SHIP BUYERS’ CONFIDENTIALITY IS CRUCIAL
The last couple of years have seen a lot of merging of S&P brokers,
including Braemar/ACM, ICAP/Howe Robinson and Clarkson/Platou. This year itseems to be more the turn of marine survey companies with class societies, ship owners, ship managers and even ship brokers taking over some of the well-known names.
“There may be benefits to customers from some of these survey company mergers,” says Carole Bryer, managing director of Aalmar Surveys, “but with the level of confidentiality needed by those in the S&P market – is it the best thing for all? Even your strategy of just being interested in buying a certain vessel is valuable market information to others.”
Carole states that with Aalmar, clients are completely in control of their data and that if other parties are interested in any Aalmar- generated report, it is the client’s decision alone whether to share this information or not.
”Those of you that have received Aalmar reports will be aware of how hard we work to safeguard your data with a failsafe system that includes watermarks, passwords, secure photo access and more, ensuring that information goes only to the company requesting and paying for the survey”, she adds.
The Aalmar group is 100 per cent independent, with ownership in the hands of one British ex-seagoing engineer. The group has no ties to any other organisation. It believes it is the only truly independent and confidential quality marine surveys service operating globally.
COSTLY DILEMMA OF WRECK REMOVALS
The question of responsibility for covering wreck removal has been brought sharply into focus by a series of events in the United Arab Emirates.
The Port Emirate of Sharjah in the has been unfortunate enough to have seen several marine casualties in and around her port this year.
At least five vessels ran aground up and down the UAE coast during bad weather. One of these was a small parcel product tanker (in semi laid up condition with skeleton crew) which dragged her anchor and grounded on the breakwater near the harbour entrance. This vessel is reported to have zero insurance cover.
While alongside in the port, another small single hull bunker tanker had a catastrophic explosion during cargo discharge operations resulting in her breaking her back, but still floating in a crippled condition (see picture above). Although this vessel is reported to have insurance, it is not with one of the more well-known insurers and there is some doubt as to whether they will honour the claim from the owners.
In both cases, the port authority is left with the dilemma of who will cover the cost of these wreck removals. It is doubtful whether the port authority would have sufficient liability insurance or available funds to pay for the wreck removal.
In other parts of the world where similar cases are experienced, the federal government usually steps in with funds to assist. In rare cases, governments can even ask the vessel owners to contribute towards the costs, particularly if they have in-country assets.
In more wealthy ports it is incumbent on owners to prove that they have sufficient P&I and H&M cover in place before their vessel can enter the port. Unfortunately for Sharjah Port, this is clearly not the situation in the above-mentioned cases. Making Waves hopes the port has a better run of luck in the future.
Times Marine has worked on salvage/wreck removal projects in the past and is currently working for a major P&I Club on a major wreck removal project in the region. In the above cases, given the lack of P&I Club involvement, there is no opportunity for the company to assist in the two cases above.
SUSPECTED LEAKAGE DISPROVED WITHIN HOURS
Aalmar USA’s team responded very swiftly to allay a captain’s worst fears when a suspected oil leak was reported from a ship.
Representing the ship owner and their P&I Club, the Aalmar team was instructed to attend the ship, an LPG carrier, to conduct an oil pollution survey and ascertain cause and extent of reported leakage.
The survey was carried out within hours of being called, with both the master and superintendent being very helpful assisting the attending surveyor.
The superintendent had ridden the vessel from her last port and was disembarking to board the sister vessel tied up at the pier adjacent.
An oil sheen on the water was spotted at first light by ship staff and duly reported to the owner, Designated Person Ashore (DPA), and the USCG National Response Center (NRC). Tanks were sounded, the terminal alerted, and general good practice observed by the captain and his staff. Aalmar assisted the captain as he carried out his inspections, checks and reporting.
“Unfortunately for the owner, this sheen was evident in the water between both sister vessels,” says Alan Coleman, Aalmar Group managing director. “A similar scene awaited the superintendent on the sister vessel. With AalmarUSA and ship crews working together, all interests of the owner and P&I Club were properly protected.
”Neither ship was found to be at fault after a fast and furious round of inspections, checks and related notifications and reporting”.
The ship’s captain had carried out his own inspection, noting the oil sheen seemed to be coming from shore. He captured this unhappy event with ship’s camera (see picture where the oily ‘V’ can be seen as contaminated water drains into the harbour).
In US waters it is imperative to notify the National Response Center of a spill at first sighting, no matter where it is later found to have originated. AalmarUSA is always on standby to respond to P&I and H&M matters with urgency.
A NOTE FROM NAUTICAL NED
Drives you round the bend: The British arrived on a lump of rock they called Telegraph Island in the Musandam Fjords of Oman back in the mid-19th century, staying for five years. They were laying a telegraph cable from India to Basra in Iraq. Taking the cable ‘round the bend’ of the Gulf gave rise to this expression, since living on Telegraph Island in the extreme heat of summer must have sent them crazy! These days, the island is noted for its rich underwater life – and dhows (the local type of fishing boat) stop off here.
• Aalmar Group is presently working near Telegraph Island with one of the prominent P&I Clubs to support the removal of a wreck, ensuring that the beautiful marine environment in this area is not affected.