IMO’s BWM Convention to Enter Into Force in September 2017

Image Courtesy: IMO

With Finland’s accession of the International Ballast Water Management Convention, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said that the remaining condition for entry into force has been met and therefore the BWM Convention is scheduled to enter into force on September 8, 2017.

IMO has approved draft amendments to the Convention’s implementation scheme and if adopted in October 2016, then approved ballast water treatment systems meeting the D-2 biological standard will need to be installed on new ships constructed on or after September 8, 2017, as well as on existing ships, not later than the first MARPOL IOPP Renewal Survey carried out on/after September 8, 2017.

Accession by Finland has triggered the entry into force of a key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species in ships’ ballast water.

BWM Convention’s entery into force will mark a landmark step towards halting the spread of invasive aquatic species, which can disrupt local ecosystems, affect biodiversity and lead to substantial economic loss.

Under the Convention’s terms, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments

“The entry into force of the Ballast Water Management Convention will not only minimize the risk of invasions by alien species via ballast water, it will also provide a global level playing field for international shipping, providing clear and robust standards for the management of ballast water on ships,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

Image Courtesy: IMO

Image Courtesy: IMO

Her Excellency Päivi Luostarinen Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Finland to IMO, handed over the country’s instrument of acceptance to the Ballast Water Management Convention to IMO Secretary-General Lim today.

The accession brings the combined tonnage of contracting States to the treaty to 35.1441%, with 52 contracting Parties. The convention stipulates that it will enter into force 12 months after ratification by a minimum of 30 States, representing 35% of world merchant shipping tonnage.

The BWM Convention was adopted in 2004 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for developing global standards for ship safety and security and for the protection of the marine environment and the atmosphere from any harmful impacts of shipping.

Two Greek Shipping Firms Convicted of Dumping Oily Waste

judgeGreek shipping companies Oceanic Illsabe Limited and Oceanfleet Shipping Limited, and two of their employees, were convicted of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), obstruction of justice, false statements, witness tampering and conspiracy, according to the US Department of Justice.

Convicted by a federal jury in Greenville, North Carolina, Oceanic Illsabe Limited is the owner of the M/V Ocean Hope, a large cargo vessel that was responsible for dumping tons of oily waste into the Pacific Ocean last year, while Oceanfleet Shipping Limited was the managing operator of the vessel.

Also convicted at trial were two senior engineering officers who worked aboard the vessel, Rustico Ignacio and Cassius Samson. The jury convicted on each of the nine counts in the indictment.

The US Department of Justice said that in June 2015 the vessel discharged around ten metric tons of sludge into the ocean. The vessel was also regularly pumping contaminated water directly overboard. None of these discharges were disclosed as required.

The evidence presented during the nine-day trial demonstrated that the companies were aware that the ship had not offloaded any oil sludge from the vessel since September 2014 and that the ship rarely used its oil-water separator.

Instead, the vessel’s second engineer, Samson, ordered crewmembers to connect what is known in the industry as a “magic pipe” to bypass the vessel’s oil-water separator and pump oil sludge overboard. In addition, crewmembers were ordered to pump oily water from the vessel’s bilges directly into the ocean up to several times per week. The dumping occurred with the knowledge and approval of the ship’s chief engineer, Ignacio.

Finally, the engineers used a tank designated for oily wastes to store diesel fuel for sale on the black market.

Upon arriving at the Port of Wilmington, Oceanic, Oceanfleet, Ignacio and Samson attempted to hide these discharges by presenting a false and fictitious oil record book to US Coast Guard inspectors. When inspectors uncovered evidence of dumping, the defendants ordered lower-level crewmembers to lie to Coast Guard personnel. Samson also made several false statements to a Coast Guard inspector regarding the bypass of the oil-water separator.

At the conclusion of trial, defendants Oceanic and Oceanfleet were convicted of one count of conspiracy, one count of violating APPS, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of false statements and four counts of witness tampering.

