Well, here we are again at the end of another year and what a year it’s been! Not only for the maritime industry but all industries worldwide.

Tourism has suffered incredibly due to border restrictions which has flowed through to so many service providers. Although there has been a huge downside to the pandemic there has also been many upsides as well.

Vessel owners have been able to complete outstanding maintenance and a number have undertaken refits and improvements to their vessels and operations. We’ve also seen a lot of operators bringing their SMS manuals into line with MO504 and the NSCV which is a good thing for safety.

Here at Shorlink we’ve been focused on expanding our onboard training services which is an initiative we started years ago.

Owners and operators are starting to realise the benefits of having an external provider undertake “vessel specific” crew inductions and emergency response training.

We have been receiving great feedback on our training services including many participants saying they get more from our onboard training then they get from other sources!

To ensure we continue to meet the demand and deliver the best possible training services we’ve taken on a new trainer, Lindsay Hutton.  Lindsay has a wealth of maritime experience and is fully trained in our systems and delivery methods and is now a valuable asset to the company.

As the Managing Director, I have been focused on expanding the company to cover not only commercial operators but also the recreational sector.

Although its been my focus I have to give full credit to our wonderful administration officer, Tracey McManus who has not only taken a huge load of my shoulders but been instrumental in developing the marketing which has helped Shorlink grow in all facets.

I can openly say that Tracey is an administration wonder and marketing guru! Since she joined us just over a year ago she had to learn a new industry and all of the systems Shorlink has in place and Tracey has adapted so well and is an integral part of the Shorlink team.

Our overall business focus has been on our service offering including our managed services which have received a great industry response.

We can email out a pack which includes all of the services we provide. Contact our office today to get yours!

With the boarders opening I’ve travelled near and far to complete SMS handovers, action our management requirements and along with Lindsay deliver onboard training. It’s been exciting to get back into it after all the lockdowns and boarder closures.

What does 2022 look like for Shorlink and the maritime industry in general?

For Shorlink we’re moving into an exciting time of business growth by expanding not only our management and training services but also our Occupational Health and Safety systems for maritime based businesses.

I believe it’s also going to be a good year for the maritime industry with borders reopening and tourism starting to get moving again. In talking with a number of our clients they are excited with the growing numbers of bookings and the potential of getting back to full-on business.

It’s also good news for the commercial fishing industry with restaurants reopening and seating getting back to normal the demand for fresh seafood is on the rise which is great news for the industry in general.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My recommendation is to put the past 2 years behind you, look forward to 2022 and get going!

While things are getting back to the new normal, I further recommend taking a close look at your business and/or operations to see where and how you can better adapt to the ongoing business climate.

While there’s been a lot of heartache for many there is a lot of opportunities for those who are prepared to adapt so…go forward and prosper!


Tip

My top tip is to ensure your safety management systems comply with the relevant standards and are up to date to ensure you’re protected as both AMSA and WorkSafe are going to be very active in the new year.

As always, feel free to pick up the phone or drop us an email – if you want to check in, making sure you are AMSA compliant and how you can adapt and grow your business/operations too!

Among the many question we get another common one is “what is a DP?”

DP stands for Designated Person which used to be called Designated Person Ashore (DPA) but for DCV’s a DP can be the owner operator and may be onboard when at sea.

Section 4 of Marine Order 504 specifies:

“The owner of a vessel must designate a person to be responsible for monitoring the safety of the vessel, the environment and all persons on or near the vessel and ensuring appropriate resources and shore support are provided to the vessel.”

What’s required to be a DP?

Ideally a DP will have a solid working knowledge of the vessel, its operations and crew requirements so as to be able to provide appropriate assistance and/or advice to the crew in the event of an emergency situation.

While this is the ideal situation it’s not always possible for owner operators as they are usually the ones that have all the knowledge about their vessel and operations. In these situations its quite often the wife or partner who is listed as the DP.

Larger organisations and multi-vessel operators usually have someone who is up to speed with the organisations vessels and operations and is listed as the DP. These people usually have the knowledge and resources to deal with emergency situation efficiently.

No matter whether you’re a single vessel operator or operate multiple vessels your DP must have the owners authority and resources to act in emergency situations involving the safety of the vessel, all persons onboard, infra structure and the environment.

And the good part is to ensure your DP is available at all times when your vessel is operating which for many operators this means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! If you’re a DP you must answer all calls from the vessels when they are operational, the safety of the vessel and/or persons onboard may depend on it!


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Ensure your DP has the appropriate authority to act in the event of an emergency situation as well as the resources that may be needed.

Have a list of emergency contact numbers ready including emergency services (Police, Ambulance and Fire) 000 and any other numbers that can assist in specific situations; e.g., mechanics, volunteer marine rescue organisations, etc.


Tip

Our best tip is to have an alternative DP listed in your SMS in the event the primary DP is unavailable for any reason whatsoever.

If you and your partner take holidays together and you’re listed as primary and alternative DP’s then you may have an issue with who deals with an emergency situation if both parties are absent.

A safety alert was issued after an incident in which a pressurised fire extinguisher was ruptured and travelled through the air for 300 metres!

