IMO Steps Up Safety in Polar Waters, by Joseph R. Fonseca


IMO adopts a new set of regulations on navigation in polar waters now in force

 United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted global, binding regulations to enhance safety of navigation in polar waters. After several years’ intense negotiations, the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) has today adopted a new set of regulations on navigation in polar waters, including the waters around Greenland. The IMO hereby takes a great step towards making the Polar Code in its entirety internationally binding. The Polar Code covers all aspects of navigation in polar areas – from the construction of ships, the training of crews and navigation to improved coordination of search and rescue operations. The Polar Code will apply to passenger ships, and it will also apply to cargo ships with a gross tonnage above 500. Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority Andreas Nordseth states: ”I am pleased that, with the adoption of the navigational safety issues of the Polar Code, we have taken yet another great step towards an internationally binding set of regulations to enhance the safety of ships navigating polar waters.” Before the Polar Code becomes effective, the environmental provisions on navigation in polar areas must also be adopted by the IMO Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in the spring of 2015. However, the provisions have already been approved by the MEPC in September 2014. Therefore, it is expected that the entire Code will be adopted to become effective at the turn of the year 2016/2017.

MHI Completes Development of “Sayaringo STaGE”, by Joseph R. Fonseca


[Sayaringo STaGE a next-generation LNG carrier]

 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has completed development of the “Sayaringo STaGE,” a next-generation LNG (liquefied natural gas) carrier. The Sayaringo STaGE was developed as a successor to the “Sayaendo1,” the company’s highly acclaimed LNG carrier evolved from carriers with Moss-type2 spherical tanks that offer a high level of reliability. The adoption of apple-shaped tanks (ringo being the Japanese word for “apple”) has enabled a near 16% increase in LNG carrying capacity without changing the ship’s width, while incorporation of a hybrid propulsion system has boosted fuel efficiency by more than 20% compared to the Sayaendo (and more than 40% vis-à-vis earlier carriers). Leveraging the Sayaringo STaGE’s capacity for transporting North American shale gas safely and efficiently, MHI plans to undertake extensive business activities promoting the new vessel as a strategic product among its LNG carrier offerings.

Whereas the Sayaendo has a continuous cover over spherical pea-shaped tanks, the tanks adopted on the Sayaringo STaGE have an apple-like shape with the upper half bulging more than the lower half. The new apple-shaped tanks constitute an improved version of high-reliability Moss-type tanks, and they have been adopted on the Sayaringo STaGE as part of MHI’s initiative to develop a vessel in the New Panamax3 category, i.e. capable of passing through the newly expanding Panama Canal which is expected to go into service early in 2016. The new structural configuration succeeds in efficiently increasing LNG carrying capacity. STaGE, an acronym deriving from “Steam Turbine and Gas Engines,” is a hybrid propulsion system combining a steam turbine and engines that can be fired by gas. The components of the Sayaringo STaGE system are the “Ultra Steam Turbine plant” (UST), a highly efficient reheating steam type marine turbine developed independently by MHI, a dual-fuel diesel engine capable of operating on both gas and oil, and an electric propulsion motor. Plant efficiency has been significantly improved through the UST’s effective use of the engine’s waste heat, resulting in a propulsion system enabling high-efficiency navigation throughout a full range of speeds. The basic design of the Sayaringo STaGE has now been completed, with the vessel’s LOA (length overall) set at 297.5m, width at 48.94m, depth at 27.0 and draft at 11.5m. Four apple-shaped tanks are featured. The developed design provides 180,000 cubic meters (m3) in total LNG tank capacity, but capacity can be set in accordance with the customer’s transport needs. Since MHI developed the Sayaendo in 2011, orders have been steady, commencing with the first order that called simultaneously for two vessels. To date a total of eight vessels have been ordered, including one ordered through MI LNG Company, Limited, a joint venture with Imabari Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. Now, with the Sayaringo STaGE as a successor ship to the Sayaendo offering increased transport capacity and greater fuel performance, MHI aims to conduct brisk marketing activities for its next-generation LNG carriers delivering superlative environmental performance in its quest to make a robust contribution to the global LNG transport industry. 1 “Sayaendo” takes its name from the peapod-shaped continuous steel cover over its spherical aluminum tanks. Integrated with the ship’s hull, this innovative structure was developed by MHI with technical support from Aker Arctic Technology Inc. of Finland. 2 Moss-type LNG carriers use independent spherical cargo tanks to transport LNG. The spherical tanks are supported by a cylindrical skirt integrated with the hull and covered with a hemispherical steel cover attached to the main deck. 3 New Panamax indicates the maximum size of ships navigable through the newly expanding Panama Canal. Maximum dimensions are 366m in LOA, 49m in width and 15.2m in tropical freshwater (FTW) draft.

Facilitation Payments: Stand your Ground, BY Wendy Laursen.

Thatz for you !

Sometimes captains face demands for bribes or facilitation payments at a port before shore passes are granted. Sometimes they are fined for fabricated issues relating to their crew’s nationality, their documentation or the inspection of their vessel. 

And sometimes these requests come with the threat of violence or physical detainment.

The rationale of the people requesting money:  Everyone does it.  It’s not bribery; it’s courtesy. If I don’t bring something back I will lose face.

I need it; they can afford it.