Ignacio was convicted of one count of conspiracy, one count of violating APPS, one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of witness tampering, while Samson was convicted of one count of conspiracy, one count of violating APPS, two counts of obstruction of justice, one count of false statements and three counts of witness tampering.

The companies could be fined up to USD 500,000 per count, in addition to other possible penalties.

Ignacio and Samson face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice charges.


1 July 2016 – SOLAS – container weight verificationSOLAS
Amendments to SOLAS chapter VI to require mandatory verification of the gross mass of containers, either by weighing the packed container; or weighing all packages and cargo items, using a certified method approved by the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.1 July 2016 – SOLAS -atmosphere testing
Amendments to add a new SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 on Atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces, to require ships to carry an appropriate portable atmosphere testing instrument or instruments, capable of measuring concentrations of oxygen, flammable gases or vapors, hydrogen sulphide and carbon monoxide, prior to entry into enclosed spaces. Consequential amendments to the Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (1979, 1989 and 2009 MODU Codes) were also adopted. The MSC also approved a related MSC Circular on Early implementation of SOLAS regulation XI-1/7 on Atmosphere testing instrument for enclosed spaces.1 January 2017 – Polar Code
The International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code)and related amendments to make it mandatory under both SOLAS and MARPOL enter into force. The Polar Code will apply to new ships constructed after 1 January 2017. Ships constructed before 1 January 2017 will be required to meet the relevant requirements of the Polar Code by the first intermediate or renewal survey, whichever occurs first, after 1 January 20181 January 2017 – MARPOL Annex I – oil residuesimo-laws
Amendments to regulation 12 of MARPOL Annex I, concerning tanks for oil residues (sludge). The amendments update and revise the regulation, expanding on the requirements for discharge connections and piping to ensure oil residues are properly disposed of.

1 January 2017 – SOLAS – IGF Code

International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flash point Fuels (IGF Code), along with amendments to make the Code mandatory under SOLAS enter into force. The amendments to SOLAS chapter II-1 (Construction – Structure, subdivision and stability, machinery and electrical installations), include amendments to Part F Alternative design and arrangements, to provide a methodology for alternative design and arrangements for machinery, electrical installations and low flash point fuel storage and distribution systems; and a new Part G Ships using low-flash point fuels, to add new regulations to require ships constructed after the expected date of entry into force of 1 January 2017 to comply with the requirements of the IGF Code, together with related amendments to chapter II-2 and Appendix (Certificates). The IGF Code contains mandatory provisions for the arrangement, installation, control and monitoring of machinery, equipment and systems using low-flash point fuels, focusing initially on LNG. The Code addresses all areas that need special consideration for the usage of low-flash point fuels, taking a goal-based approach, with goals and functional requirements specified for each section forming the basis for the design, construction and operation of ships using this type of fuel. Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW), and STCW Code, to include new mandatory minimum requirements for the training and qualifications of masters, officers, ratings and other personnel on ships subject to the IGF Code, also enter into force on 1 January 2017.

1 January 2017 – SOLAS – venting
Amendments to SOLAS regulations II-2/4.5 and II-2/11.6, clarifying the provisions related to the secondary means of venting cargo tanks in order to ensure adequate safety against over- and under-pressure in the event of a cargo tank isolation valve being damaged or inadvertently closed, and SOLAS regulation II-2/20 relating to performance of ventilation systems.

1 January 2017 – STCW Manila amendments transitional provisions end
From 1 January 2017, STCW certificates must be issued, renewed and re-validated in accordance with the provisions of the 2010 Manila Amendments.

1 September 2017 – MARPOL amendments sewage special area, NOx tier III reporting
MARPOL amendments adopted in April 2016 (MEPC 69) enter into force: amendments to MARPOL Annex IV relating to the dates for implementation of the discharge requirements for passenger ships while in a special area, i.e. not before 1 June 2019 for new passenger ships and not before 1 June 2021 for existing passenger ships; • amendments to MARPOL Annex II, appendix I, related to the revised GESAMP hazard evaluation procedure; • amendments to MARPOL Annex VI regarding record requirements for operational compliance with NOX Tier III emission control areas; amendments to the NOX Technical Code 2008 to facilitate the testing of gas-fueled engines and dual fuel engines.

