Safety on the high seas: Methanol Group meeting

As a leader in global marine safety, Waterfront Shipping (WFS) is continually looking for innovative ways to achieve the highest standards for health, safety and environmental protection. “We always encourage a strong culture of safety onboard our vessels,” explains Jone Hognestad, President WFS, “It’s fundamental to our business and the safe and reliable delivery of products to our customers."

In 2010, WFS founded The Methanol Group, bringing together ship owners, management companies, technical managers and marine safety consultants to develop and share best practices in safety, health, environment, quality and efficiency. Now in its seventh year, the group met in June 2016 to discuss the progress on safety initiatives and to plan future industry improvements. Since the first meeting in 2010, the Methanol Group has focused increasingly on the interaction between man and machine, encouraging safe behaviors and reducing the potential for human errors, as well as crew wellness.

This bi-yearly meeting took place in Vancouver, Canada with more than 14 companies attending. At this most recent meeting, the Methanol Group identified priority areas to work on over the next two years, including introducing a “Speak Up” policy so that crew at all levels are empowered to share safety concerns and best practices, and ensuring that safe behaviours are recognized and rewarded.

One of the group’s key successes to date has been reducing the need for tank entries while ensuring that tank cleaning is as safe and efficient as possible. Over a period of years, the Methanol Group reexamined product quality requirements, tested different cleaning detergents, and experimented with different cleaning methods. The tank cleaning guidelines issued at the end of this process resulted in a substantial reduction in the average man-tank-entries per operation compared to 2013 levels.

One of the highlights of this initiative is seeing how open and collaborative companies and competitors are in discussing the safety challenges they face and incidents that have occurred,” says Diego Jaramillo, WFS Quality and Responsible Care Supervisor, Vancouver. “There’s a real commitment to working together to solve common issues and improve the safety of our industry as a whole.”

To learn more about Waterfront Shipping, visit their website.