download the guide at the end of the article
download the paper at the end of the article
The lifeboat needs to be reinvented
30 member companies in the Container Ship Safety Forum e.V.
CSSF e.V.: Member Meeting / Two new members in 2021
Covid-19: Seafarers to be amongst the first groups for vaccination // Fire-fighting: CSSF e.V. releases position paper
CSSF calls on authorities to enable crew changes and guarantee medical support / Members support IMO’s appeal to governments
Shanghai Ocean Shipping joins Container Ship Safety Forum e.V.
Container Ship Safety Forum sets course for better firefighting capacity // Additional focus on safe access to the cargo area on container ships needed
CSSF publishes free Guide to Safe Container Ship Operations
Container Ship Safety Forum continues to grow // Member companies test new firefighting equipment
This new Guide to Safe Container Ship Operations is a strong indication of the CSSF’s commitment to continued improvement in safety. It objectively sets out the practices and procedures associated with safe container ship operations. These practices and procedures are meant to be challenging – but, having said that, in the vast majority of instances they are already being pursued by the CSSF’s members.
This Guide is not an inspection or audit checklist, nor is it a self-assessment document, and it is not intended to be a measure by which stakeholders may measure or compare one company with another. It is a living document that is expected to be periodically updated to reflect changing standards, requirements and expectations. The practices and procedures described in this guide can be successfully implemented – indeed, everything included in this guidance has been used and has helped to achieve desired improvements.
The CSSF believes that the container ship companies which work towards the successful implementation of the practices described will indeed achieve improved safety and performance standards.
The Guide to Safe Container Ship Operations is limited in its scope to personal and operational safety. The document does not include security, environmental or crew welfare issues except where there are direct safety implications.
The members of the Container Ship Safety Forum represent a diverse mix of container operations and as such recognise that Companies have different safety management objectives and different management systems. To support that this guidance document is intended to help container ship owners, operators and managers develop their own procedures that fit in with and compliment their own company cultures and management systems.
It is intended to be ambitious and help raise safety standards within the container sector but it is not intended to contain prescriptive procedures or instructions and should not be used in that way.
The members of CSSF are highly concerned about the many cargo fires onboard container ships originating from commodities that are carried inside the containers.
For the CSSF it is unacceptable that seafarers have to be concerned about their lives and wellbeing while doing their job due to dangerous cargo which is not managed responsibly by manufacturers, shippers and other parties in the supply chain.
Fire-fighting activities have one of the highest residual risks on board container ships and further mitigation is required both by developing preventive as well as resilience capacity in the supply chain and onboard vessels.
The CSSF does not want to be recognized as an extra regulator by setting new rules in addition to the existing ones, but wants to encourage with this paper Industry position on addressing container ship cargo fires all parties involved to look beyond minimum regulatory requirements.
Hamburg, 08 May 2023. Lifeboats are an essential part of crew safety onboard every vessel but seafarers are way too often getting injured when launching the lifeboat. Instead of focusing on how to improve the lifeboat itself, focus has been on compliance and training. Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. (CSSF) calls for a reinvention of the lifeboat onboard cargo vessels.
Over the years, many seafarers have been injured – some of them fatally – while launching the lifeboat during evacuations or evacuation drills. Not because the lifeboats have not been compliant with safety standards, but simply because the launch of a lifeboat is a dangerous task to perform.
“We need to reinvent the lifeboat and its launching equipment onboard cargo vessels. For way too long, we have seen able seafarers being injured when launching lifeboats even though crews have been trained and the lifeboat is modern and fully compliant,” says Aslak Ross, Chairman of the CSSF. “Everyone knows we have a problem; seafarers are scared to launch lifeboats; however, no one has offered a plausible path towards a solution to the problem for cargo vessels. A change is needed to provide a safe environment for seafarers and to regain trust in lifesaving equipment,” he adds.
