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CESMA News, June 2012 PDF Drukāt E-pasts
Piektdiena, 01 jūnijs 2012 00:00

THE EUROPEAN UNION SHIPMASTER INFORMATION CHRONICLE

CONFEDERATION OF EUROPEAN SHIPMASTERS’ASSOCIATIONS
Opinions expressed in articles are those of the sources and/or authors only
CAPTAIN WOLF VON PRESSENTIN RE-ELECTED AS CESMA PRESIDENT
 
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During the 17th Annual General Assembly in Rostock, Germany, on 11th May, Captain Wolf von Pressentin was re-elected CESMA President for another term of three years. Due to statutory stipulations and personal reasons, this period will be his last. Captain Von Pressentin was elected unanimously by those Council Members present at the 17th CESMA Councilmeeting at the historical site of the Hausbaumhaus in Rostock, seat of the Rostock Shipmasters Association VKS, a member of the national
German Shipmasters’ Association (VDKS) with its base in Hamburg. Important during the Council meeting, of which the presence is restricted to Council members only, was the decision for CESMA to look for (associated) membership of shipmasters’ associations which exists in other European nations outside the European Union under the condition that these nations belong to the geographical territory of Europe. In this CESMA follows the example of other similar European associations such as EMPA (European Maritime Pilot’s Association) and EMHC (European Harbourmasters’ Committee). Experience from these organisations learn that membership of non-EU European associations offer very interesting and productive co-operation adding experience and knowledge to European shipmasters in general. It must be stressed that eventual new membership from shipmasters’ associations from non-EU countries is limited to associate membership which follows the principles of the Statutes of CESMA.

 

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Prof.Capt.C.Wand
During the second day, in the Technology Centre in Warnemuende, CESMA was welcomed in Rostock by Mrs Karina Jens, President of the Citizenship of Rostock. Next Prof. Capt. C. Wand, as President of VDKS and host, also said words of welcome to CESMA, after which he presented a lecture on Maritime Education and Training in Germany. Important is the on board training for a period of 2 semesters during a period of 8 semesters, in which the higher education certification can be obtained. He was the first speaker in a seminar, preceding the Annual General Assembly, dedicated to maritime education and training. Next Captain Hubert Ardillon, President of AFCAN, France, talked about Simulators versus Practice or Experience at Sea. He mentioned some
advantages and disadvantages of simulator training. Notwithstanding its advantages in training, simulator technique can never replace the on board practice. Trainees should always remember that a simulator session is not playing a video game. Prof.
Dr. Ing Michael Rachow of the Hochschule Wismar elaborated on the implementation of the Manila Amendments on the STCW Convention in Germany. He gave an overview of the new requirements for certification, refresher courses, new functions, such as the electro-technical officer. Also requirements for new developments such as polar navigation, dynamic positioning, ECDIS, training on tankers and LNG carriers and environment techniques were highlighted. For shipmasters the training with regard to leadership and Bridge Resource Management (BRM) are very important. Implementation in the German legislation is expected to be completed by 1rst July 2013. As last speaker Captain Dimitar Dimitrov, President of the Bulgarian Shipmasters’ Association, presented a paper on “Theory or practice, which is more valuable at sea?”. He spoke about the situation in Bulgaria where until 2000, 78 months of seagoing practice was required to become master. Nowadays this period is restricted to half that time. Consequently recently appointed Bulgarian masters have much less practical experience. Captain Dimitrov also stated that younger officers do not receive enough training on electronic navigation equipment such as ECDIS. He agreed with Captain Ardillon that for them, this equipment is more a game than a valuable aid to navigation.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the CESMA General Assembly during which the actual activities of CESMA in the maritime field were discussed. The Resolutions of the previous year 2011 were evaluated. The resolutions are used as a working programme for CESMA in the running year. Criminalisation of seafarers, shipmasters in particular was the first point of discussion. Some examples of this ongoing problem were a.o. highlighted by Captain Dimitrov of BSMA. A Bulgarian shipmaster is still hold captive in Panama under very difficult circumstances without trial, after being totally abandoned by his owner/crewing agence because they are convinced of his guilt. Captain Willi Wittig, representing IFSMA as a guest, reminded the Assembly of the Master Mariner Protect Insurance initiated by IFSMA, which could protect master mariners against the consequences of criminalisation. The cost amounts to ca. 530 BP yearly.


