Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Stick it on the bulkhead

Posted on | January 29, 2013 | No Comments

Some years ago I spent a couple of days aboard a VLCC on passage, which provided a great deal of food for thought, along with some meat for subsequent articles.

This was what one might describe as a “mature” ship, although maintained in beautiful condition by a large and well-motivated crew.
One of the features that had been installed by the original owner of this ship was the provision of tasteful faux-wood laminated bulkheads to the common spaces, which must have been greatly appreciated by her original crews.

The past tense was deliberately employed here, because by the time I sailed on the ship, virtually every square inch of these internal bulkheads was covered in safety notices and posters.

The crew, if they were so minded (and were obviously encouraged to do so by the owners) could spend hours of their off-watch time perusing these rules, regulations, advice and recommendations, accompanied by large and well-illustrated posters emphasising safety messages.

Supplied by owners, manager, charterers and other agencies, these notices were doubtless well-meaning, but it occurred to me that their sheer volume made it likely that their messages might be somewhat blunted.

It might be suggested that this is by no means unusual as the despatch of the various messages, along with earnest injunctions to the crew to ensure that they are displayed prominently and carefully noted, have become part of the shore side “insulation” against the consequences of accident.

But, notwithstanding the above, let us unreservedly welcome a useful chart produced by the IMO which provides a simplified overview of the discharge provisions of the revised MARPOL Annex V, which of course came into force at the beginning of this year.

This, pleasingly laminated and usefully provided with adhesive strips, sets out, simply and clearly what garbage you are permitted to consign to the deep, and where the dumping can be done. It is concise and dare we say it, essential information for those aboard ship, well worth placing somewhere conspicuous, always supposing there is space.

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