1 January 2018 – Revised FAL Convention
The revised Annex to annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) includes mandatory requirements for the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers

Confined Space Deaths Highlight Timber Hazards

Two men, a Russian chief officer and a Ukrainian chief engineer have died in a hold containing timber while a third, a Filipino second officer who attempted tclip_image004o rescue them collapsed by survived.

The incident is under investigation by the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch while the report will not be available for some time the incident does highlight the confined space hazards of timber in cargo holds  and the continuing problem of would-be rescuers being overcome while attempting to recover victims.

Sally Ann C is a 9000 gt Isle of Man-registered general cargo ship operated by Carisbrooke Shipping, based on the Isle of Wight. At the time of the incident she was carrying a cargo of timber en route to Dakar, Senegal.

All that is presently known is that the chief officer and chief engineer entered one of the vessel’s four holds and collapsed. Subsequently the second officer tried to rescue them but also collapsed. He was successfully revived.

Timber in its various forms, from pellets to logs is hazardous. Oxidation of wood reduced oxygen in the atmosphere and produces a range of potentially hazardous gases including carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide.

In the Suntis incident in 2014, for example, the Fire and Rescue Service analysis of the atmosphere after the accident showed normal readings (20.9%) of oxygen content at the access hatch; the readings reduced to 10% just below main deck level inside the hatch opening and to between 5% and 6% at the bottom of the ladder into the compartment. Such low levels of oxygen cannot support life. Anyone exposed to such levels will faint almost immediately, followed by convulsions, coma and respiratory seizure within a few minutes. It is likely that the timber cargo caused the deprivation of oxygen in the cargo hold and access compartments.

In 2010 another chief officer died, along with a member of the deck crew who tries to rescue him, aboard the bulker TPC Wellington. In the case the chief officer had been warned against entry by the bosun but ignored the warning. It took less than 1o minutes for the chief officer and the man who tried to rescue him to die.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission noted: “The dangers of the organic decomposition of logs and other organic cargos in enclosed spaces are well known in the international maritime community, and were documented on board the TPC Wellington, but in spite of this the high risk this posed to the crew had not been identified, no specific training had been given to the crew members to heighten their awareness of the risk, and no emergency drills had been conducted in recent times for rescue from enclosed spaces”.

In 2006 in Sweden 12 people were taken to hospital and five required decompression chamber treatment. Seven people have died and several have been injured under similar circumstances in Sweden over a two year period.

BIMCO issued a warning about the hazards presented by wood in 2005.

Sadly, two out of three confined space casualties are people who tried to rescue the first victim.

Confined space incident are common and completely avoidable.

All confined space rescue drills should be conducted as realistically as possible. You can use the many confined space accident reports, and podcasts, in MAC to increase your crew’s safety awareness.

The rules for surviving are simple:

  • Never enter a confined space unless absolutely necessary.
  • Complete the permit to work before entry
  • Alert rescue teams and the bridge
  • Assess the risks, including those presented by any cargo that may be in the space.
  • Put appropriate rescue equipment at the point of access.
  • Ensure that a safety monitor is in position outside the space who can raise the alarm.
  • Ventilate the space thoroughly before entry.
  • Test the atmosphere in the hold thoroughly before entry.
  • If possible wear an O2 monitor while inside the space.
  • When in Doubt, Stay Out.

