News Archive
London maritime

14 April 2014

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Leeds researchers slam cruise industry on sustainability


Leeds Metropolitan University say cruise industry ignoring social and environmental responsibilities

New research by Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU) claims the cruise industry is ignoring its responsibility to the environments and societies it visits. The research has provoked a strong response from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The study, published this month in the journal Tourism Management, analyses the industry’s lack of corporate social disclosure and ranks companies through analysis of their corporate social responsibility reports and websites to provide the “first cruise sector sustainability reporting index.”

According to LMU, 65% of the 80 cruise companies analysed worldwide do not mention corporate social responsibility on their websites and only 12 brands publish corporate social reports - all belonging to only four companies: Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean International, TUI and Disney Cruises.

Xavier Font, lead author of the study, said: “Most companies report soft data, such as statements from their CEOs, that are easy to copy and do not show real change. Companies mostly report on their corporate vision and strategy, their credentials and their governance and management systems, but they fail to report on actual performance data on many key environmental and socio-economic indicators. Reporting on emissions, effluents, waste or water is the result of eco-saving strategies and regulatory pressure. But not one of the 80 companies reports on the sustainability of the resources consumed or biodiversity actions, and few disclose their positive social or economic impact on destinations.”

The report says that more must be done by the cruise industry in terms of the environmental impact of cruise ship’s discharges, as cruises usually operate in highly valued coastal water and marine ecosystems. The report also refers to damage from anti-fouling coatings and ballast water and sewage discharges.

An LMU statement said: “The study also examined the socio-economic impact of the cruise industry and highlighted previous research which reported evidence of frequent violation rights for disadvantaged groups including charges for medical examinations, visas, transport and administration putting cruise industry workers into a level of debt that cannot be repaid and is comparable to forced labour.”

It also says that there is limited public data to sustain the claim that the cruise industry contributes to the economy by creating jobs and contributing to the local economy of the destinations visited. In fact, the report says, “low spend cruisers are considered unproductive given the costs incurred by their impact.”

Responding to the LMU report, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) told London Matters: “The cruise industry is highly regulated on an international basis to exacting standards towards both the environment and labour welfare.”

A spokesperson said: “We find the Leeds Metropolitan report deeply disappointing as it is seriously flawed with inaccuracies and subjective commentary which fly in the face of the facts of the achievements that the cruise industry delivers throughout the world.”

He added: "In both areas we go above and beyond those high thresholds to enable our 21 million annual global customers to enjoy the seas in which they cruise and be cared and looked after by a motivated and content workforce. We put great store into our social responsibilities and we make an enormously positive impact on national economies all around the world, to the tune of Euros37.9 billion a year in Europe. A recent study also shows cruising contributes Euros72 billion to the global economy, supports more than 775,000 jobs, and pays Euros24 billion in wages."

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MAIB urges compulsory two-watchkeeper system

MAIB wants MCA to push for two watchkeeper minimum

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has recommended that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) work closely with the European Commission and EU member states to propose to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that all vessels engaged on short sea trades carry a minimum of two navigational watchkeepers in addition to the master.

The recommendation follows an investigation into the grounding of the dry cargo vessel Danio in an environmentally sensitive area off the Northumberland coast. Bridge watches were being kept by just the master and mate. The mate, who was on watch at the time, was asleep for more than three hours before the vessel ran aground. No lookout was posted and the bridge watch alarm was turned off. The vessel ran aground on rocks underneath the Farne Island lighthouse.

According to MAIB, the mate had worked 17 hours in the previous port and was likely to have been suffering from the effects of cumulative fatigue. The hours of work and rest on Danio had been falsified.

If the MCA takes up the MAIB's recommendation, it will be the second attempt to secure an international mandate for a minimum of three watchkeepers on commercially operated cargo vessels. Following a recommendation from the MAIB in its 2004 Bridge Watchkeeping safety study, the UK put forward similar proposals but that initiative received insufficient support from other European flag administrations.

The general secretary of seafarers' union and Maritime London foundation member Nautilus, Mark Dickinson, welcomed the MAIB’s recommendation, saying: “We are painfully aware of the health and safety problems posed by fatigue and it is essential that the MAIB’s findings are acted on,’ he added. ‘We will be doing all we can to ensure that the UK and the rest of Europe picks up the proposals and secures the long-overdue action at the IMO.”

Meanwhile, in a prosecution mounted by the MCA, the Danio's owner, German-based Cux Ship Management, has been ordered to pay nearly £73,000 in fines and costs for failing to keep a proper lookout.

