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Safety First Isn’t Just a Slogan, It’s Essential for Shipping

When it comes to addressing risk and threats in the maritime business, RightShip is a leading option for most ship owners. The company recently announced the launch of its new Safety Score, a powerful tool to usher the shipping industry in the new era of dealing with a multitude of threats. Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide (www.hellenicshippingnews.com), interviewed Mr. Martin Crawford-Brunt, CEO, RightShip, on the new characteristics of its new product offering, the evolution of safety in shipping and how best to deal with the new emerging threats.

Recently, RightShip announced the launch of the upcoming new Safety Score. Can you offer us some details on the changes that this will bring to the market?

Our new Safety Score comes as RightShip responds to industry feedback that called for a clearer understanding on how to improve safety standards across the industry including methods of assessing vessels. We have spent the last two years working in collaboration with stakeholders from across the shipping industry to create a metric that is transparent and only includes factors which are in the control of the operator. In turn, we know that this will support improved safety across the entire maritime sector.

The Score uses a refined methodology that analyses the severity of any previous incidents, the frequency of incidents and any previously identified detentions and deficiencies for a given vessel. It also takes into account the proactivity of owners, operators and managers in managing safety and risk, by looking at their responsiveness to incidents, deficiencies or detentions. This in turn helps to provide a collaborative industry, where those investing in best practise can be rewarded.

We believe that this creates a level playing field for all vessels on the water, and the model looks at the operational performance of the vessel regardless of type, size, age or builder, allowing industry participants to benchmark their safety procedures against the sector’s best performers.

Importantly, our Score is intended to help users gain an initial perspective on the operational performance of a potential charter, and to encourage shipowners to invest in improved processes and technologies that make the entire supply chain safer.

Why did you proceed with the replacement of the existing platform Qi at this point in time?

It is hugely important that, as a sector, we always remain committed to innovation and driving continuous improvement in safety standards.

The coronavirus pandemic is placing unprecedented stress on the regulatory and compliance structures that underpin safe operations. We should also recognise that these structures are crucial to a successful commercial voyage, which starts and ends with complete safety.

We believe that the new model will help provide individual companies with an easier way to see how to make improvements to the operational performance of their fleet or their overall safety profile. By moving from a predictive risk model to a historical looking model focused on historical performance, people are able to focus on the areas they need to maintain. This is especially important to reward those who maintain these compliance structures and who ensure they are proactively going above compliance throughout these stresses.

That is why we have announced the new Score now. We do understand that any change requires time which is why we’re giving the industry a three-month familiarisation period. We are also providing considerable resources, seminars and content on our comingsoon.rightship.com portal to help with this process.

Finally, users will be able to get hands-on access to the new Platform and Safety Score from the 30th of June, allowing them to understand how the new RightShip Platform operates. We believe that focusing on supporting our customers will ease the transition process up to September 2020 when the new Score and Platform formally ‘go live’.

Can you describe some of the New Safety Score’s main characteristics?

The key characteristic about our new Safety Score is that all the metrics are explainable, transparent and only includes factors which are in the control of the operator, to help support improved safety across the entire maritime sector.

In simple terms, we have created a balanced score which can be used by all members of the supply chain. For our due diligence customers, it provides a clearer insight to the operational performance of a vessel and DOC holder.

We believe that the Safety Score will be one indicator used as one of many factors in the due diligence process. Coupled with market knowledge it will allow for the assessment of a nominated vessel and the provision of a vetting recommendation for a charterer. The Risk Rating tried to include too many parts of the due diligence process into one score. By allowing our due diligence customers to see each of the six sub scores which makes up the Safety Score, people can focus on the areas which suit their risk profile.

For the shipowning community, the new Safety Score takes into account management performance and approach, giving owners a true understanding into how they can improve safety across multiple parameters. It also encourages shipowners to invest in system improvement, processes and technologies that make the entire supply chain safer.

In short, the Score has a use for everyone. But it is important to note that it sits hand in hand with the RightShip platform, which we have designed to give a simple overview of all the measures an owner or operator is doing above the ‘compliance baseline’. This includes showing if a shipowner has a valid RightShip dry bulk inspection, if their GHG Rating is verified, or if they have added any additional energy saving equipment to their vessel.

How much safer are today’s ships compared to those dating back 10-15 years?

Generally, we see that the maritime industry is safer compared to a decade ago. However, there is always work to do if we are to achieve our vision of a zero incidents, zero emissions shipping industry.

This means we can’t rest on our laurels. Factors such as digitalisation give us new and quicker ways to interpret and use data that can impact safety, but we must balance this with a human touch and try to eliminate the ‘air gap’ that exists between ship and shore.

In my previous experience as a surveyor I saw some of these safety issues first hand. There is nothing more gratifying than to help crew or owners solve a safety issue. This is the mantra that we want to have at the forefront of our minds as we work to make shipping even safer.

As ships are bound to become more and more technologically complex and the dangers of cybercrimes multiply, how has RightShip adjusted its offerings in the market to cater to these challenges?

RightShip is has spent the last two years speaking with the market and thinking ahead for what the challenges are coming down the line. A key facet of supporting the industry to improve safety is making sure that our offering is aligned with the threats crew and vessels face. To help us achieve this, one of our key priorities as a business is collaborating with our industry partners and actively listening to a range of voices from across the sector.

As vessels do become more sophisticated and processes incorporate greater layers of digital technologies, there is the risk that vulnerabilities to cybersecurity threats are increasingly exposed.

The new Safety Score closely examines incidents. If an incident is due to a cybersecurity breach, and the owner or operator’s response remedies this breach, this will be transparently reflected in that vessel’s Safety Score rating.

From a product development perspective, we will continue to champion the most advanced innovations in digital technology, as we have since our founding. This is the same for cyber risk, and we have invested significantly to analyse risks and vulnerabilities to ensure we are going above and beyond to protect our data.

The wider digitalisation trend may be about technologies, platforms, sensors and data. However, fundamentally this trend is actually about information that helps to underpin operational decision-making. We believe this information will be a powerful force for connecting our industry and ensuring that we are all on the same path to safety, sustainability and welfare improvement.

Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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