Monday, 23 February, 2009

Quality driven ‘Fleet’ on course to excellence

During the two-day Seminar, quality driven Fleet Management Ltd (FML) focused on its quest for excellence featuring its enviable track record and World Class Safety and Environment friendly systems in place. Mr. K. S. Rajvanshy, Managing Director, Fleet Management Ltd., Hong Kong significantly brought out the contributory factors that helped convert the fleet (now at over 200 in number) into a top of the line management company.

It is the company’s portfolio of services that helped it chart the path to success he pointed out. “What we do includes 3rd party technical management, lay-up solutions, insurance, inspections and condition surveys, shipboard audits, training videos, new building supervisions, special projects and IT systems all of which form the backbone of our quality system,” says Mr Rajvanshy.

A member of the Noble Group Limited, the company boasts of a multi-national crewing pool of over 7000 seafarers comprising mostly of Indians, Filipinos, Chinese and Europeans. The company’s track record is reflected by its several maritime awards for excellence including “Best Ship Manager Award during the Year 2004, consistently nominated as finalist in the Best Ship Manager Category for the last 9 years and numerous other awards for its unique Web-based Ship Management System and online training modules.

Capt Sunao Adachi, Director of MOL Tankship Management Ltd, Japan gave brief insights into the MOL and the Methanol trade. MOL holds 45% of the world’s methanol tanker share.

Making a statistical analysis of incidents, near misses, machinery failure, navigational incidents and crew injuries, Capt A. M. Karandikar, Director & General Manager, FML – Hong Kong contended that accidents will happen as soon as the regular safety barriers are removed or bypassed. “Accidents lurk around the corner waiting to happen when we least expect them,” he said. “Accidents will happen as soon as we take ‘shortcuts’ or try to achieve a routine chore a bit ‘faster’.” Using various case studies of accidents relating to navigation, crew injury, cargo damage and enclosed space, he drove home the reasons leading to the accidents and how they could have been averted.

Capt Karandikar also made presentations on ‘The Company’s MARPOL compliance Programme’ and another on ‘Obstruction of Justice and False Statements – How to avoid them.’ Talking about MARPOL he stated that the company firmly believes in protecting the environment. He disclosed the best practices that required to be adhered to for preventing pollution. Contravention of MARPOL regulations could land a person in jail he explained while giving details of the regulations prevalent in different countries with regard to MARPOL and the stringent measures taken to ensure that these are followed.

Preventing or attempting to prevent an investigation or to impede or attempt to impede or even influence or attempt to influence the course or outcome of an investigation by a government body or authority is considered obstruction of justice he said. In short it is always better to tell the truth and not to create or alter documents after the incident. “If asked to make a false statement or create / alter a document after an incident,” he said, “you must refuse to do so and report the matter to the designated person ashore.”

Continuing on a similar note Mr. Marius Schonberg, Loss Prevention Executive of GARD P & I Club, Norway, discussed the need for safety awareness and risk assessment. What contributes to risk and the type of risks involved were highlighted in his presentation. “The Rules of the Road,” he pointed out are: Navigation must at all times be in accordance with Colregs; the point of passing each other, and Ship-to-ship communication and de-conflicting. Accidents were still happening and risk assessment will help to reduce them.

Presenting the current scenario on ship acquisition and shipping, Mr Umesh Grover, Director (Technical & Offshore Services) of the Shipping Corporation of India stated, “The dry bulk market is the worst affected amongst all shipping sectors. The freight rate decline in tanker segment is relatively lower compared to dry bulk.” All this and other factors according to him clearly indicated a surplus in shipping capacity. When freight rates fall below the operating cost of the less efficient ships then it is time for such ship to be laid up. “However, the future is not as grim as might look today,” he stated.

It was return to basics with Capt M. S. Nagarajan, Director & General Manager (Tanker Team) outlining the company’s bridge procedures and passage planning to stress on maintaining ‘Navigation Safety’. Mr. Sanjay Chandra, General Manager on the other hand made references to the use of nitrogen, its pros and cons when used in different situations which he described in his talk on ‘Over pressurization of parcel tanker and maintenance of tank cleaning machines’.

There are several ways by which cargo shortage and losses can take place thus resulting in ‘Cargo Claims and Operational losses,’ as was amply brought out by Capt Anurag Sharma, Operations Superintendent of Ebony Ship Management Pvt. Ltd, Delhi. Yet another topic that educed lot of interests from the participants was the ‘Case studies of machinery breakdowns’ presented by Mr. Ajay Chaudhry, Technical Manager of Fleet Ship Management Pte Ltd, (FSMPL) Singapore (Engine). He presented details about the Root Cause Analysis and the relevant Investigation and Rectification results.

Several other topics were given indepth treatment by the speakers in their presentations. Capt Mayank Mishra, Head of Quality & Safety of FML enlightened the participants about the ‘New Regulations & Monitoring Systems for vessels calling USA, Australia, Singapore and Gulf of Aden’. Mr. Torfin Eide of Tailwind AS, Bergen, Norway touched upon ‘Credit Crunch, Customer Challenges, Climate Change and Crew Crisis’. Also topics on “Bulk Carrier Vetting & Role of Rightship”, dealt by Capt Sanjay Dhareshwar – Right Ship, Australia (non-Tanker) and ‘Vetting Inspections – Get, Set & Go’ presented by Capt A. K. Nanda – Operations Superintendent of FSMPL and ‘Scavenge Space Inspections’ explained by Mr. Sanjay Chandra were given a lucid portrayal.

Three other topics that were briefly dealt included: “An owner’s View on Fuel Quality’ presented by Capt Hans Schrijver of Vroon B.V. Breskens, Netherlands; ‘Brief Introduction to UACC’ by Capt Vikas Malhan – Operations Manager of United Arab Chemical Carrier (UACC), Dubai and ‘Discipline at Sea, Command and Management’ by Capt Zareer D. Antia – Assistant General Manager, Tata NYK Shipping (India) Pvt Ltd.

The two-day programme ended with a group workshops which offered opportunity to participants to interact so as to acquire a better understanding of the various issues that have a direct bearing on maintaining a high quality profile. The organisers hosted a cocktail dinner on the night of the first day highlights wherein long serving officers who had put in more than five-years, ten-years and more years of service were felicitated.

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