Shipping is an inherently hazardous activity. The United Nations agency, International Maritime Organization (IMO), implements international regulations designed to improve safety at sea while reducing pollution from ships.
The IMO’s International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (“SOLAS”), together with the International Safety Management Code (“ISM Code”) for the Safe Operations of Ships and Pollution Prevention set forth the framework for effective maritime safety in the late 1990s.
At early stage Danaos developed a documented Safety Management System (the DSMS) fulfilling the requirements of the ISM Code. Since 2002 -when the Code became mandatory for containerships- the DSMS has being audited successfully and Danaos maintains its Document of Compliance (the “license to operate” of shipping) valid throughout the years.
The health and safety of our people are paramount to the well-being of our people, and we are working towards the safest possible conditions through the implementation of an Occupational Health and Safety regime.
This regime includes:
- The application of best practices in ship operation and working environment to prevent injuries.
- Continual, flexible, and regularly reviewed risk assessment for vessels, cargo, and environment.
- The ongoing development of the health and safety skills of our people.
The 2008 Amendments to the ISM Code which entered into force on 1 July 2010 foresaw the inclusion of Risk Management process in the Safety Management System of a shipping company. Risk Management is a decision-making process aimed at reducing the number of losses of people, equipment and material due to accidents. Since it is impossible to eliminate all risks, we must learn to control hazards in order to reduce the amount of risk that the crews, our vessels and the Company are exposed to.
A hazard is a substance, situation or practice that has the potential to cause harm. The controls may be applied either to reduce the likelihood of occurrence of an adverse event, or to reduce the severity of the consequences. The risks we are concerned with, are those that are reasonably foreseeable, and are related to:
- The health and safety of all those who are directly or indirectly involved in the activity, or who may be otherwise affected.
- The property of the company and others.
It is important to recognize that the Company is responsible for identifying the risks associated with its ships, operations, and trade. Consequently, our Safety, Quality & Environmental team experts having long sea-going experience prepared a library with various risk assessments related to shipboard operations and their respective controls to achieve a Healthy and Safe working environment onboard the ship, and to achieve a friendly environmental impact from the ship’s operations.
‘ We train our people on board and actively engage them in recognizing and reporting near misses.’
Risk Assessments are prepared to cover a wide range of shipboard operations in areas such as:
Anchoring • Arrival – Departure • Bunkering • Cargo Operations • Defective Equipment • Emergency preparedness • Environmental Operations • Health – Hygiene • Maintenance & Repairs • Management of change • Mooring • Navigation • Safety preparedness • Security preparedness • Use of tools • Various Shipboard Activities • SEEMP
Any additional controls from those mentioned in respective risk assessments, may be considered to reduce the risk further. The Master has the liberty to make a new risk assessment applying controls and hazards which might further reduce the risks involved. This is sent to the Office for approval and when reviewed and approved by the Office, is saved within the existing library. The Risk Assessment library is continuously updated when a new hazard and its associated controls are identified.
Our policy clearly states that all incidents are reported, investigated, and analyzed to prevent similar incidents in the future. We train our people on board and actively engage them in recognizing and reporting near misses. These minor incidents are regarded as warning signals for procedures and practices that merit revision and remediation. All incidents are investigated by the ship’s Master, with the support of the safety Officer, seafarers’ safety representative or any other member of the Safety, Environmental & MLC Committee.
Danaos uses the most objective measuring tool, the Loss Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) which measures the number of hours a seafarer is unable to work due to injury. To further decrease the LTIF rate we have incorporated the Lockout/Tagout system which is used to control hazardous energy. Additionally, from 2018 onwards we started implementing a Behavior Based Safety approach in order to address the factors that influence and reinforce learning and behavior. Successful implementation leads to significant improvements to the safety performance, and through the BBS approach we aim to create a “total safety culture” throughout the company.
In 2022 with the usage of UDE reporting tool in its full application we have gained a more in-depth insight into the conditions under which an event occurred and closely followed up the corrective actions taken onboard. At the same time, we emphasized best practices which enhance onboard safety in an effort to raise crew awareness.
All seafarers actively participate in the onboard Safety & Environmental Meeting performed at least once per month. This is a formal meeting where a set agenda includes, among others, health and safety issues for discussion. The Safety, Environmental & MLC Committee comprises of crew representatives and is tasked to prepare the agenda for the meeting. The Committee works with the sole goal of enhancing the health, safety & environmental standard on board ships by ensuring that all Health, Safety & Environmental procedures and practices are followed by the ship’s crew members. Its role and main tasks are clearly defined in the Company’s Safety Management System.
All systems of Danaos Safety Management are audited internally by the Safety Quality and Environmental Department and externally by Recognized Organizations, members of IACS. Unscheduled audits are performed if a serious deficiency in any part of the DSMS becomes evident during third party inspections. Audit findings, Non-Conformities or Observation notes are collectively analyzed and evaluated during the management review process. In pursuit of managerial excellence, we have established our own KPIs by participating in the BIMCO SHIPPING KPIs. Findings that pose a serious threat to the safety of personnel or the ship or a serious risk to the environment are analyzed with the RCA method and immediate corrective action is undertaken.
In 2022, 76 internal audits as well as 21 third party audits and 5 MLC inspections were carried out onboard of ourFleet to ensure that our system remains in compliance with the ISM/ISPS Code, the ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001 standards and the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC). Our vessels’ certification was endorsed successfully..
During 3rd-party MLC inspections it is verified that all seafarers enjoy decent living and working conditions onboard and that their employment agreements and payment of wages are in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreements.