The OPA 90 Salvage Response regulations have now been in effect for a number of years and while there has not yet been a major US incident that tests the system to the limit, there have been a few smaller incidents where some lessons are being learned.
The most central issue in the US Salvage regulations focuses on first getting people in place as quickly as possible. There is no doubt that, in salvage, knowledgeable eyes on site is the single most effective driver in building the full subsequent response.
The USCG is well aware of that and has designed the regulations to require a very rapid on site response by salvors. At the inception of the tank vessel salvage requirements DonjonSMIT, one of the major US salvage response providers, tasked Martin & Ottaway with the development of a system that provides the ability to put knowledgeable personnel on site as soon as possible anywhere in USCG administered locations. read more »
We all like to kid about acronym soup, and it is pretty difficult to keep up with all the new ones. I remember that as a young engineer I was always hesitant to ask in public, because I was afraid that asking the question would prove my ignorance.
Somewhere in my career I crossed that bar and now when somebody uses an acronym that I don't know (well, at my age, it generally is an acronym I can't remember), I no longer worry about admitting my ignorance and simply ask what it means. Occasionally I even emerge victoriously without trying when the acronym dropper cannot tell me what it means.
Martin & Ottaway has been deeply involved in a specific acronym progression that has roiled the maritime industry for a while now. It began in the 1990's with QMS, it begat TQM, then it begat ISM, which begat SMS, which begat STCW, which begat ISPS, which begat ECP and dozens of derivative acronym offshoots. And to deal with all of it, the industry developed the corporate HQSE department and Martin & Ottaway functions as an HQSE consultant. HQSE stands for Health, Quality, Safety and Environmental. At first glance, this acronym is reasonably inclusive of the systems that a well run shipping company needs to have in place to satisfy the demands that are not directly related to the company's income producing model. We like to call them "for the public" systems, because they allow a company to function as a responsible world citizen (and more importantly, based on our experience, they actually add to the corporate bottom line).
But the acronym is not complete and misses a number of important concepts.
I was struggling with this when writing a paper about recent HQSE system issues that I will be presenting at the SNAME annual meeting on October 26. That paper shows that training systems need to be an integral component of HQSE systems. This led me to wonder about how to introduce the "T" for training into HQSE.
Fisheries management is an excruciatingly complex subject. The management (or mismanagement) of fisheries can very rapidly affect the viability of the industry and has all sorts of carry on effects. Martin & Ottaway sees these effects in fishing boat accident investigations and fishing boat valuations. For example, a fishing boat value is not just tied to the market, or even to its specific trade, but can also be affected by applicable fishing licenses and fishery management methods. While fishing will always be dangerous, as can be noted at the end of this story, well designed and well managed fisheries tend to be much safer than poorly managed fisheries.
Improper management can result in complete vessel value collapse, as has recently occurred in Spain and was described in a recent New York Times article, while a successful management program can have many positive carry on effects.
Recently Seattle Admiralty Attorney (and fellow wooden boat aficionado) Chip Jordan introduced me to an example of a program that is worthy of further consideration. It concerns the Seattle fishing schooner fleet.
This cartoon was probably old when I first saw it in the eighties, but I would say the subject that it spoofs has not gotten much better.
Most of the above inspectors still show up, but today we can add Port State Control, P&I condition inspectors (especially hatch cover inspections), environmental auditors, ISM inspectors and the list goes on. M&O performs many of the above inspections and we truly symphatize with ship's personnel that has to manage all these port call duties during ever shorter port calls.
Recently M&O has been involved in research and development activities to reduce this inspection workload for the ship's crews. In October I will be presenting a paper on the subject at the SNAME annual meeting in Providence RI. read more »