Although this happened on a demolition site it could easily happen when undertaking refits or repairs onboard your vessel or workplace.

A machinery operator was using a hydraulic shear attachment to cut fire suppression pipes into sections by pulling lengths from the pile, cutting them and placing the cut sections to one side.

The operator did not see the pressurised fire extinguisher and cut it in half. The bottom section of the extinguisher travelled through the air and crashed through the roof of a warehouse approximately 300 metres away.

It landed in a laydown areas that was not being used at the time and no-one was hurt, thankfully!

While this may sound a bit amusing the reality is that someone could have been seriously injured or even died as a result.

This not only applies to fire extinguishers, but it also applies to all pressurised vessels. All pressurised vessels should be treated with care as they all present potential dangers. Below is a burst air compressor tank and a propane tank which exploded.

Both of these could have resulted in major injuries not to mention loss of lives.

When undertaking a re-fit workers are often subject to tight timeframes and can easily overlook a fire extinguisher or other pressurised vessel on the other side of a bulkhead they are cutting or drilling through. The same goes for factories and other workplaces.

Remember, it’s not just cutting a pressurised vessel that can rupture them they can be ruptured by drilling, items falling on them or any number of other causes.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

Top of the list for recommendations is to take the time to ensure there are no pressurised vessels that may be impacted by the work you’re undertaking.

Check on the other side of bulkheads and decks to make sure all is clear, not only of pressurised vessels but other potential hazards. Here’s a quick check list:

  1. Ensure there is a system in place to ensure no pressurised vessels are in areas where they may be ruptured
  2. Where they are present, remove them to a safer location out of the way
  3. Ensure all workers are trained to recognise pressurised vessels and the requirements to move them out of the way
  4. Ensure workers are aware of the consequences if pressurised vessels are ruptured
  5. Ensure all other potential hazards are identified and dealt with

Tip

You don’t want to be responsible for injuries to yourself or others. Worse still you don’t need to be the cause of lives being lost, one of which could be yours!

My best tip is to make sure no pressurised vessels or other potential hazards are removed prior to starting work.

Anyone whose been at sea knows that everyday is perfect, right. The reality is that we all have to face adverse weather conditions at times no matter if you operate in open waters, bays or rivers.

It’s not just those at sea that have to deal with adverse weather, shore-based workers have to deal with it in many cases.

Adverse weather is the result of “high or strong gusting winds” which are often associated with very low-pressure systems, thunderstorms, squalls, willy-willies, mini cyclones and cyclones.

At sea all of the above affect the ocean which in turn impacts on the vessel, all persons onboard and the operations.

Working on deck in these conditions can be and is dangerous and requires crew to take extra care during these times. The more sever the conditions the more care you need to exercise.

Working on commercial fishing vessels you must be on high alert when hauling trawl nets, retrieving loneliness or traps and when hand-lining. You need to remain vigilant of your surroundings and those on deck with you.

On vessels that carry passengers such as recreational fishing operators, dive charters, ferries and vehicle transport barges your primary concern is about passenger safety. This in itself can be challenging due to seasickness and passenger movement around the vessel.

Dumb barges offer a whole range of other challenges as they are either on anchor or being towed which brings tugs into the picture and adds a range of other potential dangers.

While we all try to avoid cyclones, the fact is that there are times when you simply can’t which places you, the vessel and all those onboard in a highly dangerous situation.

If you find yourself in this situation it’s critical that you know what to do, are prepared and have appropriate procedures in place. And it’s not just at sea where we need to worry, what about shore-based operations. Storm surge is a major problem for all.

No matter what level of adverse weather you find yourself in you need to be prepared and well equipped to deal with it not only for your safety but for all those onboard and the vessel.

WorkSafe issued a safety warning which urged employers (this also applies to vessel Masters) to ensure their worksites (this also includes vessels) are secured when potentially damaging winds are approaching.

Loose objects need to be removed from exposed areas or suitably secured to prevent them becoming projectiles. Here’s a quick check list.

•Monitor weather conditions continuously

•Check forecasts regularly

•Ensure loose items are secured appropriately

•Cease crane operations when the wind speed exceeds the manufacturer’s specified limit

•Do not operate hoisting equipment (personnel or equipment) in high or gusty winds, refer to manufacturer’s guidelines

•Ensure tools and other equipment are stowed appropriately

•Wear eye protection to prevent foreign particles blowing into the eyes

•Wear hard hats where falling objects are a hazard and ensure the chin strap is worn

Shorlink’s Recommendation

It is highly recommended that you have an appropriate procedure for adverse weather in your Safety Management System based on your operations. If you work in areas that are subject to cyclones a procedure for cyclone should also be in place.

Without these procedures in place you put yourself at risk in the event of an incident during adverse weather conditions, especially cyclones so make sure you have them in place.

Tip

Make sure everything is secured appropriately giving consideration to your operations and the prevailing and predicated weather.

The one area that we stress in in the galley because there’s usually a lot of “unsecured” items which can easily turn into projectiles and cause serious injury.

The other area for passenger vessels is the cafeteria if there’s one due to the reasons above but with added for potential injuries to passengers