NASSCO Launches World’s First LNG-Powered Container Ship


The US shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO christened and launched the world’s first container ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) at its shipyard in San Diego on April 18.
Part of a two-ship contract signed in 2012 with TOTE, the 764-foot long Marlin-class container ship is the largest dry cargo ship of any kind in the world powered by LNG.
The Isla Bella is also equipped with a ballast water treatment system, making it the greenest ship of its size, according to NASSCO.
The Jones Act-qualified Isla Bella will operate between Jacksonville, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Yesterday’s ceremony also marked NASSCO’s 100th ship launch.
In a nighttime ceremony attended by around 3,400 shipyard workers and guests, the 3,100 TEU Isla Bella, built for the US transport and logistics company TOTE Inc., officially took to water at the San Diego Bay, accompanied by a fireworks display.
The ship’s sponsor, Sophie Sacco—wife of Michael Sacco, president of the Seafarers International Union of North America, christened the ship with a traditional champagne bottle break over the ship’s hull.
The name of the ship was revealed during the ceremony.
The Marlins, which will home port in Jacksonville, Florida, will enter service in late 2015 and early 2016 replacing 1970-built ships operating in the Puerto Rico trade.
The ships feature 3,100 in TEU and are expected to create a reduction of sulfur dioxide (SOx) emissions by 98 percent, particulate matter (PM) by 99 percent, nitrous oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) by 71 percent over TOTE’scurrent ships on the route.
The design has been provided by DSEC, a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), located in Busan, South Korea. It includes DSME’s patented LNG fuel-gas system and the world’s first order of a MAN ME-GI dual fuel slow speed engine.
Both ships surpass the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s clean air regulations.
TOTE has signed a long-term agreement with Pivotal LNG and WesPac Midstream to LNG to fuel its two new containerships.
When completed the 764-foot-long containerships are expected to be the largest ships of any type in the world primarily powered by LNG.
The total capital committed to the project is over $350 million.

Suez Canal Unaffected by Yemen Crisis


The passage of ships through the Suez Canal has not been affected by the ongoing military clashes in Yemen, according to a Suez Canal Authority (SCA) official.

“Since the military operation in Yemen was launched last week, revenues from the Suez Canal, along with marine traffic, has been normal compared to the same period last year,” Mahmoud Rizk, director of the department of planning at SCA was quoted by Egyptian daily newspaper Al Ahram.

The statement was made during a tour of Arab media representatives of the New Suez Canal project on Wednesday.

Head of SCA, Mohab Mamish said on Saturday, April 4th, that preparations are underway for the inauguration ceremony of the New Suez Canal.

Mamish said the dredging works at the new waterway project will be finalized before the deadline.

He made it clear that the Suez Canal Authority will be responsible for running the Suez Canal Corridor Development project until a new body is formed.

The expansion project will pave the way for transit of ships of up to 66 feet in draft, thus increasing the revenue of the canal to up to $17 billion a year.

Launching of air strikes by Saudi Arabia on Houthi militias’ positions on March 25th has raised concerns of the shipping industry about the safety of important trade routes in the area, in particular of the Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said that navigation in the Red Sea and protecting Bab Al-Mandeb are a top priority for the Egyptian national security.

Yemen’s Port of Aden was last reported to be virtually closed except for some oil shipments at Aden Refinery, according to GAC’s update.

Houthi rebels advanced further into the port city of Aden, despite the Saudi air strikes, according to the latest media reports.

The Role of General Average in the Maritime Industry

“General Average” is a term used in the maritime industry to define shares in a common loss during maritime accident.


Defined by York Antwerp rules 1994 of General Average, these rules lay guidelines for the distribution of loss in an event when cargo has to be jettisoned in order to save the ship, crew, or the remaining cargo.

The rule states the apportionment of losses amongst the parties involved in any maritime adventure in case of an extra ordinary sacrifice or if the expenditure is made intentionally with proper justification that the causes for the same involved preserve the other property from risk of being lost.




The underlying cause which led to introduction of General Average was, in event of the grave situations where safety of ship, crew members and cargo was jeopardized.

