Can Shipmanagers cope with the introduction of the ISPS Code and other new requirements? Dimitris Lyras, Director, Lyras Shipping Ltd.
Speaking at Nor-Shipping last week, Dimitris Lyras questioned whether shipmanagers are going to be able to comply with new regulations unless they develop a new approach to management systems. He said that the introduction of the latest requirement, the ISPS Code, "is certainly threatening to slow down the progress of other awareness initiatives. A major concern now for managers is that the continued increase in regulatory and vetting requirements will become unmanageable."
"The danger is that for every new requirement there is an increased likelihood of other important compliance areas dropping off the radar as the workload increases. Shipmanagers need to be thinking of how they can manage this area of compliance, which is inseparable from competence and training issues".
Moreover, in the wake of the Eurasian Dream ruling, the reality is that shipping companies now face not just operational problems but legal liabilities if their staff are unfamiliar with regulatory requirements. In the case of the Eurasian Dream, a car carrier that caught fire during cargo operations, it was found that the vessel was un-seaworthy as management had failed to properly train their crew and prepare them for handling the particular cargo. As a consequence it has been demonstrated that Shipmanagement companies now have to go beyond regulatory compliance and perform, for instance, risk assessments for particular vessels, trades and cargo equipment to ensure that vessels may be considered seaworthy.
In looking for solutions to this problem of managing the increasing burden, Mr. Lyras said that increased training was not the answer. Seafarers know how to do their jobs, what they need now are the software tools that help them do their work and manage the documentation necessary to demonstrate they are complying with regulatory requirements.
He referred to the success of the Internet and its accessibility to users who need no training, only familiarisation, to use software enabling them to buy goods and services and perform many other functions. His message was that shipmanagers need to capture the benefits of using software that works, that works on ships, requires no training and can enable seafarers and shore staff to take the introduction of new regulations in their stride.