December 17, 2013 – Gilles Longuève, President of the Maritime Passive Safety association, introduced the salvage-friendly ship concept at the recent CSR in Shipping & Offshore conference. Below is his interview with Capital Link’s CSR team:
CLCSR: As a supplier, what do you witness as the latest trends in terms of CSR in shipping?
Longuève: After being mostly driven by regulation, key industry players are now stepping up and start implementing voluntary programs to improve their social and environmental performance. CSR is now acknowledged by the whole shipping industry as one of the best ways for a company to stand out among competitors. It has definitely become a competitive asset, a business-oriented initiative.
After tackling carbon emissions and ballast waters, the industry is turning to new challenges. Oil spill prevention is the next “big thing” for CSR in the shipping industry. The maritime world used to be very sensitive when talking about accident but this is changing. Most of the players now acknowledge that the accident is the climax moment when a company will have to show responsibility.
In the meantime, the suppliers I represent have come up with innovative and efficient on-board solutions, which aim to make the ships ready for salvage
operations in case an accident occurred. Leading shipyards, class societies and ship-owners have already integrated passive safety equipments as a best practice and a label of excellence and performance.
CLCSR: The recent RENA and COSTA CONCORDIA accidents have put salvage at the top of the maritime agenda, what impact they had on the industry?
Longuève: These two accidents have had a huge impact on the industry and beyond. We will all remind these powerful images of the vessels lying in the sea, the RENA on a most sensitive coral reef and the COSTA CONCORDIA as close as it could be of a spectacular touristic spot in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. The salvors had never before been under such scrutiny. The media reported live 24/7 all around the globe.
The growing media pressure is one of the reasons why more and more ship- owners and charterers consider getting equipped with passive safety solutions. When an accident occurs, they need to show their commitment to contain the crisis. In this regard, having his ships equipped is strong evidence that your company is a liable partner.
Following the P&I Clubs’ large casualty experts, I would also mention that the local shore-authorities have in both cases requested for the bunker tanks to be emptied as a priority. Evacuating the threat of pollution is now a must to do, and if the ships are not properly equipped, the cost of this operation can be quite high.
CLCSR: What could be done by ship-owners to reduce the environmental and financial risk?
Longuève: Most of the players now acknowledge that the accident scenario is the climax moment where they will need to show responsibility. Pioneers among them are already making their ships “salvage-friendly” thanks to passive safety equipments such as FOR systems, leak preventers and magnetic patches.
These solutions offer to save time during mobilization of resources and accelerate the removal of oil by the salvors. Less pollutant in the sea means drastic money saving and, of course, ecological prevention.
If one equips the ships so that they bring some element of self-help, the benefits go to all the stakeholders: local-shore and international authorities, salvors, ship-owners and charterers.
CLCSR: Why do you believe the accident scenario shall ultimately be included in CSR policies?
Longuève: A complete CSR policy has to include the one scenario when the company will be the most at risk. This is especially important as the debate is growing on the notion of ecological prejudice and the risk to see the liability of ship and cargo owners extended.
Maritime Passive Safety solutions bring strong environmental, economic and social benefits to the whole range of stakeholders. They are growing as an essential part of the industry.