My Motto is Plan, Respond, Recover. This is why….

One thing I have learned in a career spanning 23 years in critical incident response and the effective management of such incidents is the value of a well considered plan and the importance of reviewing that plan.

Risk Management was obviously a big deal conducting High Risk Counter Terrorist Operations nationally and offshore in my previous life so it was a big surprise to me when I entered the dizzy heights of the Commercial World as General Manager of Svitzer Salvage Australasia (now Ardent Global) in 2012.  There I found in any cases (not all!) was this:

  • Risk Assessments were often either poorly conducted, non- existent or did not comply to Australian or ISO standards.
  • Treatment options did not consider all industry specifics and impacts.
  • Lessons learned from previous incidents were not captured effectively for future events or more frustratingly, were captured and identified but not rectified.  The same issues keep coming up.
  • Risk Assessments and contingency plans were non-existent or not routinely reviewed.
  • Left hand is simply not talking to right hand which comes down to comms.

An  example of the last point that I see a lot of lately in Maritime Organisations is that they have a complex Risk Management Plan, Detailed Emergency Management Plan and polished Crisis Management plan, Business Continuity Plan  and a Security Management Plan that ticks the boxes with ISPS but has many gaps specific to the organisation.   The point is that few of the plans correlate with each other but all can impact on the efficiency of each other.

I remember as A salvage and marine emergency company head going to shipping industry forums and no one wanted to know you.  You were kind of like the tow truck driver of the sea or the proverbial ambulance chaser.   The method of many marine industry organisations when it comes to salvage is this:   When it happens we know a guy or a company we can call.     What! are you serious I hear you say, sadly yes.

Hard Aground What invariably happens in these cases is that a Salvage Company is appointed for the job and salivates at the opportunity to sign a LOF Contract (Most widely used salvage contract in the world and oldest) and secure such job based on a previous job they had done well in the past. Wrong Call!   Things that are often forgotten include consideration to their resources.  Are their resources committed elsewhere? Understanding Salvage Law, particularly contracts can go a great way to making sound commercial decisions in advance of a disaster happening.

Salvage Staff do not work in a Fire Stations with a Fire Fighters pole ready to slide down and into action.  The resources are finite (particularly experienced and skilled resources which are in fact a scarce resource).  In Australia for example there is less than a handful of recognised Salvage Masters. Not Engineers but Salvage Masters.   It is a loose term that gets thrown around al ot.    Fewer and Fewer Ships are crashing meaning every opportunity is critical for salvors.

A few tips that can save your company millions of dollars in lost revenue include;

  1. Have ‘Maritime specialised’ and Standardised Plans developed and reviewed annually and do not forget a Maritime Business Continuity Plan!
  2. Develop a casualty management plan and workshop it annually.
  3. Salvage Companies are critical to a positive outcome in significant maritime incidents but the use of them needs to be well considered in advance and you could go along way by understanding how they work.
  4. Ensure all plans are harmonised and standardised (BCP, EMP, PSMP, CMP and CMP).

These are few of the main ones.   Please reach out if you have any questions or need support.