It’s always a difficult decision for ship’s crew to take appropriate action to save the interests of cargo owners and the ship. The time constraints in such exigencies don’t allow the ship’s crew to decide which cargo to jettison and which to leave. Consequently there would be a hot debate arising among cargo and ship owners as to whose cargo has been jettisoned and whose interests compromised. The loss being totally on the account of the person whose cargo has been discharged.

Thus, in order to regulate unprejudiced interests of all those parties who enter into a common maritime venture, a powerful tool named General  Average was introduced, in the York Antwerp rules of 1890 and later reviewed and amended recently in 1994.

The clauses of General Average under the York Antwerp Rules 1994 can be simplified as under

  • A loss is deemed to be considered under general average if and only if the reason of sacrifice is extraordinary or the sacrifice is reasonably made for the purpose of common safety for preserving the property involved .E.g.  Capsizing due to inclement weather condition, shifting of cargo leading to excessive listing of vessel



  • When two or more vessels are pushing or towing and are involved in a commercial reason, then general average applies if they disconnect from each other in order to preserve the vessel and the cargo
  • General average shall be applied only for those losses which are linked directly with the material value of the cargo carried or the vessel. Any claims arising due to the delay, a loss or expense caused due to loss of market  or any indirect loss must not be accounted into general average
  • Each party’s share in the general average should not be determined by fault based approach. The risk borne by all should be equal in all aspects. Though if one of the parties actions has resulted in the loss, legal actions can be taken against those actions
  • Average adjusters are individuals or institutions looking after claims arising due to general average. The parties of a general average claim should send a written notice to them within 12 months from the date of termination of the common maritime agreement between the parties involved. If they do not receive this notice the adjusters are entitled to proceed with all available information with them
  • If a vessel or cargo is damaged by water, including damage by beaching or sinking a burning ship in order to extinguish the fire, then that damage shall be countable as general average. Also if a vessel is grounded intentionally for common safety, it excludes damage caused by smoke or heat of fire



  • If salvage operations are carried out in order to save or prevent the loss of cargo, or to prevent or reduce an environmental damage, the expenditures involved and the remunerations to salvors should be allowed in general average
  • If any vessel has been grounded and the cargo is liable to get damaged, then efforts can be made to refloat the vessel. However if such efforts cause damage to boilers or machinery of the vessel it shall be made as general average
  • The procuring expenses of any cargo, fuel or ship’s stores upon being discharged as per general average act shall be admitted into general average
  • Loss of freight incurred to the owner by due to loss or damage of cargo should be included in general average , however it is important to deduct from it the expenses which would have incurred by the owner  for carriage as they were not actually incurred
  • If cargo is sold in damaged condition, the general average amount is the difference between net sound and net damaged value

SOLAS, MARPOL amendments entered into force on 1 January 2014

SOLAS, MARPOL amendments entered into force on 1 January 2014

ship freefall lifeboat

A number of amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)  and the 1988 Load Lines Protocol  entered into force or took effect from 1 January 2014.
The amendments cover passenger ship safety (in relation to safe return to port after a flooding casualty); the testing of free-fall lifeboats; minimum safe manning levels;  prohibition of blending onboard; the revised MARPOL Annex III; the United States Caribbean Sea Emission Control Area; and the Winter Seasonal Zone off the southern tip of Africa.


