ON DECK Vol 2 No 4 May 1939 (Part 2)


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ON DECK Vol 2 No 4 May 1939 (Part 1)


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ON DECK Vol 2 No 1- September 1938


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ON DECK Vol 1 No 2 – November 1937


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The position of the Ship Master, apparently enshrined in centuries of law, custom and practice, is showing evidence of strain in the light of 21st century ship operation and management. The Master’s traditional authority is widely perceived as being diminished while responsibility is being increased, frequently in matters over which he has little or no control.

Is the role of the Master under attack? How has his authority and responsibilities been affected in an age of instant communication between ship and shore, and a growing volume of laws and regulations affecting the way the Master runs his ship?

These are the core questions for the 14th Cadwallader Debate and Dinner to consider at Drapers’ Hall, London on October 26th. The event is being organised by the London Shipping Law Centre (LSLC) Maritime Business Forum. Michael Grey, LSLC Council member and former seafarer, has no doubts about the growing difficulties facing Ship Masters. He cites external interference in loading and stowage, course, speed and performance decisions, sometimes overriding the Master’s safety concerns and backed by bullying.

There are increasing instances where the Master is held as a ‘legal hostage,’ when local and port authorities, sometimes corrupt, find something wrong with the ship, its operations and its cargo. With an estimated 150,000 new merchant officers required in the global shipping industry by 2025, Mr Grey is concerned that these factors could well discourage those contemplating a career at sea and ultimate command. He said: “Ambitious and bright officers need to be attracted to the Ship Masters’ role. However, there are worrying signs that senior officers are being deterred from this aspiration when they observe first-hand the burdens borne by those who command the ships they sail in.”

Under the chairmanship of Lord Clarke of Stone-cum-Ebony, the speaker’s panel will be led by Captain Kuba Szymanski, Secretary-General of Intermanager, as moderator. He will be supported by Michael Kelleher, Director, West of England P&I Club; Faz Peermohamed, Global Head of Shipping, Ince & Co; Michael Chalos, Partner, K&L Gates (New York): and Jeff Lantz, Director of Commercial Regulations and Standards, US Coast Guard. Captain Szymanski said: “Hierarchy is vital to a vessel’s performance, as clear decisions are fundamental to a ship’s performance and the safety and integrity of crew, cargo and the environment. Ever since all shipping companies had to adopt the ISM Code, we have seen a transfer of authority from ship to shore personnel who are making more key decisions. Yet the Master remains formally responsible for factors which he does not control. “The Master must continue to be the voice of the vessel, just as he has always been.” Mr. Grey added: “The debate is designed to tease out areas of real concern within the industry, ashore and afloat. The issue is that modern legal developments and the communication technology, which binds ship and shore more closely together require the traditional role of the Ship Master to be revisited.”

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It is with regret that we report the deaths of two former members of our company.

Ian Mackay K.St.J., LLB,  Master Mariner, Barrister and Solicitor, passed away on 15 August. He obtained his Masters Certificate when with Port Line. On coming ashore he obtained his law degree and spent some time working for Chapman Tripp after which he founded P&I Services representing both the Standard and UK Clubs.

He was founder Chairman of the NZ Branch and Former President of the Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, Chief Arbitration Commissioner for New Zealand, and first Chairman of the Maritime Safety Authority of New Zealand. He was the founding Patron of the Merchant Navy Association

Captain Dudley Neill spent his whole working life at sea and passed away on 20 August. He came to New Zealand in the 1960’s and was a deck officer and master with Holm & Co. He was appointed first Marine Superintendent with New Zealand Railway when they took over the management of their ships. He later joined ABC Container Line as Marine Manager. When that company finished trading he went back to sea as master with Milburn Cement.  After retiring from that company he acted as pilot at the Manukau harbour for the LPG tankers until his final retirement.