Known problem: In 2017, the UK Chamber of Shipping issued an article ‘Lifeboat drills: We need to save lives, not lose them’ in which they identified 60 fatalities during testing of lifeboats over a 10-year period. In the article, it was stated that simulation training could improve safety.
“Simulation and use of new technology is one way to conduct drills in a safer environment, and we support the intent to reduce the risk of accidents, however, it does not solve the core of the problem: Launching a lifeboat is too dangerous. And even though simulation has its advantages, it should only be used as a supplement to well-conducted onboard abandon ship drills where crews are familiarized with the ship specific equipment,” says Aslak Ross.
In the so-called hierarchy of controls – a 5-level system widely used in industries to minimize or eliminate exposure to hazards – training is on second lowest level to minimize risks, while removing and replacing the hazards are considered the two most effective actions to eliminate risks.
Therefore, the CSSF encourages the industry, classification societies, flag states and suppliers to launch innovation to replace current lifeboats with a safer technology. Alternative designs are already available for offshore installations and for passenger evacuation on PAX vessels through Marine Evacuation Systems (MES) and the like.
“Such systems should also be made available to cargo vessels without delay. It is long overdue to change the current environment and innovate to eliminate the risk of lifeboat accidents. We need approved systems that can be fitted to newbuildings – we need to safeguard our seafarers,” says Aslak Ross.
Hamburg, 18 January 2022. The Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. continues to grow: With MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. another major liner company has joined the forum as of 01 January 2022. “We are very much looking forward to be part of the CSSF and we aim to contribute with our knowledge and experience in managing container vessels to the continuous development of best practices in health and safety relevant operations”, says Dirk Van de Velde (Chief Officer HSSE at MSC).
Furthermore, as of 01 January 2022, Nordic Hamburg Shipmanagement GmbH & Co. KG has also joined the CSSF. Christian Schnell (Designated Person Ashore at Nordic) states: “Benchmarking and exchanging information in the forum will help us to assess and evaluate our own safety performance in the future.”
With these two companies joining, the CSSF has 30 members now and reached a significant milestone: More than 50% of the worldwide available TEU capacity on fully cellular container vessels is represented in the CSSF now.
Hamburg, 30 December 2021. The Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. held its last member meeting on 25 November 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was the fourth biannual member meeting in a row that took place in a virtual format. More than 40 persons representing the member companies of the forum attended the meeting.
Besides COVID-19 measures implemented by member companies, other health and safety related topics were discussed during the meeting. This included an exchange of best practices for safe pilot boarding arrangements on container vessels and a presentation on the grounding of the EVER GIVEN in the Suez Canal in March 2021. The representative of the ship manager of the vessel presented the case with valuable insights for all CSSF e.V. members.
Also, during the meeting, Aslak Ross (Head of Marine Standards at Maersk A/S) and Alfred Gomez (Director Marine Standards at Seaspan Ship Management Ltd.) were re-elected as First and Second Chairman of the CSSF e.V. Management Board.
Two new member companies joined the CSSF e.V. in 2021.
With Draco Buren Shipping Pte. Ltd. and Pacific International Lines Pte. Ltd. two more Singapore based companies joined the forum in 2021. The 28 members of the CSSF e.V. represent more than 45% of the worldwide available TEU capacity on fully cellular container vessels.
Hamburg, 16 December 2020. For many seafarers, the situation has become unbearable. Due to Covid-19 tens of thousands of crew members have been stuck aboard their ships, many for more than a year now. Although crew changes have been made possible in some countries, the implementation remains very complicated. Even access to general medical assistance in some ports is still very difficult. “Seafarers are key workers and therefore, they must be amongst the first groups for vaccination, once available”, says Aslak Ross, Head of Marine Standards at Maersk A/S and First Chairman of the Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. (CSSF).
