Gearbulk has a dedicated focus on improving the safety of our seafarers, our vessels and shore contractors. The most objective measure of the safety on board our vessels is Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF). This is a measure of the number of hours a seafarer is unable to work following an accident and is calculated per million working hours.
The software used for reporting is now fully implemented, and an increased number of reports and quality of reports was seen during 2019. The focus is now on the quality of reporting, and to improve this, Incident Reporting and Risk Management are subjects of Ship Management courses held by the Company.
Gearbulk measures injuries as per Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) injury guidelines and has a Zero Accident vision. Gearbulk believes that all injuries are preventable.
Gearbulk continues to stress on reporting all near misses as the improved accuracy of data gives the Company better analytics for continuous improvement of all safety aspects in the fleet.
Management actively promotes these reports as they are considered a leading indicator on detecting areas for improvement and actions, thus enabling the Company to identify possible safety focus areas on board, avoid injuries, property and environmental damage and increase performance during internal and external audits, including PSC performance.
The 18 fatalities in 2015 are the total loss of Bulk Jupiter
Gearbulk noted an increase in the LTIF and TRCF for 2019, which is attributed to a reduction of vessels in the fleet and an increase in injuries. Gearbulk has implemented a reflective learning programme, leadership training, ship management courses and risk-based approach training to mitigate the negative trend in safety performance during 2019.
Port State Control (PSC)
PSC is the inspection of vessels while in port to verify that the condition of the vessel and its equipment comply with international regulations and that it is manned and operated in compliance with these regulations. The results of these inspections provide a reasonable external verification of the standards of operation onboard the vessels. In 2019 the Gearbulk managed fleet had a total of 121 inspections with an average of 0.70 deficiencies per vessel per inspection. 73% of the inspections were recorded with NIL deficiencies. The weekly safety area inspection carried out by crew onboard continues to contribute to maintaining a safe working environment, and sea and shore staff sharing experience is a key contributing factor for Gearbulk to further improve our safety and PSC performance.
Rightship is an independent vetting company which was formed to monitor safety, quality and environmental awareness in the dry bulk fleet sector. It assesses the risk of all vessels over 500 tons using multiple information sources and historical data, resulting in a score that assigns a ‘star’ rating from 1 to 5. During 2019, 18 vessels were inspected by Rightship, and findings and recommendations were processed in same manner as a PSC inspection. The average rating for the Gearbulk managed fleet was 4.61 by end of year. Gearbulk’s target is to maintain a minimum rating of 3 or above for each vessel.
Managing threats from piracy
The threat of Piracy in the Gulf of Aden & Indian Ocean remained at a low level in 2019 and only the occasional suspicious craft was reported. The geopolitical tensions with Iran escalated and several incidents in the Arabian Gulf/Hormuz were attributed to this. Gearbulk had limited activity in the area in 2019, and all transits were incident free, maintaining the same alertness and vigilance for each voyage. The civil war in Yemen is ongoing and developments are continuously monitored.
In South East Asia, primarily in Malacca straits and Indonesian waters, the risk of Piracy has maintained a status quo, where risks are mostly present at anchorages. Escalations of violent piracy and kidnapping for ransom in Gulf of Guinea is a concern, and potential voyages are assessed on a case by case basis.
For each voyage scheduled in the various areas with potential threats, Gearbulk carries out a Risk Assessment based on the current situation in those areas, recommendations from DNK (war insurance), MARISK and other security providers. An anti-piracy kit is issued to the respective vessels undertaking voyages in High Risk areas.