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From Lloyds List Friday 23 September 2016

by Paul Slater

The Hanjin bankruptcy came as no surprise as its attempts to restructure and reduce its commitments to the very large number of chartered-in ships failed.

The complexity of the effects of the bankruptcy on its creditors, customers and other shipowners is immense and highlights the weakness of owners chartering ships to companies that don’t own or control the cargoes.

Intermediary companies have caused huge problems in the past mainly, in the dry bulk sector, but have been worsened by the alliance structures that the container operators have formed and endlessly reformed.

Hanjin is the tip of the iceberg for shipping in the container and dry bulk sectors as they service both ends of the manufacturing chain that is part of the global economy, which is deeply troubled.

The financial state of the shipping industry continues to decline in most sectors as the global economy itself is declining.

The problems the industry faces have been created by the shipping companies, both public and private, grossly over-ordering new ships in the false belief that the global economy would continue to grow at the rates seen in the last decade. The reality is the opposite and most of the new ships were delivered into a stagnant economy that has continued to decline.

Shipping continues to carry more than 90% of physical world trade but as this has declined, so have the freight rates of the ships that carry the trade. There is a chronic oversupply of ships in many sectors and the average age is historically low.

Most companies, whose ships do not have period charters with cargo owners, are now faced with freight income from the spot markets that barely covers ship operating expenses.

Debt service is not being covered and cash reserves for future maintenance and drydocking are also not being funded. Neither are the new requirements including ballast water and cleaner fuel systems.

Charterers and cargo owners need to respond to these issues and at least pay freight rates enabling shipowners to operate safe ships maintained properly with experienced crew.

It is patently ridiculous for cargo owners to charter ships from the spot markets that are creating insolvency and bankruptcy among shipowners. It is also absurd that shipowners should accept the low rates that don’t cover the costs of operating the ships when they know from past experience that cargo owners can afford to pay more.

Ship managers should not be forced to lower standards or reduce quality or safety and investors are ill-advised to push for cost reductions in these essential areas.

The present oversupply of ships will continue throughout this decade and into the next one until ship recycling removes the surpluses and shipyards resist the temptation to over-build again.

With the demise of most shipping banks, facing huge losses from their careless lending in the recent past, new debt will be very difficult to find. Also the new investors, comprised mostly of private equity, hedge funds and venture capital Funds, now face inevitable losses which cannot be avoided.

Wall Street investment banks continue to prop up struggling shipping companies with expensive debt that takes priority security and further undermines the existing equity and debt, but enables the company to pay the legal and bank fees.

There will be further collapses in the container sector as some companies that falsely believe “bigger is better”, have incurred huge debts and are losing money.

The rush to build super-sized container ships is a disaster, as there are not enough cargoes available to fill them and they have even fewer back-haul cargoes.

The previously large ships have been cascaded down into the feeder trades, for which they are too large, and numerous smaller ships await the scrapyard.

The depth of the global economic slowdown is clearly evident in Asia.

From China to South Korea, Vietnam into the Philippines and even into Japan the slowdown in the economies of the US and Europe and the ongoing wars in the Middle East have reduced the demand for manufactured goods and with it the demand for ships on both sides of the manufacturing chain.

Many of the new investors that have come into shipping in recent years had no understanding of the workings of the shipping industry but were simply focused on the false belief that ship values would rise, and they would make large profits quickly.

Most of the publicly traded companies they invested in are now barely solvent and have no hope of generating profits from either their operations or the sale of ships.

Faced with the inevitability that many of the shipping markets will not improve, the struggling companies should sell all their ships and close down their operations.

Paul Slater is chairman and chief executive of First International.

Maybe port companies in New Zealand who are spending large amounts of money to enable larger ships to berth should take note of these dire predictions.


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Merchant Navy Day,  03 September 2016, was celebrated at various ports around New Zealand. In Wellington, a service was held in the Hall of Memories, National War Memorial attended by 12o invited guests. Outside the New Zealand Red Ensign was flown together with the New Zealand National Flag. Twelve flags were paraded into the service including two from past NZ shipping companies. A number of wreaths were laid including one from the NZ Company of Master Mariners.

