Neil Baird (Chair, World Ocean Council) and Edwin Pang, (Chair, IMO Committee of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects) presented the FerrySafe Project at the 44th Interferry Annual Conference in London, October 7th.
The team includes Dr. Baird, Mr. Johan Roos, Director of Regulatory Affairs at Interferry; Architect Pang, DNV GL Safety Committee; and Mr. Nelson Dela Cruz, resident Filipino researcher and maritime journalist.
FerrySafe is initiated by Interferry, international trade association of the ferry industry, funded by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation to protect life and property at sea by supporting engineering-related education, public engagement and application of research.
It aims to reduce fatal ferry casualties on domestic crossings in developing countries. From 1966 to 2015, some 93% fatalities were on domestic routes (58,800 versus 4,500 fatalities).
With ferry safety reforms instituted in Europe, North America, China and Japan, domestic fatalities would have been reduced; but, 98% of the 58,800 fatalities have occurred in developing countries.
The good news from the Baird Maritime Passenger Vessel Accident database, it that the Philippines has reduced ferry fatalities more so than in any other country, going from the worst,
(between 1966 to 2015) to much safer for ferry travel. The project will ascertain the reasons for this noticeable upturn.
Reports of fact-finding missions (March 17 – 23 and May 22 – 29, 2019) are based on
(a) interviews of more than 50 ferry owners, masters, marine surveyors, builders, crews, port authorities, designers, media, insurers, unionists, regulators, ship spotters, classification societies, tourist operators; (b) Shipyard visits and (c) Ferry trips.
Key improvements are reflected from:
- Exercise of the Government’s political will
- Insurers have become more involved
- Coast Guard ‘No Sail’ policy
- Rigorous enforcement of loading, lashing and stowage
- Encouraging fleet renewal
The growth of Fast Cat and Archipelago10 was widely admired as demonstrating what should be done to improve safety. Its “Ferry Safe – Ferry Fast – Ferry Convenient” motto was generally seen as worth emulating, as its vessels, crewing standards, training methods, safety equipment, and briefings, routeing, marketing and general operations.
Archipelago is encouraged in part and indirectly supported by both tax incentive schemes and the development of the “Nautical Highway.” But it has struggled to successfully develop its business model in this conservative industry against low cost competition.
It also seems the Government has not been fully committed to supporting change. More efforts to provide access to funding new ferries would encourage more newbuilding projects.
(To illustrate, Archipelago’s owners, Mr and Mrs Pastrana, are active officers of Interferry. This is not a conflict of interests. Rather, a testament to the Pastrana’s role in engaging in the ferry community, in-country and international.)
Pending policy and decisions are:
- Phasing out of substandard vessels
- Banning imports of RoPax ferries > 20 years old
- Second-hand RoPax imports must be IACS classed
- Tax-free imports of safe, new IACS compliant vessels
- Promotion of the ‘Nautical Highway’
The project sees these as major issues:
- Passage planning
- Improved weather forecasting
- Traffic Separation Schemes
- Lifejackets, liferafts and Carley floats now compulsory
- Widespread implementation of two-way AIS
- Widespread implementation of radar reflectors
- Changing to a better equipped guard
- Expansion and improvement of PCG personnel
- Greater adoption of IMO codes
- Elimination of fare price controls
- MARINA franchise issuance based on public interest
- Bow ramps now banned on new build RoRo and RoPax vessels
- No Smoking rule is generally effective
- Crew alcohol ban is now enforced
- Maritime League is very constructive
- Competition from high quality aviation
- Growth of international tourism