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Strategic partnership meeting focuses on ratings

The 6th Ministerial Roundtable meeting between senior industry figures and government ministers, part of the ‘strategic partnership’ programme, reported progress on issues relating to the training and employment of ratings.

A Maritime UK delegation, including the UK Chamber CEO, head of MNTB and head of communications met with shipping minister Stephen Hammond MP, business minister Michael Fallon MP, head of the MCA Sir Alan Massey and other officials to discuss issues relating to skills and employment.

A Chamber of Shipping statement said: “Significant progress was made in a number of key areas, especially on the UK Chamber’s campaign to include ratings within the tonnage tax core training commitment. An announcement from Government will be made in due course giving further details.”

The Chamber notes that Maritime UK’s strategic partnership with the government is now in its second year, and has already produced a number of significant changes – including an increase in SMarT funding from £12m to £15m.

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Brokers face high legal costs

A survey of London solicitors by specialist intermediaries insurer ITIC has highlighted the high cost of litigation for shipbrokers and others seeking judgment in the English courts.

ITIC gave a panel of London solicitors – all of whom had previously been instructed on cases involving ITIC members – a hypothetical claim scenario involving a broker which had been cut out of commission. The solicitors were asked to estimate the costs that the broker would have to pay to take the matter to court. The average estimate of the costs was £177,163.

The claim scenario given to the solicitors was based on actual cases financed by ITIC under its debt collection cover. It involved a sale and purchase broker which claimed it had introduced principals and performed the original groundwork for the deal. The broker claimed that it had then been cut out at the last minute and replaced by another broker who had simply ‘tied up the loose ends.” The sellers denied that they had any commitment to the broker.

ITIC says: “A dispute of this nature is likely to involve no more than a couple of witnesses and an expert giving evidence on each side. If, at GBP177,163, the cost of winning was expensive, then losing would be even more so. Under the English legal system, a losing party is responsible for its opponent’s costs. The solicitors estimated that the likely additional liability if the broker lost would have amounted to GBP139,687. This would have brought the total costs liability faced by the broker to GBP316,850.”

ITIC says that, although few cases proceed all the way to trial and many will settle at an early stage without the need for formal legal proceedings, it is important brokers have a sufficient level of cover to fund litigation. ITIC’s debt collection cover pays not only for the broker’s own costs but also for the potential liability to opponents.

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Greek students flock to ICS exams

Hellas Liberty
Students revise for ICS exams on Liberty Hellas

Athens has overtaken London as the most popular centre for students sitting the 2014 Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) exams, which began last week. Maritime London member ICS reports that, after coming a close second in 2013, the Greek capital has surpassed London as Greeks flock to the ICS programme.

The continued interest shown in the ICS exams by young shipping professionals reflects the belief that acquiring the right qualifications is more important than ever, according to ICS Director Julie Lithgow.

She said: “The incredibly strong interest in ICS exams in Athens suggests that young people in Greece see shipping as an industry with potential for the future. The Institute’s remit of making professional education and qualifications available to all is illustrated by heavily subsided examination fees and our commitment to hosting exams in any location that students request.”

Total candidate numbers in 2014 are the highest yet, with 2,600 students taking 6,500 exams in 110 centres. In Athens, some 330 students will sit the exams, with some taking part in revision sessions held aboard the restored Liberty Ship Liberty Hellas. Exams are also being conducted in places including Mogadishu, Beirut, Shetland Islands, Caracas, Bermuda, Rio de Janeiro, Doula (Cameroon), Vladivostok and Baku.

“The increasingly diverse geographical spread, and that fact that some countries will host multiple exam centres, suggests that professional qualifications remain critical to industry practitioners. Australia will host five exam centres, South Africa six, as well as supporting centres in Namibia and Zimbabwe while India will also host six centres,” adds Ms Lithgow.

The UK sees students sit the exams in 11 centres, from the Shetland Islands to Felixstowe, including London, Southampton, Cardiff, Liverpool, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Middleborough, Hull, Plymouth with 500 students taking over 1,000 exams.

ICS delivers its main educational programme, TutorShip, directly from its London head office and through a further 16 distance learning centres worldwide. Students initially sit the Professional Qualifying Examination, after which they can apply for ICS membership, with all the career advantages and benefits this offers.

