It's common place in the shipping world to get cargo and ships moving as quickly as possible and I understand that (especially in the maritime industry) time is money.
In these peculiar days there is more pressure for ships to load and depart as quickly as possible but seeing yet another load of containers being lost overboard in Australian waters makes my blood boil.
Fierce weather makes any lashing and stowing, or indeed any marine survey task more complicated than normal but when it appears that poor maintenance such as heavily corroded securing points, failures in stowage planning and appropriate stack loadings were not picked up by a surveyor, (whether a professional private surveyor or a class surveyor) makes me wonder what is actually going on out there. How could such poor maintenance not be picked up somewhere?
Now, I am not a marine surveyor and I do feel somewhat out of my depth here, but I am a business person with pretty solid qualifications and I can and do understand the importance of getting things moving quickly, but, as a professional you know that there is always a risk to be analysed when you decide to cut corners.
It appears that with the APL England the vessels lashing equipment and lashing points on board were sub-standard and most likely the securing plan was not adhered to, and no doubt the vessel will now undergo a strict audit with a view to rectifying the underlying structural/procedural problems - in addition to removing the remaining toppled containers.
One of our surveyors at the AIMS told me that he has been on some container vessels that were in very poor condition on deck - with corroded structures and equipment and said that maintenance is difficult if not impossible and with freight rates being sub-zero only the bare minimum gets done but having said that, I have been on some pretty schmick ships as well where it is clear that the owners are aware of and protect the value of their asset. Ships are expensive monsters to run he said, but in comparison to the costs of clean up and damages, well that’s another story.
The cost of engaging a professional marine surveyor would be a mere pittance against the costs incurred in this instance and the YM Efficiency debacle.
Twice in two years makes me wonder why a ship is allowed to depart our waters without a sign off from an independent surveyor, but then again, there is a lot about shipping in Australia that needs reform – at the very least, securing of deck containers needs to be signed off by a suitably qualified “independent third party” AND the Master prior to a container vessel sailing from a Port.
Maybe the ship owners and agents think the cost of doing it cheap is worth the risk – who knows?
The fact remains that someone will make a nice few dollars out of this and someone is going to lose a lot. Taxpayers too will no doubt be in for some of the clean-up cost.
Time to get a bit more vocal on issues such as this!
Susan Hull, CEO
Photo credit: William Burton, AIMS
We live in a country where the availability of necessities such as toilet paper has been taken for granted. What’s more as a culture we have gazed curiously upon others who require face masks as personal protection as part of their daily lives.
Who would have thought in the year 2020 that Susan Hull, the CEO of the Australasian Institute of Marine Surveyors (AIMS), while on the hunt for coveted toilet paper, would happen upon another equally fortuitous find, those illustrious highly sought after face masks.
Marine Surveyors, who make up the membership of the AIMS, have continued to work to keep our country moving while much of the nation has come to a standstill.
Attending vessel surveys including essential travel, interspersed with bouts of self-isolation, has been an ongoing normal routine for these essential workers exposing themselves daily to many different people and situations. PPE including face masks and gloves are donned as a part of their daily uniform and, like so many other frontline workers, they have found these requisite items have become very sparse on the ground.
At first the find seemed too good to be true. More than once the questions arose; Is this genuine? Are we going to blow members money on a dicey deal? As it turned out we were further assured that the masks were a three layer procedural mask made of PFE99 Filter Materials which are anti-bacterial and anti-droplet proof and FDA approved. The leap of faith was made!
We decided to charge only cost price plus postage, now was not the time to think about money, it was the time to chip in and support our surveyors any way we could.
We ordered 10,000 masks straight away but waiting for the shipment was a nightmare.
Our anxiety was relieved when, thankfully, the masks arrived and were exactly as we anticipated. We took a leap of faith and it paid off. In times when we are often warned of those using current circumstance to take advantage of the unsuspecting, it is reassuring to maintain our faith in others.
As word was communicated to our members and industry colleagues the orders rolled in. Within a few days we had sold over 7,000 masks with orders coming from independent surveyors wanting a box of 50 to larger organisations taking up 1,000 at a time. We were blown away by the response but heartened that we could do something to offer our support.
In no time, shipments were heading all over Australia to support those on the ground. The masks were sold to members at the institutes cost with the purpose of the exercise primarily one more small way we could support our members from our position in the background. In Susan’s own words “We didn’t set out to make a profit, we just had a bit of luck and wanted to share it within our industry.”
While the restrictions within our states are easing, the battle is far from won. PPE such as face masks will become a norm within our industry for long time to come and we aim to be there backing our members wherever we can. It’s our small contribution, the little can do to keep them safe and the wheels of our industry turning.
While most of the first order have sold out we are still holding a stock supply so if anyone from within the industry is needing a masks please contact us at email@example.com or phone 02 6232 6555.
In an age where most industries are seeking a reduction in red (and green) tape, the marine survey sector of the maritime industry could use any left overs going around.
