STCW will be reviewed

A meeting  of  the ITF Maritime Safety Committee (ITF MSC)  was held in London on November 29-30, 2018. More  50 delegates  from  national seafarers' unions  from each continent  took part in its work. Sergei Dmitriyevich Aizinov, director at the  Further Professional Education Institute of  the Admiral Makarov State University  of Maritime  and  Inland  Shipping, represented the  Seafarers' Union of  Russia (SUR). 

ITF MSC waiting for proposals

Several  ITF priorities of actions  in IMO  were marked out  during the  meeting, said Sergei Dmitriyevich. There  were autonomous  and highly-automated  vessels, industrial personnel (IP), the STCW's review and   the  human element   and  its affects  on navigation safety.

The delegates raised  questions  around  the  industrial personnel who would be  on shipboard. So, the IP-staff may  not satisfy to the  STCW requirements including personal survival, first aid treatment, collective  and individual life-saving equipments, fire  fighting and  so on. Therefore the Maritime Safety Committee  of  the International Transport Workers' Federation asked  the  national unions and flag administrations to represent proposals for their further pre-approval, making amendments  and  submitting  to   IMO. The issue is expected to be  discussed  at the  IMO's Sub-Committee on Human Element, Training  and Watchkeeping (HTW) and the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee soon.

STCW revision is  approaching

However, the  most critical issue  is an approaching revision of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification  and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). The amendment process  is expected to be started in near future and it  would be  realized  in 2020-2023. Particularly new  proposals  will concern  the management  and operational levels for electro-technical  officers  (ETO) and  electro-technical ratings (ETR) regarding a high voltage  safety operation; and  responsibility  division  in  an engine room given  a raising  digitalization and  automation of ship control systems.  It is  understood that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will initiate  the  development   of  a model course  for electro-technical ratings towards  to show a difference between  ETR and ETO. Thus, new amendments to the STCW Convention in regard to ETR and ETO  will be  worked out.

The ITF is  waiting for an approaching convention's review  with some concern. The ITF as   a public  organization  hasn't rights  to submit  the  documents  for the  IMO's  discussion  if   these  documents  don't  comply with an  HTW's agenda approved  by the  IMO MSC. For  lobbying   its proposals,  the  International Transport Workers' Federation  reaches out to flag states' delegates which have rights to such initiatives. Now Bangladesh, Iran  and other administrations  have  voiced their   support  for some proposals  on draft  amendments to the  STCW Convention.

IMO police

Within the MSC meeting  there was  statement according to  which the  Working Group on Port State Control  held its meeting. For IMO it is  highly  important  instrument aimed  not to  develop and  adopt   the maritime  laws, but  the  practical implementation of  the developed and   adopted  documents. The Port State Control (PSC) can  be named as the  IMO police because the  PSC   inspects a compliance  to the  IMO's  requirements and its  instruments; provide  the  realization  of  measures designed to raise the navigation safety, and safety of life at sea, and   pollution prevention.

There  is an IMO document  called Measures  to Harmonize  Port State  Control  Activities  and  Procedures  Worldwide. It is  a Guidance  and Recommendations, Sergei Dmitriyevich explains.  PSC authorities  regularly conduct the concentrated  inspections  on serious  issues. A Port State Control checks out the  crews certificates  on safe manning  and their   certificates  of  competence. In addition  the  planned harmonization of  documents and   procedures  of the  regional memorandums  will touch   the harmonization  of the  ship inspection procedures  in regions where  applied USCG  national procedures. The  common goal is to  eliminate the substandard shipping  and   to simplify  the ship inspection procedures  for crews.

Harmful safety equipment

Among other  questions which were  being discussed   under the  MSC meeting were:  new lifeboat design, launching and  recovery arrangements and   mechanisms, and  safety operations.    The special questions  rise   on the  free-fall lifeboat  (FFB) operations. The amount  of  vessels equipped with the  free-fall lifeboats is  raising, but there are no  abandon vessel drills with using  such safety equipment. This fact is a reason for  concern. Also the reason for drills' lack  is a high risk  of  seafarers injuries as a result  of the  FFB's design feature which aren't  intended for  multiple  launches. If trend holds, life saving equipment  will transform into  life  killing  equipment.

