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Greek owners back Dry Bulk Management Standard project

Leading Greek owners have thrown their weight behind a move aimed at developing new rules to drive up safety standards in the dry bulk sector similar to the oil sector’s OCIMF benchmarks for the tanker and offshore industries.

Led by risk manager RightShip, the Victor Restis' Enterprises Shipping & Trading and the Lykiardopoulos-backed Neda Maritime Agency are among six bulk ship owners working to develop the Dry Bulk Management Standard (DBMS) project, launched 2 April. 

After months of collaboration with partners and operators across the dry bulk segment and the wider industry, including experienced shipmanagers and maritime experts, the standards, still in draft form, cover 30 areas of management practice.

Focus of the project is on the four most serious risk areas faced in vessel operations - performance, people, plant and process. To encourage input from industry players the proposed rules are available on the new DBMS website, and owners and operators can provide feedback.

The programme is designed to allow ship managers to measure their Safety Management System (SMS) against agreed industry standards and seek to go beyond ISM Code benchmarks and allow operators to "stand out from the crowd".

Project leader, Rightship's Luke Fisher, said: "Improving safety standards is an ongoing and constant area of focus for the dry bulk segment. DBMS will help to accelerate an increase in standards, and also provide an attainable benchmark for maritime excellence."

George Sarris, md of Enterprises S&T said: "DBMS is meant to provide direction to shipping companies interested in improving their management system by regularly assessing their overall performance, identifying their weaknesses in different aspects of their operation and allowing for the implementation of best practices and KPIs that will assist them to gradually achieve their safety and environmental objectives.”

He said this “will allow them to meet goals set in their corporate policies, and subsequently meet their obligations towards society”. “New technologies and new regulations alone will not improve shipping standards, unless we perceive things differently.”

Antonis Sakellis, safety and quality director at Neda said: "A set of standards like DBMS has been missing from the dry bulk sector. It will allow companies individually, as well as the dry bulk industry as a whole, to gradually raise its level of safety. DBMS provides a common guideline of what the industry expects at each level, and companies can clearly plan their actions towards attaining excellence."

DBMS will grade the excellence of a company’s SMS against measurable expectations and targets without involving the burdens of excessive inspections but is not seen as a replacement for the ISM Code, but it will build upon industry standards and provide a systematic approach to encourage ship managers to move from minimum compliance to operational excellence.

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