Promoting Safety, Alternative Energies for Marine Industries

By MarEx 2014-06-03 12:18:00

By Dione Lee 

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) held their Annual Spring Summit at Texas A&M Maritime Academy - Galveston on May 13-14. 2014. This event brought maritime leaders from around the country to promote safety and alternative energy strategies for the marine and offshore industries.

The Summit kicked-off with the Key Note Address “Maritime Safety and Alternative Energies for Ship Operations” delivered by Mr. John McDonald – Regional Vice President Central Region, ABS Americas. Mr. McDonald stated there has been an “unprecedented amount of operational and regulatory change over the last two years in the marine industry”. In order to effectively meet these challenging times, he encouraged striking a balance between commercial return and safety of personnel and the environment. With regards to alternative energies, ABS anticipates wide acceptance of LNG as a fuel within the United States, but recognizes the need to develop the support infrastructure to get fuel gas to the ports. “We are very close to seeing our first bunker barges.” said Mr. McDonald, and suppliers are looking at reconfiguring existing ship supply facilities into barge supply facilities. 

Below are summaries of the four panels presented during the 2-day SOCP Spring Summit:

Safety in the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry - Operational Issues and Proposed Solutions panel was moderated by Ms. Susan Dwarnick, Branch Chief, Offshore Safety Improvement, Bureau Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), who shared information on how to protect voluntary reporting of near miss data in the maritime industry under CIPSEA (Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency). Dr. Brenda Kelly with IADC reported that 45% of injuries they track occur within the first year, mostly attributing to lack of knowledge, skill and risk awareness. Mr. James Scalli, Shell Oil Corporation introduced the audience to “Chronic Unease” as the cornerstone for achieving zero incidents and rounding out the panel, Mr. James Darnell, Noble Drilling provided 5 major categories to process safety: (1) process safety information; (2) operating procedures; (3) management of change; (4) mechanical integrity; and (5) management system/performance audits, frequency being key. 

Ship Propulsion Alternative Energy/LNG Technologies panel, moderated by Captain John Nadeau, Commanding Officer of USCG Marine Safety Center, provided a platform for panelists to present case studies on alternative energy vessels, including information on LNG vessel development, operations, infrastructure, regulations and safety considerations.

Safety Issues and Proposed Solutions panel, moderated by Captain Brian Penoyer, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston, provided an open platform for the panelists, including two active mariners, to share their thoughts on how mariners are losing the ability to think on their own, as a result of increased automated controls, overreaching administrative oversight and reporting requirements. 

Future Gulf Coast Mariner Education and Work Force Development - We're all in this Together panel was moderated by Colonel Richard Mallahan, Deputy Superintendent and Chief of Staff Texas A&M Maritime Academy. Colonel Mallahan and the panelists presented solutions on ensuring the next generation of qualified and competent mariners, including developing clear career pathways early and incorporating LNG awareness under the “STEM” system for scholastic approval.

The 2014 SOCP Fall Meeting will be hosted by MITAGS-PMI, Linthicum Heights, MD on October 29-30 focusing on STCW, the Polar Code, and the MARAD Maritime National Strategy.

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