2012 May SOLAS amendments
The SOLAS amendments which entered into force on 1 January 2014 include the following:
– amendment to SOLAS regulation II-1/8-1, to introduce a mandatory requirement for new passenger ships for either onboard stability computers or shore-based support, for the purpose of providing operational information to the Master for safe return to port after a flooding casualty;
– amendment to SOLAS regulation III/20.11.2 regarding the testing of free-fall lifeboats, to require that the operational testing of free-fall lifeboat release systems shall be performed either by free-fall launch with only the operating crew on board or by a simulated launching;
– amendment to SOLAS chapter V to add a new regulation V/14 on ships’ manning, to require Administrations, for every ship, to establish appropriate minimum safe manning levels following a transparent procedure, taking into account the guidance adopted by IMO (Assembly resolution A.1047(27) on Principles of minimum safe manning); and issue an appropriate minimum safe manning document or equivalent as evidence of the minimum safe manning considered necessary;
– amendment to SOLAS chapter VI to add a new regulation VI/5-2, to prohibit the blending of bulk liquid cargoes during the sea voyage and to prohibit production processes on board ships;
– amendment to SOLAS chapter VII to replace regulation 4 on documents, covering transport information relating to the carriage of dangerous goods in packaged form and the container/vehicle packing certificate; and
– amendment to SOLAS regulation XI-1/2 on enhanced surveys, to make mandatory the International Code on the Enhanced Programme of Inspections during Surveys of Bulk Carriers and Oil Tankers, 2011 (2011 ESP Code, resolution A.1049(27)).
2010 October MARPOL amendments
The amendments which entered into force on 1 January 2014 include a revised MARPOL Annex III Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, to include changes to the Annex to coincide with the next update of the mandatory International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code, specifying that goods should be shipped in accordance with relevant provisions.
United States Caribbean ECA now effective 
The United States Caribbean Sea Emission Control Area (SOx, NOx and PM) came into effect, under MARPOL Annex VI, on 1 January 2014, bringing in stricter controls on emissions of sulphur oxide (SOx), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter for ships trading in certain waters adjacent to the coasts of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.
The ECA was designated under MARPOL amendments adopted in July 2011. There are now four three designated ECAs in effect globally: the United States Caribbean Sea ECA and the North American ECA; and the sulphur oxide ECAs in the Baltic Sea area and the North Sea area.
(See: MARPOL Annex VI regulation 14)
Coordinates for the Caribbean Sea ECA can be found in Resolution MEPC.202(62).
Winter Seasonal Zone moved south under amendments to LL Protocol
Amendments to regulation 47 of the 1988 Protocol to the International Convention on Load Lines (LL), 1966 to shift the Winter Seasonal Zone off the southern tip of Africa further southward by 50 miles, came into effect on 1 January 2014.


IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

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Bulk carrier runs aground in Willamette River as Captain faces drinking allegations in court

A freighter vessel broke free from its mooring on the Willamette River and ran aground Tuesday. On the same day its master admitted in court to being drunk while operating the ship.

The Russian captain, Valeriy Sharykin, 62-year-old, was arrested Monday evening after members of the USCG boarded the Maltese bulk carrier Adfines East to do a routine inspection, told Michelle Kerin Assistant U.S. Attorney. They observed signs that captain Sharykin was intoxicated, Kerin stated.

Valeriy Sharykin registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.181 promiles, the prosecutor told, over 4 times the legal limit of 0.04 for an operator of a merchant ship.

Less than 21 hours later, captain Valeriy Sharykin had been arraigned, pleaded guilty to the charge and sentenced to 2 years of probation during that time he might not sail in U.S. waters. He also should pay a US$1,000 fine to the court and US$1,000 fine to a community alcohol treatment facility.

But while Capt. Sharykin was in custody, his crew members were aboard the Adfines East on Tuesday with a full load of grain and ready for departure. That’s when the bulk carrier broke free from its mooring at Terminal 4 on the Willamette River. It is still not clear how it’d happened.

The 620-foot freighter vessel drifted about 1,5 nautical miles downstream and into the Columbia River, stated Petty Officer Curtis Daly of the USCG’s Portland office.

Daly told that the crew members were able to anchor the vessel and start the engines. But as the second-in-command attempted to bring the vessel back to Terminal 4, it ran aground on Davis Bar about a mile north of Kelley Point Park.

With the assistance of tug vessels, the bulk carrier was freed from the bar. The ship was later moored at Upper Anchorage, a spot just west of Hayden Island.

The Coast Guard is currently investigating the accident. Capt. Sharykin’s attorney, Kenneth Lerner, declined to comment.