Criminalization is a matter  of  concern

The  delegates  discussed the  way  to prevent  the  seafarers'  criminalization. Such proposal came  from the Seafarers' Union of  Ukraine. Recently   the   cases  of putting  seafarers in jail for different  reasons (fuel  or  cigarette sales) have become more frequent. For example, 200 Ukrainian seafarers were detained  in accuse of  illegal migrant trafficking  in Greece. And 24 of these 200 were  detained  in 2018.

There are many reasons  for raising of criminalization among seafarers, Aizinov explains. Ignorance  of law, poor cooperation between  the  trade unions, seafarers and  flag authorities,   disadvantages   of  international laws.

 So there is a task  to develop a guidelines  on prevention of  law violation  by seafarers. The document  is designed  to  help seafarers  to immediately identify a smuggler  and refuse  to work on her.

Legal regulation is  the  most complex task

The MSC delegates  paid attention  to  such new technological trends  as the port automation, autonomous ships, robotization,  foundation of so called Shore-based Ship Control Centres. The World Maritime University in Sweden  provided a preliminary forecast.  Under  its results, the  autonomous  ships  will have 4% of  market by 2030.  13%   of global fleet are  expected  to be  autonomous by 2040. It is supposed that the  workplace  automation accompanied with replacement  of human by automatic or highly-automated  systems will affect, more likely,  on  low  skill professions (under 80%)  and, less likely, on high skill professions (approximately 5%).  Whereas,   the  automation  will  lead to decline  of shipowners'  operational costs. 50% of these operational costs are related  to the  crew expanses.

 The legal regulation  is  the most complex task for all-round promotion of  highly-automated fleet. Also the advantages are unclear. There is no infrastructure to serve  such vessels  and  there  are  high costs and other factors, Aizinov said. Based on BIMCO/UNCNAD statistics,   we  have to pay attention to assumptions  that  the   seafarers demand  behaviour will  decline  by 22%   as a result of   high-automated ships' adoption by 2040. The  demand  will raise   to 1,5 million from 500,000, however it would be  lower than before automation. Especially the  automation  will affect on ratings. On other  side, the  new professions will emerge  for  seafarers which will make  the employment   on waterways transport more attractive and  attract youth in the  industry.

Strong demand  for education

The  education,  retraining  and advanced training will have  a strong demand because there will be need to adopt people   to  new shipping  automation challenge,  concluded  delegates. The  World Maritime University  in Malmö  will  prepare some  recommendations. The IMO  will draw up  the   full list of  amendments  which should  be   introduced  in legal documents  by 2020-2023  and  they will be adopted possibly  in 10-12 years.

Among   the  organizational issues, it was decided to reduce  the MSC members  to 18 persons, except  for  the chairman, vice-chairman and  the  ITF's permanent  representative to the  IMO.

Sergei Dmitriyevich Aizinov  as a SUR representative joined   to the  Maritime Safety Committee. He was nominated as the  first  expert   of  the Sub-Committee  on Communications, Navigation, Search and Rescue  and also  the  Facilitation  Committee.

A meeting  of  the ITF Maritime Safety Committee (ITF MSC)  was held in London on November 29-30, 2018. More  50 delegates  from  national seafarers' unions  from each continent  took part in its work. Sergei Dmitriyevich Aizinov, director at the  Further Professional Education Institute of  the Admiral Makarov State University  of Maritime  and  Inland  Shipping, represented the  Seafarers' Union of  Russia (SUR). 

ITF MSC waiting for proposals

Several  ITF priorities of actions  in IMO  were marked out  during the  meeting, said Sergei Dmitriyevich. There  were autonomous  and highly-automated  vessels, industrial personnel (IP), the STCW's review and   the  human element   and  its affects  on navigation safety.