavals of the modern world?
Geared toward seafarers, shore-based shipping company staff, insurers, shippers and transport auxiliaries; the 550-page book reportedly, analyzes all technical and legal regulations affecting shipping. Among other issues are the safety of car ferries, new regulations on bulk carrier structures, the International Safety Management Code (ISM), the Convention on Training and Qualification of Seafarers (STCW), electronic charts, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), and Vessel Traffic Services (VTS). Boisson sheds light on international maritime safety precautions; strategies and policies adopted by states, organizations, and the maritime industry sector, which all set out to reduce the number of accidents and curtail consequences.
Safety at sea is divided into three main sections - the first part of the book lists the sources of international law on safety, its various public and private promoters on both national and international levels, procedures for setting standards, regulations and various legal instruments intended to prevent accidents.
The second section deals with actual regulations, determining the administrative, technical, behavioral, and operation requirements that ships must satisfy. Boisson also analyzes worldwide shipping standards, regulations, construction, equipment, operation and navigation.
The last section concentrates on establishing policies, surveillance and inspecting, and penalties for breaching regulations. Boisson concludes the book with an assessment of safety at sea and the prospective trends for the millennium. Ten basic trends are examined, including the emergence of IMO auspices, the end of global regulations, and transparency of information on ships.