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LR: “LNG bunkering likely to develop fast”

A new report by Maritime London foundation member Lloyd’s Register (LR) indicates LNG bunkering is likely to develop fast as global ports get ready for shipping’s gas fuelled future. LR's analysis of ports provides insight into the future of LNG bunkering world-wide as short sea demand grows and the possibility of expansion into bunkering for deep sea emerges.

The report, LNG Bunkering Infrastructural Survey 2014, indicates that major ports around the world are either planning for, or are anticipating, the wide-scale development of LNG bunkering.

In the analysis, 22 ports were assessed and 18 key questions addressed.

This latest analysis builds on the Lloyd’s Register LNG bunkering Infrastructure Study completed in 2011. In a statement, LR comments: “Shipowner demand, unsurprisingly, remains the biggest driver from the ports’ perspective but availability of LNG infrastructure has risen from being considered a low priority to the second most important driver after demand. Pricing is third. Most ports surveyed are in the North American and European Emission Control Areas (ECAs).”

The report's key findings are:

•59% of ports surveyed have specific plans for LNG bunkering infrastructure.

•Lack of in-port infrastructure will not hamper LNG bunker delivery plans.

•76% of the ports believe that LNG bunkering operations will commence at their port within 5 years.

•By 2020 key European ports will be able to support deep sea bunkering operations.

•73% of ports say that LNG will be supplied by existing onshore LNG terminals.

•In the short term, ports will rely on third party specialist suppliers to supply gas from terminals to ship – mainly by either truck or bunker barge.

•In the longer term, 47% of ports will have dedicated LNG storage capability for bunkering. One port is considering the use of floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs).

•By 2020/2025, ports expect that 13%/24% of bunkers supplied will be LNG.

•86% of the ports surveyed indicate that it is either likely (54%) or very likely (32%) that demand for LNG will be from deep sea ships within a 3-10 year time horizon.

•No significant change in bunker delivery methods is anticipated – for example, if HFO bunkers are being supplied by barge today it is expected that LNG will be delivered by barge in future.

•There is clear awareness that port and land safety issues need to be harmonised.

•Economics (32%) and availability (20%) are the two biggest factors in the development of a gas market.

•The report indicates that societal concerns about LNG as a future fuel are falling.

Latifat Ajala, LR’s senior market analyst comments: "Global ports are gearing up for a gas fuelled future for shipping. Now we can clearly see that the development of bunkering capability is going to be a vital driver for take up of LNG by deep sea shipping. Traditional bunkering ports will need to be able to offer gas just as they offer the traditional choice of fuel oil or distillates today. Most LNG fuelled projects seen so far are very short haul, point to point trades where the operator can secure and control gas supply regardless of the global bunkering markets inability to supply LNG. But gas can only really take off if supply is more like orthodox bunkering arrangements. Real expansion requires infrastructure and delivery capability. It is clear that ports are planning to develop the infrastructure and capability."

Download the full LNG Bunkering Infrastructural Survey 2014 here.

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Trinity House Hub opened by Princess Royal

The Princess Royal has opened “magnificent” multi-million pound, state-of-the-art new welfare facilities for former seafarers at Nautilus International’s Mariners’ Park Estate.

On her second visit to the 16-acre site on the banks of the river Mersey, the Princess Royal formally unveiled the new Trinity House Hub, a £4.1m project to build 18 fully-accessible apartments for older seafarers and their dependants, along with community facilities including a café, a spa, a gym and rooms for meetings and hobbies. Trinity House – which is celebrating its 500th anniversary this year -- donated £2m towards the cost of building the Hub.

Meanwhile, Nautilus has told the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that seafarers would like to see a commitment to pension provision included in a future revision of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). Nautilus officials joined maritime nations and representatives from around the world in Geneva last week to consider amendments to the MLC including the provision of financial protection against the abandonment of seafarers and compensation following death or injury at work.

Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson said: “The lack of pension provision for members is something that Nautilus has been aware of for many years; a previous survey found that the numbers paying into a pension plan had fallen to 75% in 2010. This latest survey also highlights that companies which contribute to pension schemes for their shore-based staff are not doing so for sea-going staff, thereby suggesting that the people who carrying out much of their core business are not as important.”

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Last chance to book for Chinese maritime law expert seminars

A conference on Chinese Maritime Law is being held in Southampton and London over three days from 28 - 30 April. The conference is being sponsored by the Confucius Institute at the University of Southampton in partnership with the China Maritime Centre at the University of Greenwich and the law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. The conference is also supported by Maritime London.

