Danish Maritime Days 2016

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Fairplay.IHS.com | October 2016 | 19 Changing the game on consultancy ↘ The phrase 'game-changer' is overused. It refers to an event or idea that significantly shifts the current way of doing or thinking about something. The weakening of Chinese economic growth, whether it could be described as a soft or hard landing, is certainly a game-changer for the dry bulk sector and is likely to be so for the container sector in the future. Likewise, Saudi Arabia's 2014 attempt to head off competitors by abandoning its role as swing producer for the crude oil business has been a game-changer for the energy industry. Some game-changing decisions are not obvious. This week we heard from Lloyd's Register, the UK-headquartered classification society, that consultancy is now its core offer. Given that the number of ships under construction has slumped and survey work on the active fleet is falling, revenue for class societies is under pressure. Consultancy is a good alternative, considering the expertise available. Thinking about the never-ending ballast water treatment issue, shipowners will be forgiven for confusion over the differences in the US Coast Guard and IMO requirements. They will also be uncertain about the strengths and weaknesses of the various treatment systems – filtration, chemical disinfection, ozonation, electro-chlorination, ultraviolet irradiation, de-oxygenation, and pressure/vacuum at the last count. Class can offer experts in regulation. implantation. design, construction, and installation. as well as marketing experts to sell the new consultancy capability to shipowners anxious to comply but unsure how to do so. There's another layer of expertise: the legal expertise now available to class. Consultancy is about minimising risk in the way shipowners do their business, but there is a line beyond which advice ends and recommendation begins. It's one thing to help a shipowner build a shortlist of ballast water treatment systems, it's quite another to steer a decision one way or another. Drawing that line is the work of a legal team that understand the dangers of going too far. Shipowners must read the terms and conditions of the consultancy contract very carefully. The final choice between systems is for the owner to make, so any error in operation or maintenance is for the owner to pay. Consultancy involves class societies becoming, in effect, a shipowner's technical and regulatory affairs departments. This will be in addition to a flag state's consultancy status, a retained lawyer's own regulatory team, the national and international owners' associations, and the manager of the ships involved taking on responsibility for crewing, technical management and, in some cases, operational management. Choosing your consultancy partner has just become a whole lot more complicated. Shutterstock Mypoint,beforethisbecomestoocorporate,isthat captainsandseniorofficersarethedefactochief memoryofficersonboardanyship.Theyshould embodythesafetycultureofthecompany:they shouldrespectthepast,mistrustthepresent,and provideforthesafetyofthefuture.Andtheyshould havetheclouttomakethemselvesheardabovethe noiseofcorporateobjectives.Ihaveelsewherewritten ofthelessonsfromthegroundingofthero-ro Riverdancenotlearnedintimetopreventthe groundingofthecarcarrierHoeghOsaka.Different company,differentculture,butsameresult.Thechief memoryofficerwouldneedtobeopentomemories fromotherbusinesses. Moreover,companiesstressedbymarketdownturn –atthecurrenttimethoseoperatingbulkcarriers, containerships,andoffshoresupportvesselsespecially –mightbeforgivenforregardingcorporatememoryas anunnecessaryluxury.Notso.Memoryofdecisions takeninthepastthatenabledthebusinesstosurvive shouldsupportproposalsputforwardtoday.Safetyis mostunderthreatwhenthere'snoprecedenttohelpus choosebetweencoursesofaction,andwhenthereare noofficerswithsufficientmemorytoturnto. Safetyatseaisanobligationweallsignuptowhen wepullawayfromthequayside.Ifthecultureis shiftingfromcareerseafarerstotwo-yearcontractors, theroleofthechiefmemoryofficersbecomeseven morevital.Evenifwegivethemanothername. 'The final choice between ballast water treatment systems is the owner's to make, so any error is the owner's to pay for' FAIRPLAY Industry insight

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