According to the United Nations, corruption adds 10 percent or more to the cost of doing business in many parts of the world. Corruption can interrupt investment, restrict trade, reduce economic growth, and distort the facts and figures associated with government expenditures. Moreover, corruption in certain countries contributes to

poverty and income inequality.

According to Transparency International, in very corrupt states, the most corrupt sectors are very often the police, the bottom rung of the legal system, and the political parties, the very top of the political structure. 

Bribe 2“This is not something you can tackle on your own as one company or as one shipping nation. It requires collective action by the industry and also close cooperation with inter-governmental organizations,” says Maria Bruun Skipper, senior adviser for the Danish Shipowners’ Association. The association is one of 43 members of the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN), a global business network working toward its vision of a maritime industry free of corruption. Established in 2011 and formalized in 2012, MACN consists of vessel owners, cargo owners and service providers. 

MACN and its members promote good corporate practice in the maritime industry for tackling bribes, facilitation payments, and other forms of corruption. MACN also collaborates with governments and international organizations to identify and mitigate the root causes of corruption in the maritime industry and to develop sustainable solutions. Last month the Danish Shipowners’ Association hosted a conference as part of Danish Maritime Week that saw shipowners speak openly about the challenges they face. For example, a leading bulk shipping company that runs a tramp service spoke of the difficulties for trampers to make arrangements in advance. This can make them easy targets. The crews may not be familiar with local cultures and routine practices. Therefore they might see it as easier to pay a bribe than argue with officials. 

Negotiating power can depend on time pressures, negotiating skills, threats of violence and threats to the business. “Within MACN we have developed an online training toolbox for captains to demonstrate best practice when they are met with a demand for a facilitation payment. It is for the captain and also the operator on shore because the captain needs shore support,” says Skipper. “It is important that the captain is prepared. He should know what he can do, the relevant regulations, and he should also be aware that there might be some ways of handling the situation at a personal level that can help. This might be how he addresses the port official. Be assertive, polite and confident. Try to explain that the decision is not up to him by saying things such as: I trust you are aware that you are asking me to break my company’s rules.”

Bribe 3

As well as the toolbox, MACN has been initiating action on shore. The group chose Nigeria for a series of consultations and surveys to identify specific challenges. The local authorities were willing to be involved. A sector reform in Nigeria in 2004 has been followed up more recently by a national development strategy focused on improving competitiveness.

The findings of the study demonstrated a number of organizational problems, including the amount of red tape involved. For example, 142 signatures can be required to process a cargo in Lagos. The officials have broad discretionary powers and limited accountability. Integrity is not emphasized, and corruption is widely accepted and rationalized. Pressure from higher ranks to comply with established corrupt practices is also frequent. 

As a result of the collaborative project, MACN is encouraging the development of an anti-corruption policy, improved controls and training. The organization will continue to work with authorities in Nigeria to help them change the current situation.

MACN is considering taking the issue of bribes to IMO. “The IMO has not really been active on this, but at MACN we are talking about how we can bring the issue into the political arena,” says Skipper. The benefits for the shipping industry are significant: increased efficiency, reduced cost and reduced risk of fraud, blackmail and other security threats. 

MACN is continuously seeking commitment from United Nations agencies and other international organizations on how they can endorse and officially support initiatives going forward.

The Seven Principles upheld by MACN members:

Compliance Program Requirements 

Members should create and maintain an anti-corruption compliance program that reflects and is designed to address the risks pertinent to the company’s business. Senior management and/or the board of each member should give explicit and visible support to the anti-corruption compliance program.

Members should confer responsibility for the anti-corruption compliance program on trustworthy officers who are sufficiently independent and empowered to fully implement the program.

Proportionate Procedures

Members should have clearly articulated policies and procedures that comply in full with the laws which apply to them and, as a minimum, prohibit all forms of corruption and give specific guidance on facilitation payments with the ultimate aim of their elimination. The policies and procedures should be proportionate to the risks faced by the various parts of each member, as well as the nature, scale and complexity of the organization’s activities, and should apply to all employees as well as third parties that act on behalf of the member.

Risk Assessment

Members should assess external and internal corruption risks on a regular basis and document their findings. 

Training and Communications

Awareness of policies and procedures should be reinforced through communications and training to employees and, where appropriate, third parties. A record should be kept of all training provided.

Monitoring and Internal Controls

The anti-corruption compliance program should include features designed to prevent and detect incidents of bribery, facilitation payments and other forms of corruption through appropriate monitoring and auditing protocols. Internal controls should be implemented to protect the integrity of financial and accounting procedures such that the company keeps fair and accurate books, records and accounts. The program itself should be audited regularly and improved or updated as necessary .

Bribe 4

Reporting, Discipline and Incentives

Members should provide employees with access to methods for asking questions and/or reporting concerns. Those asking questions or reporting concerns in good faith should be able to do so without fear of retribution. Members should investigate credible reports of improper behavior and should implement appropriate corrective actions when necessary. Compliance with the anti-corruption compliance program should be encouraged through incentives for proper behavior and, where necessary and appropriate, enforced through discipline for improper behavior.

Due Diligence

Members should conduct risk-based due diligence on counterparties as well as in respect of the hiring and oversight of third parties and business partners. The due diligence should include an anti-bribery commitment from third parties

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