Fires, ESG and mental health on the agenda as Brookes Bell joins Salvage & Wreck conference

Fires, ESG and mental health on the agenda as Brookes Bell joins Salvage & Wreck conference

The global salvage and wreck community converged in London in early December for this year’s Seatrade Maritime Salvage & Wreck conference. Members of the Brookes Bell team joined P&I Clubs, maritime law firms, salvage companies and more for two days of thought provoking and insightful discussions on some of the major topics impacting the salvage industry.

Nick Haslam, Principal Master Mariner; Ivan Todorov, Senior Master Mariner; and Adrian Scales, Director of Nautical Services were part of a lively and worthwhile series of panels and debates at the conference.

One of the more significant panel discussions that took place highlighted the risk of carrying Li-ion batteries on ro-ro, bulk and container vessels, which was noteworthy following the Fremantle Highway incident in July. Other notable panel discussions that picked up engagement from delegates included a panel run by HFW’s Global Head of Shipping Paul Dean on the impact of mental health, which Nick described as “one of the most personal presentations I have ever seen”.

“Although not directly linked to salvage, it was incredibly candid and very moving to hear him talk about the impact of mental health on seafarers, particularly those that face unimaginable tragedies at sea.”  

There was also a focus on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) strategies at this year’s conference, with the impact and removal of waste products and preserving local ecosystems.

“Salvage has always been ESG related because we are getting rid of pollutants, waste materials and waste water during these operations. However, ESG requirements are increasingly included in salvage and wreck removal contracts. In fact, during the conference, Nina Hanevold-Sandvik, Vice-President of Casualty and Major Claims at Skuld, stated that ESG is now a requirement in all of their wreck removal contracts. While there is an argument that this could increase certain costs, the ethical side of ESG strategies is becoming more important.”

Ship losses remain at near-record lows as modern vessel designs and standards have made them much safer to operate. Nevertheless, Nick noted that, despite this optimism, there is still cause for concern when a vessel fire incident or grounding, for example, does happen. 

“Legislation at the IMO level has made vessels safer. Standards related to training and safety have all improved in recent years. However, with bigger vessels come bigger challenges. Although there are fewer incidents these days, when they do occur, they are generally catastrophic and the salvage operations become incredibly complex with a large amount of risk to the personnel involved, not to mention the long-term impacts these incidents have on local regions,” Nick noted. 

Nick stated that attending events like these is vital for Brookes Bell, not just to interact with clients and peers across the industry but because the Brookes Bell name has become so renowned for its salvage and wreck capabilities.

“Over the last few years, we’ve really developed our salvage capabilities. Brookes Bell is now the market leader and go-to company when incidents like these occur, precisely because our experience and expertise is unmatched in the industry today.

“We are a one-stop shop for salvage operations. Alongside Master Mariners and engineers, Brookes Bell has cargo scientists, naval architects, metallurgists and fire consultants that can offer their assistance and experience during these incidents. Crucially, we have some of the world’s best Special Casualty Representatives at our disposal that are able to attend all manner of vessel incidents globally and ensure Brookes Bell is a trusted partner during salvage operations,” he added.

The Salvage & Wreck Conference will be back in 2024 and Nick noted that the team are already planning for Brookes Bell’s involvement next year. “Brookes Bell is always sought after to speak at events like these and talk about some of the cases we are involved with and what messages we can spread to wider audiences so we look forward to being a part of next year’s conference as well.”

Nick Haslam
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