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Capt. Sobadzhiev
Captain Leo Geenevasen (NVKK) presented a paper on a case in which drugs were found on board his vessel in a German port. By co-operating with the authorities and being able to present that all necessary measures had been taken to avoid drugs being smuggled on board, none of the crewmembers were arrested and the vessel could leave the port with only two hours delay. Recommendations to avoid arrest and consequent criminalisation were:
· Enter all events and activities in the ship’s logbook.
· Do not hide any facts and/or information.
· Co-operate fully with relevant authorities.
On the important issue of combating piracy, the Assembly again discussed the presence of armed security guard teams on board. During the previous Assembly in 2011, no consensus could be reached. During present discussions, a majority of the Assembly did not oppose armed guard teams on board anymore, taking new developments into consideration. However concern was expressed about the liability of the master in the event that violence has to be used to fight off potential pirates. Some delegates demanded armed guard teams to be properly screened and certificated by the flagstate or an official recognized organisation.
The Assembly noted again that little or no progress was made in relation with the fatigue problem, notwithstanding the recommendations made by the European Project Horizon in which CESMA was represented as an observer. An ongoing concern is the six on / six off watch system on many smaller coastal vessels with busy schedules. Project Horizon investigated the impact of fatigue on the performance and decision making ability and the consequent handling of emergency situations by watchkeeping officers. The Assembly reconfirms its support for the principle requiring at least three certified watchkeepers on each seagoing vessel of over 500 GT.
On the accident with the “Costa Concordia”, CESMA has already expressed its opinion in the CESMA NEWS of March 2012. Although it appears that serious errors in judgement and navigation and the consequent handling of the emergency situation have been made, the Assembly agrees to refrain from any speculation or accusations as made by the media and await the outcome of the official investigation by the Italian maritime authority and the consequent judicial process. The issue on the safety and security of passenger and cruise vessels will remain an issue of concern for CESMA.
The General Secretary informed the Assembly about the recently initiated European Nautical Platform. The Platform is a cooperation between European organisations of shipmasters, pilots, harbour masters, tug operators and boatmen. These nautical experts combine forces to address nautical safety and performance in the area from pilotstation to berth in which according to statistics, most shipping incidents and accidents are happening.
The Platform intends to improve the cooperation and understanding between all nautical parties in European ports with the aim of safe and efficient operations. It does so by sharing nautical topics, best practice and exchanging expertise on nautical operations and eventual incidents or accidents. It will eventually agree on common European standards for safe marine operations in port waters and approaches and present these to the European Commission. One of the activities of the platform is
the initiation of a website showing the activities of the European Nautical Platform: www.nauticalplatform.org.
Other items discussed during the Assembly concerned the increasing number of stowaways on ships in European waters. The European Commission has been asked to pay attention to this problem and facilitate the disembarkation of stowaways and refugees in ports of European Union Member States.
Although owners reassure that there is no shortage of EU seafarers and that a surplus could be expected in the immediate future, delegates mention that many European shipowners do not employ European seafarers anymore, mainly because of economic reasons. They are replaced by cheaper counterparts. Unemployment in some EU nations is a possible outlook for those who choose for a maritime career.
THE Annual General Assembly was concluded with the invitation made by Captains H. Ardillon (AFCAN) and A. Ribes (ACOMM) to organise the 18th CESMA Annual General Assembly in 2013 in Nantes, France. The invitation was accepted and appreciated with applause.
 
For more CESMA News click on link: CESMA Newsletter June 2012