Merchant Navy Day 2 Merchant Navy Day 1

In the United Kingdom the Chamber Of Shipping CEO, Guy Platten has welcomed the announcement today of the recipients of the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service;  “I am delighted to congratulate all the recipients of this new national award. It is testament to the great dedication which they have shown throughout their careers and their commitment to the industry in which they work.

“That the medal is now a national award is recognition of the commitment and dedication of seafarers, and the contribution of the shipping and maritime industries to our island nation.”

Recipients of the medal have received the award for a range of meritorious service including: providing operational achievement through leadership, management and sensitivity in a migrant rescue in the Mediterranean in 2015; dedication to seafarer training and removing barriers for those entering the industry; devotion to welfare work and fundraising support to maritime charities and young seafarers.

Commenting on the announcement the Shipping Minister, John Hayes remarked “Merchant Navy seafarers and those serving in the fishing fleets give a tremendous service to our island nation and it is only right that they are recognised for the vital role they play, often in difficult and dangerous conditions. Coinciding with Merchant Navy Day, it provides an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of our brave seafarers of the past and to show our appreciation for British shipping today and in the future.”

David Dingle CBE, Chairman of Maritime UK remarked  “Congratulations to all the well deserving recipients – the new national award is fitting recognition of the dedication and achievements of the recipients and their service to the UK maritime industries. This national award is also testament to the importance of our sector and those who work within it, to our island nation as a vital part of our heritage and of our modern economy – supporting jobs, driving innovation and enabling trade.”

The recipients of the medals are:
· Captain R H Barker, for services to the Merchant Navy.
· Mr L A J Dalrymple, for services to the welfare of seafarers.
· Captain S Harrison, for services to the shipping and ports industries.
· Captain N J Jeffery, for services to the promotion of Merchant Navy careers.
· Mr G T Jones, for services to the Merchant Navy and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
· Mr R J Jones, for services to the welfare of seafarers.
· Captain P J McArthur, for services to the Merchant Navy.
· Captain D S McCallum, for services to the Merchant Navy.
· Captain N McIntyre, for services in the rescue of refugees.
· Mr M F Morgan, for services to the Merchant Navy and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
· Captain P D Peters, for services to the welfare of seafarers.
· Captain P Rentell, for services to the Merchant Navy.
· Captain R Towner, for services to seafarer certification and training.

The Merchant Navy Medal (MNM) has been awarded annually by the industry for meritorious service since it was established in 2005. This year following a campaign by the awarding committee, the medal has been elevated to become an official State Award, supported by a Royal Warrant and a ceremony for the recipients will take place in November at Trinity House.


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Marine consultant / DPA

Good knowledge of MLC,ISM & ISPS systems and regulations
Would suit semi retired Master
part time / Full time

Call for a chat

Applicants for this position should have NZ residency or a valid NZ work visa.

Dennis Nisbet
Managing Director
(+64) 21 398 945


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A major collision over the weekend involving two containerships off Ningbo, China caused severe damage to both ships and fire on board one of them. No serious injuries to the crews of either vessel were reported.

The collision involved the Maersk Line-owned containership Safmarine Meru and the Northern Jasper, a German-owned containership.

Maersk Line confirmed in a statement provided to gCaptain that the incident occurred early Sunday morning (May 8 local time) approximately 120 nautical east of Ningbo. The collision caused severe damage to the Safmarine Meru and a fire broke out. Its crew of 22 people abandoned the vessel shortly afterwards.

A review of the both ships actions before the collision shows a complete lack of understanding of the Collision Regulations probably caused by inexperience. When will the regulators realize that experience can only be gained at sea with a long apprenticeship and all the BRM waffle and time spent at Nautical Colleges will not replace on the job training.

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