Physical and mental health on board – not only related to the coronavirus – remains top priority for all CSSF members. It was one of the major topics during CSSF’s video members’ meeting in November 2020, when 38 participants from 23 member companies exchanged ideas and experiences how to mitigate the stress on board. An example for best practices in this respect is the implementation of independent mental health helplines for those in need, on board and for relatives ashore.
Industry position on addressing container ship cargo fires.
During the video meeting, members have adopted the CSSF position paper on addressing container ship cargo fires. It is now available for download on the CSSF homepage. Amongst others, the paper covers positions on risk mitigation, enhancement of fire-fighting capabilities, casualty response and development of new solutions.
The next biannual member meeting is planned for 19 and 20 May 2021. Any container ship management company interested in joining the meeting is invited to contact the CSSF secretariat.
Hamburg, 16 June 2020. “In order to comply with international safety and employment regulations, and also for humanitarian reasons - crew changes must take place now. They cannot be postponed indefinitely”, says Aslak Ross, First Chairman of the Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. (CSSF) and Head of Marine Standards at A.P. Moller - Maersk. The business network urgently appeals to governments and authorities worldwide to facilitate crew changes and safe repatriation of seafarers. A steadily increasing number of the 1.5 million seafarers on merchant ships have not been able to leave the vessels and exceeded their contract terms by far due to COVID-19 imposed restrictions. To ensure safe shipping operations and to comply with international safety and employment regulations all CSSF members fully support the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) appeal to governments of 8 June 2020 to facilitate marine personnel travel options by giving them “key worker” status. The CSSF encourages coastal states to engage in constructive dialogue with operators. “It is our common obligation to ensure our seafarer’s health and safety while maintaining effective global supply chains”, emphasizes Ross.
Besides solutions for crew changes, physical and mental health on board remains top priority to the CSSF members – not only related to the coronavirus. Aslak Ross draws attention to this problem: “Since the outbreak of the pandemic, most countries have closed their borders, limited port accesses and shore leaves. With great concern members have experienced rejections from authorities around the world to both basic professional medical assistance to seafarers even in severe cases as well as to repatriation due to their physical or mental condition.”
Hamburg, 15 January 2020. The Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. (CSSF) welcomes the first member in the new year: Shanghai Ocean Shipping Co., Ltd. joins the industry association with effect of 01 January 2020. The company currently manages 177 container vessels for COSCO Shipping Lines Co., Ltd. with a total of 1,550,000 TEU.
“Across companies we pursue a common goal: the highest possible safety standards on board and best management practices. We welcome the CSSF as a network where its members can exchange industry information and benchmark safety performance”, says Capt. Jinyu Liang, representative of Shanghai Ocean Shipping Co., Ltd. in the CSSF.
Aslak Ross, First Chairman of the CSSF and Head of HSE & Marine Standards at Maersk A/S: “We are very pleased to welcome Shanghai Ocean Shipping Co., Ltd. as a new member of the CSSF. Thanks to the Asian heavyweight, the CSSF now represents about 45 percent of the TEU capacity of the global container ship fleet.”
The next biannual CSSF member meeting takes place from 13 to 14 May 2020 in Rotterdam. Container ship managers that are not yet members are welcome to participate as observers.
Hamburg, 19 December 2019. The Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. (CSSF) focused on firefighting and safe access to cargo areas on container vessels at its meeting in Copenhagen from 19 to 20 November 2019. 30 representatives of 20 member companies, four observers from other shipping companies plus five guest speakers discussed how to build capacity for safety and shared their experiences to enable industry wide learning. The meeting took place at Danish Shipping, whose CEO & Director General Anne H. Steffensen held the welcome speech.
Firefighting: nozzle holders, fires on top of the stack and a training video
Several CSSF members have spent the last months on identifying improvement opportunities for firefighting on board their ships. One member used its recent learnings from a cargo fire to manufacture quick and easy to use fire nozzle holders and presented same to the forum following the idea: hands freed from boundary cooling can be used on board for other firefighting measures.
