My blog is long overdue for an update and what better time to scribble down a few words than at the start of UK Maritime Safety Week which runs from 6 to 10 July 2020. It seems appropriate to put the IIMS weight behind an awareness campaign of this kind, not least as one of the major roles of any marine surveyor, not just in the UK, is to help to keep lives safe at sea and to help protect vessels, cargoes and maritime assets.
UK Maritime Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP outlined the objectives of the week:
– Recognise the excellent safety work that already goes on across the sector;
– Provide an opportunity to focus on some specific challenges, such as fishing safety, and what is being done to tackle them;
– Facilitate the sharing of knowledge, experience and best practice;
All three objectives are interlinked and provide us with an opportunity to celebrate the various successes that we have been achieving as an industry and broadcast it to the rest of the UK and the wider world.
In order to stimulate conversations and make connections under the banner of the Maritime Safety Week, the Minister, various industry bodies including Port Skills & Safety will be posting on the website and social media throughout the week the various initiatives of member ports.
MAIB Chief Inspector, Capt Andrew Moll, added his weight to the initiative too when he said, “As the Chief Inspector of the MAIB I am very pleased to be supporting Maritime Safety Week. At the Branch we are all too accustomed to seeing the aftermath of accidents, many of which have had tragic consequences. Our investigations aim to learn the lessons from these events to try and prevent a re-occurrence. However, for the casualties of our investigations, our findings and the lessons learned will have come too late. It is therefore very refreshing to be taking a pause from the reactive nature of our work, to focus more widely on preventing future accidents”.
I am not sure if COVID-19 plays a part in Maritime Safety Week’s thinking, but if not it should. Many commercial ships have continued to operate throughout the pandemic, including the recent arrival of the world’s largest container ship, HMM Algeciras, into London Gateway. I still cannot fathom how these giants stay afloat! For marine surveyors boarding such vessels in the major ports, please ensure you do all you can to stay safe and take sensible cautions to prevent you from catching this disease. The same goes for yacht and small craft surveyors. I hear surveyors are rushed off their feet in the US at a time when the disease and infections seem to be going from bad to worse. Some surveyors in the UK report a similar demand for their services. Once again I say, take the necessary precautions, risk assess, and use the necessary PPE to remain safe.
Chief Executive Officer