Increasingly AIMS is receiving more and more consumer complaints related to what is termed in our industry as “shingle hangers” – to be more precise, marine surveyors doing slap happy surveys on recreational vessels.
Luckily for us, the vast majority of complaints do not involve AIMS members and I can only assume our vigilance in ensuring our surveyors are qualified to do what they say they can and have an equal amount of experience goes some way to discouraging the less than qualified operators from applying for membership.
For some time now we have tried to influence the regulators and State Governments to introduce ‘vessel registration’ at the point of sale or change of ownership of a recreational vessel. We argue that a registration process should involve what’s known as a Condition Survey by a qualified surveyor, and by ‘qualified’, we mean ‘qualified to be in business’ as well. Surveyors should hold appropriate insurance and a professional business structure and be accountable for the quality of their service.
AIMS has transitioned the marine survey sector to a contemporary model that addresses consumer welfare in terms of the quality, price and standard of work they receive from marine surveyors and is striving to improve the professional standards of our marine surveyors and thereby protect consumers.
Road vehicles are regulated in terms of ‘roadworthiness’. In Queensland the rules are strict. Vehicles being sold, deregistered vehicles or interstate vehicles must have a roadworthy certificate and it must be displayed once the vehicle goes on sale. Victoria and the ACT only enforces this at the point of sale to allow a transfer of registration, while NSW requires a blue slip for cars under 5 years old which confirms the condition, and includes confirming the vin and engine numbers. If the vehicle is over 5 years or selling or transferring interstate, a pink slip or e-safety check of the vehicle is required to renew registration. Western Australia doesn’t have any requirements for private vehicles unless imported or modified, and Tasmania, has what is known as the Defective Vehicle and Random Vehicle Inspection call-in scheme in place to check vehicles that may be considered un-roadworthy. Lastly, the Northern Territory requires that if a vehicle is under 3 years old and under 4.5 tonnes before it is registered, renewed or transferred from interstate, it must be inspected and issued with a compliance certificate.
So why isn’t this happening with recreational vessels? The largest proportion of marine incidents occur in the recreational vessel sector. Every year we see incidents due to vessels in poor condition and alarmingly, vessels that don’t have the right safety equipment. They get in to trouble and then scream to be rescued – also expensive and exhausting on the State, AMSA or both.
Considering that tax payers fund the wages of maritime safety staff it’s hard to fathom why the lack of oversight is allowed to happen.
Marine Insurers don’t assist either. They have a very rudimentary check list for surveyors to use for insurance purposes and most, if not all, don’t check that the surveyors they recommend are properly qualified. It appears to be a nice little club where its win/win for everyone except the vessel owner.
Beware when shopping around for the cheapest surveyor because this is risky and while a good survey might seem expensive at the time, it’s certainly a whole lot cheaper than repairing a vessel after the fact or relying on your insurance broker to assist.
State maritime safety agencies have the power to hold recreational vessel surveyors to account by regulating registration at the point of sale and insisting on a condition report. They just need to talk to us – we will help.
If we can achieve a bit of red tape the shingle hangers will think twice before writing up a condition report that could be contested, surveyors will need insurance and vessel owners will not only have some peace of mind but that nice expensive boat that you want to take out on the water won’t be in dock getting repairs that should have been done BEFORE the purchase.
We are here to help you and protect good surveyors. We need numbers to help our lobbying effort. So if you are a vessel owner, prospective buyer, a marine surveyor or someone who thinks this is just plain common sense you can help us by liking or loving our post, retweeting or contributing with a reply!
In a response to concerns raised by the Institute about the impact of COVID-19 on marine surveyors, Deputy Prime Minister Hon Michael McCormack MP, recognised that marine surveyors are vital to Australia's supply chain and acknowledged the unprecedented impact the pandemic was having on operations.
The Institute was assured that The Australian Government was working closely with state and territory governments on the issues it raised, including resolving issues related to interstate travel.
On 25 March 2020, the Transport and Infrastructure Council affirmed the critical role the freight sector plays in providing essential supplies of food, medicine and other goods. All jurisdictions where restrictions are in place have provided exemptions to these measures to ensure Australia's supply chains are maintained.
Read a copy of the communiqué here.
AIMS has received complaints from shippers and members advising that some AMSA accredited surveyors are engaging in misleading practices. Shippers advise that they are confused as to whether the surveyor is an AMSA PSC surveyor and whether the scheduled survey is actually being carried out on behalf of AMSA.
AMSA do not outsource PSC inspections to private surveyors and shippers and AIMS members should note that AMSA accredited surveyors are not accredited to carry out PSC or Flag State Inspections. They are only accredited to carry out statutory surveys for domestic commercial vessels under 35 metres.
A copy of the AMSA response can be downloaded here
Updated information from Department of Health Updated advice for commercial vessels dated 17 March 2020.final.pdf
The AIMS will continue to post what information we have and ask all marine surveyors to pass on any new information that might be of value to our members.