How do we effectively fight fires in containers at heights? Different equipment has been tested by several member companies, results were shared, and an innovative solution shown during an offsite demonstration. Another member presented an elaborately produced training video asking for comments and suggestions. The insightful final version will be made available to all CSSF members. There was consensus on the importance of onboard emergency preparedness training and drills.
Safe access to cargo area: cooperation with external partners is long-term goal
Depending on the vessel type, different risks exist when accessing the cargo area. Unsafe catwalks, lashing bridges, handrails, and ladders but also inappropriate PPE and unsafe operations repeatedly cause personal accidents that also involve external parties. CSSF members aim to continuously improve these areas and to engage with other industry bodies on the subject – e.g. terminal operators or organizations representing them in safety questions.
The forum welcomes Synergy Group (India) as its 25th member. The members represent about 40 percent of the TEU capacity of the global container ship fleet. Thanks to the growing number of members, the annual membership fee is reduced from 4.000 to 3.500 USD. Companies managing less than 10.000 TEU benefit from a reduced fee of 500 USD but including unrestricted member rights and obligations. The next biannual meeting takes place from 13 to 14 May 2020 in Rotterdam.
Hamburg, 26 September 2019. The Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. (CSSF), a global business-to-business network and industry association aiming to improve safety performance and management practices in the container shipping industry, today published its first Guide to Safe Container Ship Operations. The document is available for download here.
“The drive for safety is a continuous mission. We intend to support container ship managers develop their own procedures in line with their individual company cultures and management systems. This guide is not an inspection or audit list, nor is it all-encompassing, but a living document that is to be updated regularly to reflect changing standards, requirements and expectations”, says Aslak Ross, Head of HSE & Marine Standards at Maersk Line A/S who is at the helm of the CSSF Management Board.
The guide is clearly structured into eight chapters. On 54 comprehensibly written pages, the document covers safety-relevant aspects such as navigation & bridge management, mooring, anchoring and towing operations, cargo operations, emergency preparedness and maintenance and reliability. Safety Management Systems and the role of senior managers – whether shipboard or shore-based – also play an important role.
Ross emphasizes that the document focuses on personal and operational safety. It does not include environmental or crew welfare issues nor any security aspects. The aim is to provide industry participants with valuable suggestions on how they can implement safety processes.
The 24 CSSF members now represent about 40 percent of the TEU capacity of the global container ship fleet. Container ship management companies that are not yet members are invited to join the forum as observers at the next meeting in Copenhagen on 19 and 20 November.
Hamburg, 15 August 2019. The Container Ship Safety Forum e.V. (CSSF) welcomes five new members: Asiatic Lloyd & Atlantic Lloyd, Arkas Shipping & Transport, Lomar Shipping, V-Ships and Reederei Nord joined the business-to-business network in 2019 so far. Its 24 members now represent about 40 per cent of the TEU capacity of the global container ship fleet. The network has recently been officially incorporated as a registered association in Hamburg.
Based on real life cases and the concern for the carriage of International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) and the declaration and packing of same by shippers, the members intensely discussed firefighting on containerships during the last member meeting in Singapore in May 2019. Different CSSF member companies are presently testing new firefighting equipment and will share their experience with the forum in Copenhagen, where the next CSSF meeting will take place on 19 and 20. November 2019.
At the May meeting, the members also adopted the CSSF Performance Report of 2018. Good news: The CSSF’s Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF, as per OCIMF definitions) improved to 1.00 compared to 1.16 in 2017. CSSF performance is measured using key performance indicators (KPIs) related to health, safety, environmental protection, and navigational safety. The performance report also includes data for the members’ performance during Port State Control (PSC) Inspections. The average number of CSSF member vessels’ deficiencies per PSC Inspection increased to 0.99 in 2018 (0.83 in 2017).
The opening address of the member meeting was kindly given by Ms. Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore. Valuable insights about behavioural based safety on board were presented by Green-Jakobsen A/S.