With China's pre-eminent position in global trade, its laws will shape the future of the shipping industry and modern trade. The historical and modern importance of English maritime law means that it has been a strong influence on China’s law. From its English and international roots, China’s maritime law is developing into a distinctly Chinese framework with the capacity to influence world trade. This conference brings English and Chinese maritime law together under the same microscope to discover and discuss similarities, differences and trends.

The conference brings together many of the most eminent Chinese academics in the field of maritime law, representing a number of Chinese universities. Among the speakers are also many expert Chinese and other academics active in the UK. The topics covered include carriage of goods by sea, international trade law, ship arrest, pollution liabilities and marine insurance.

Attendance costs £50 or £30 (half day) on 28 April, £95 for 29 April and £85 for 30 April.

Please download the event brochure for more information.

For enquiries, please contact, and to book, visit:
University of Southampton, 28 April
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, 29 April
China Maritime Centre, Greenwich University, 30 April

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IMPA returns to London

The international shipping supply industry will be coming to the UK capital with the return of IMPA London on September 17-18 this year, organised by the International Marine Purchasing Association.

The event held at QEII Conference Centre is expected to attract 2,000 shipping professionals and 120 exhibitors for two days of networking, learning and debating. Returning alongside the exhibition is the Purchasing & Supply Chain Conference.

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First MLC amendments to protect seafarers from abandonment

The first amendments to the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, (MLC) will protect abandoned seafarers and provide financial security for compensation in cases of death and long-term disability due to occupational injury or hazard.

More than 300 representatives of seafarers, shipowners and governments, meeting at the International Labour Organization (ILO) accepted the amendments. The amendments were developed over nearly a decade by a Joint Working Group established by the ILO and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 1998 and will strengthen the 2006 Convention. They establish mandatory requirements that shipowners have financial security to cover abandonment, as well as death or long-term disability of seafarers due to occupational injury and hazard.

“These legal standards will provide relief and peace of mind to abandoned seafarers and their families wherever they may be,” said Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, director of the ILO Labour Standards Department.

“In addition, by adopting these amendments to the Convention, shipowners and governments are also strengthening its provisions aimed at ensuring a level-playing field for quality shipping around the world.”

Under the new provisions, ships will be required to carry certificates or other documents to establish that financial security exists to protect seafarers working on board. Failure to provide this protection may mean that a ship can be detained in a port. The ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 came into force on 20 August 2013.

To date, 57 ILO Member States representing more than 80 per cent of the world’s global shipping tonnage have ratified the Convention. As of March 2014, the ILO’s Abandonment of Seafarers Database listed 159 abandoned merchant ships, some dating back to 2006 and still unresolved.

“The new measures will guarantee that seafarers are not abandoned, alone and legally adrift for months on end, without pay, adequate food and water and away from home,” Ms Doumbia-Henry said. “They also clearly make flag states responsible for ensuring that adequate financial security exists to cover the cost of abandonment, and claims for death and long-term disability due to occupational injury and hazards.”

A further set of amendments was also voted on, regarding shipowners’ liability to ensure financial security is provided, certified and inspected, in order to deal with contractual claims as quickly as possible.

International Shipping Federation spokesperson Arthur Bowring stated “The MLC, 2006 is intended to bring social justice and fair competition to the Shipping Industry and the lack of a specific reference to abandonment in the mandatory instruments of ILO and IMO was an omission that needed comprehensive action.”

He added: “Shipowners have a responsibility for seafarers under their contractual employment arrangements, and the problems created when the seafarers are abandoned needed specific legislative measures. The new amendments not only provide that safeguard but also recognise the role to be played by flag states and labour supply states.”

While only a “very tiny proportion” of the world’s seafarers experience the despair of abandonment but that does not make the occurrence any less serious for the affected seafarers and their families International Transport Workers' Federation president Paddy Crumlin said that the vote “represents a genuine turning point for the convention”.

He continued: “It proves that seafarers, shipowners and governments are committed to continuously reviewing the implementation of the MLC in order to ensure that it is a truly global and living instrument for the protection and benefit of all seafarers. Abandonment is a particularly dark stain on the industry and the new amendments are real and concrete relief for seafarers facing that dire predicament.”

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IMO meeting fails to resolve key issues

Two controversial areas were left unresolved at the recent meeting (31 March to 4 April) of IMO's Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). IMO Secretary-General, Koji Sekimizu, in his opening address to the IMO's Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC66) repeated calls for IMO member states to speed up the ratification and implementation of the Ballast Water Convention.