The AIMS is concerned that surveyors have received little or no information on how to protect themselves from the Coronavirus when boarding vessels from China.
Of particular concern are those vessels that have been berthed in China for a period of time, vessels that have recently visited China or vessels with Chinese crew who may be affected.
While many employers have been pro-active in WHS practices we encourage all marine surveyors to take personal responsibility for their health and well being.
How to protect yourself
Follow information published on the Department of Health’s website as it will be the most up to date.https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following
If any marine surveyor or Authorised Officer suspects any crew on board a vessel may have contracted the virus, report the matter immediately to the relevant state health authority and refer yourself to a Doctor.
The link to State and Territory Health Departments is listed below
Information for international vessels regarding the novel coronavirus
Dear shipping agents
In response to the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019 –nCoV) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, the Department of Agriculture is requesting that shipping agents provide information to all vessels arriving in Australia.
You may have already received an email asking you to provide factsheets to vessel masters and crew following the lodgement of pre-arrival reporting. This factsheet includes information about coronavirus. It is important that all crew have access to this fact sheet, particularly crew who have been in mainland China. A copy of that fact sheet is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-information-for-travellers-arriving-in-australia-from-china-zhi-cong-zhong-guo-di-ao-lu-ke-you-guan-xin-xing-guan-zhuang-bing-du-de-xin-xi
The Department of Agriculture conducts risk assessments of human health on international vessels on behalf of the Department of Health. Mandatory pre arrival reporting of human health on board international vessels must be undertaken at least 12 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival into Australian territorial waters. This reporting is an important part of preventing the spread of the virus and promoting the health and safety of crew, port workers, and the general public. The Vessel Master must also update the human health status on board the vessel if any changes occur while the vessel is in Australian waters.
Where pre-arrival reporting indicates a human health risk, biosecurity officers will conduct an assessment, and where necessary work with state and territory health departments to manage the risk to the ill person, healthy passengers and crew, seaport personnel, border staff and health professionals.
The Department of Health has dedicated resources related to 2019-nCoV available here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources. These resources may help you, your staff, and your clients to understand the virus and its implications for your business. Information on this page is updated regularly to reflect the most up-to-date information about the illness.
If you have questions regarding the novel coronavirus, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conveyances and Ports | Compliance Controls
Department of Agriculture
Ph: +61 2 6272 5301 | +61 466 792 851
On Sunday the 20th October the new and remedial works to our National Merchant Navy War Memorial were unveiled by Senator, The Honorable Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence and Senator for Western Australia.
The ceremony took place at the Merchant Navy Memorial at Kings Park on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra and AIMS President Peter Murday and CEO Susan Hull were invited to lay a wreath in honour of those who served during the Great War on troop carriers taking our men from Australia to Europe and to those who lost their lives.
It was a honour to be able to participate in this ceremony said Murday and we thank David Field from the Merchant Navy Memorial Fund for his very kind invitation and the opportunity for us to pay our respects on behalf of our members.
The Merchant Navy Memorial Fund vision is to ensure that the Australian Merchant Navy "A title emblazoned in battle and honoured in freedom" is recognised as an important part of Australian Maritime History and Social Culture.
This fund will be the AIMS charity for 2020 and we hope to support it's good works.
The Honorable Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence and Senator for Western Australia gave a moving speech which can be downloaded here. The Honorable Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence and Senator for Western Australia. .pdf
The Red Ensign, commemorating the Merchant Navy will be flown or displayed at all AIMS official functions during 2020
I would like to thank all of our wonderful sponsors and supporters of the Biennial Conference and Awards for Excellence.
The conference day itself was a huge success (photo's coming soon) and 71 delegates were treated to a wide range of informative presentations that included information on biofouling and aquatic bio-security by Michael Sierp, the survey of composites in the modern era by Mark McIlwain, Safe Shipping of Solid Bulk Cargo by Tim Evans, Securing the South China Sea by Professor Douglas Guilfoyle, Incoterms by Kerryn Wooning and the Strength of Membership by BIA's Nik Parker.
We were very fortunate indeed to also have presenters from AMSA and the Department of Agriculture.
AMSA, our gold sponsor for both the conference and Awards dinner opened the conference with an inspiring speech and Al Schwartz, GM Operations presented the Steve Beale award with Susan Beale, wife of the late Steve Beale.
Our silver sponsor was Hunter Marine Services and Bronze Sponsors were
Cargo Care, Australian Marine Surveys, AMSPEC CR Cox and of course BRIC Insurance.
Thanks to all of our sponsors, without you the day would not have been the great success that it was.
Monday: 9:00am - 5:00pm AEST
Tuesday: 9:00am - 5:00pm AEST
Wednesday: 9:00am - 5:00pm AEST
Thursday: 9:00am - 5:00pm AEST
Kingston ACT 2603