However the global shipping industry - represented by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), BIMCO, Intercargo, Intertanko, World Shipping Council (WSC), CLIA and IPTA – has voiced continuing concern about serious implementation problems associated with the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. In an unusual move, the industry groups have said they cannot recommend further states ratify the convention.

Meanwhile the UK Chamber of Shipping notes that some progress was made on the development of a data collection system for fuel consumption of ships, including identification of the core elements. However the Chamber warns that the moves “will almost certainly not be enough to deter the EU from continuing to introduce a European Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) scheme”.

On BWM an industry statement issued by ICS notes that, at MEPC, “governments decided neither to discuss in full nor to resolve these pivotal issues on which industry had made a detailed written submission.”

ICS explains that the industry submission addressed concerns about the lack of robustness of the current IMO type-approval process for the expensive new treatment equipment, the criteria to be used for sampling ballast water during Port State Control inspections and the need for ‘grandfathering’ of existing type-approved equipment that has already been fitted.

“However,” ICS notes, “governments decided not to address these proposals until after the Convention has entered into force (which has not yet occurred due to a lack of member State ratifications).”

According to ICS, the industry concerns were shared by a number of flag States (including some that ratified the Convention in the early years after its adoption) but rather than agreeing to a ‘road map’ that would have demonstrated IMO’s commitment to addressing the concerns, the MEPC instead decided to look into conducting a study of the problems raised by the industry. This proposed study will probably take at least three years to complete and the decision implies no guarantee as to what actions might finally emerge. The industry organisations say that once the convention enters into force shipowners will collectively be required to invest billions of dollars in ballast water treatment equipment.

It claims: “The consequence of last week’s decision by the MEPC is that shipowners, and society at large, will continue to lack confidence that the new treatment equipment will actually work, or that it will be found to comply with the standards that governments have set for killing unwanted marine micro-organisms.”

The shipping industry maintains that the legal changes needed to make the ballast regime truly global and fit for purpose – such as making IMO Guidelines on type-approval mandatory – are relatively straightforward and could still be agreed in principle by governments quickly.

In what the ICS statement describes as “a constructive response to the IMO’s decision” the industry intends to make another full submission outlining concerns and proposing a possible way forward to the next IMO MEPC meeting (to held this October).

The industry statement concludes: “In the meantime, the shipping industry cannot recommend that further member states ratify the BWM Convention until confidence building measures on resolving implementation concerns have been set in place.

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Seavision photo competition

Seavision, the British initiative to promote awareness of the maritime amongst 11 to 22 year olds in the UK and WISTA-UK (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association) are running a photographic competition “Came By Ship” to promote awareness of the amount of goods that move by sea.

Seavision says: "Those of us working in the sector are of course well aware that it is over 90%, but few others are so can you please help in the awareness drive by sharing details of the competition around your network and families, asking that they in turn do likewise." The winning entry from an Under 18 photographer will be awarded a Nexus Tablet whilst the winning shot by an Over 18 entry will receive a Canon digital camera,.

Entries can be submitted until 6 June and full details and upload facility can be found here. Multiple entries are welcome and need simply be on a maritime theme with movement of goods/ships at their heart.

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WFW advises Nordea on USD500m loan to Euronav

Maritime London member and international law firm Watson, Farley & Williams says that it has advised Nordea Bank Norge in relation to a US$500 million syndicated loan facility made available to Euronav.

Euronav plans to use the senior secured credit facility to finance part of the cost of acquiring 15 VLCCs from Maersk. ABN AMRO, Danish Ship Finance, DNB, ING, Nordea and SEB acted as lead arrangers on the loan facility, with BNP Paribas, KBC and Scotiabank Europe acting as co-arrangers. DnB, Nordea and SEB acted as bookrunners and Nordea as agent and security trustee.

Euronav also issued a US$235m seven-year bond to help fund the acquisition. The total acquisition price for the 15 VLCCs is US$980m. Once the purchase is complete, Euronav’s fleet will consist of 50 ships.

In 2013, WFW advised Nordea on a US$300m loan facility extension for Euronav. The WFW deal team was led by London Maritime partner Michael O’Donnell, with assistance from associate Nigel Willis.

WFW London partner Michael O’Donnell, said: “We’re delighted to have acted for Nordea on this significant deal. Nordea is one of the leading financial institutions in the maritime finance market and the credit facility will enable Euronav to significantly expand its VLCC fleet."

“The deal and Euronav’s fleet expansion plans are also a further vote of confidence in the shipping sector, which is such a key component of global commerce.”

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