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Director's Log

David Cotterell

Welcome to the First Edition of our new monthly newsletter, part of an initiative to establish better communications with OCIMF’s membership. Our decision to strengthen outreach comes further to the OCIMF Executive Committee’s decision last year to review our strategy, setting the course of OCIMF activities for the future. A crucial part of that review process was a broad consultation with our member companies.

I was greatly encouraged by the response, the majority of members electing to take part and providing valuable feedback. The information gained has been useful in many senses; firstly to prioritise issues that our membership believes are important, gain a broad picture of expectations for OCIMF across our now diverse and growing membership and secondly providing us with a list of opportunities for improvement. One very clear message that emerged from the consultation was the desire for more effective communication. This newsletter forms the first step to address that need. Our aim is to provide regular stories on what is new, what is changing, and what is on the horizon.

We also want our communications with you to be interactive, so look forward to your feedback and suggestions for articles on initiatives complementing the OCIMF mission. In the meantime please do subscribe or share with colleagues with similar interests.

What is it that you feel would be of interest to the broader membership? Does your company have a compelling story to tell about recent work? We hope that you do and look forward to learning more together in the coming months.

We are trying to improve upon our customary way of communicating with our members which was to route all information through a nominated focal point within member companies. We will continue to do so with technical papers but the introduction of this newsletter provides the opportunity to ensure you receive regular updates on OCIMF’s work.

In Focus: OCIMF initiative improving maritime safety in the Gulf of Guinea


From February 25 to 28 2013, the OCIMF initiative for a Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre for the Gulf of Guinea (MTISC GoG) was set up at the Regional Maritime University in Accra, Ghana, for a highly successful trial run. The trial was part of the AFRICOM naval exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2013, which focused on counter-piracy and maritime safety, where the MTISC offered both expertise and communications links with merchant shipping and industry in the region.

The MTISC GoG seeks to fill the gap in national/regional maritime domain awareness in the Gulf of Guinea. The lack of understanding of the maritime domain is making it difficult for seafarers to avoid risky waters and for local authorities to tackle the range of maritime crime taking place in the region. Beyond the trial, OCIMF is pushing for the establishment of an enduring, affordable information sharing centre within the Gulf of Guinea, and this centre is becoming a reality.

This project is especially significant considering the rise in piracy and armed attacks at sea in recent years. Through a see-and-avoid principle, The MTISC will provide a single point of focus for mariners to share unclassified information and receive in return a real time picture of the domain. This input will be coupled with inputs from satellite AIS and remote sensing. Guidance and advice on handling maritime security issues will also be provided. In the event of a security incident, the MTISC will help warn vessels in the vicinity and liaise with naval operational centres.

OCIMF’s ambition is to transfer the running of the project to Ghanaian Authorities, with the institutionalised involvement of other regional states, regional organisations, INTERPOL and training from the UK and Australia. The regional picture will therefore serve to develop maritime security awareness in the whole region, and improve the understanding of security threats in the Gulf of Guinea.

The importance of the project was successfully demonstrated during the trial, which included resources from AFRICOM, INTERPOL, the European Union’s Joint Research Centre, the European Space Agency, the UK’s Royal Navy and Ghana’s Navy as well local experts from Nigeria LNG and Tullow Oil Ghana. OCIMF also developed a BMP-style maritime security guidance for the Gulf of Guinea.

Following this trial, OCIMF continues to work closely with the Ghanaian government to make the MTISC a reality and help increase maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

Implementing the findings of the Strategic Review


OCIMF’s 2012 Strategic Business Review (see Director’s Log) was needed to ensure that we are able to meet the demands for products and services of a growing and evolving membership. The review was carried out with an ambitious six month time-frame, and input from all members was sought through a comprehensive consultation. The collective input, looking towards 2020, showed that adjustments rather than transformations are needed in order to ensure that OCIMF’s Mission remains valid for the foreseeable future.

The review confirmed that OCIMF is respected and broadly successful in its activities, and that the mission remains valid. There were however calls for more effective communication, suggestions that we should improve in responding to the changing needs as the membership grows and that OCIMF should make sure that the organisation is positioned, resourced and funded to deliver its business objectives in a successful way.

Further to membership and OCIMF Executive Committee input, our strategic areas for adjustments will include:

  • Ensuring that there is a common understanding of the scope and limits of the OCIMF mission;
  • Increasingly motivating the Members towards greater engagement to fulfil the mission;
  • Ensuring that the working structure allows for efficient membership participation;
  • Adjusting the structure of the secretariat in order to ensure that it effectively supports the priorities and expectations of all its members and membership of the key Committees.

OCIMF has started the work on these planned changes and several concrete steps are being taken to ensure effective implementation. These include a communications plan to ensure more streamlined and targeted information to members, as well as the recruitment of a publications manager to speed up delivery of publications. See below for more details on the communications plan.

All changes foreseen will be carried out during 2013 and 2014 with a view to ensure that OCIMF is strategically positioned, organised, resourced and funded to deliver its business objectives as effectively as possible.

Improving our communication with you – what are the key changes?


OCIMF is fully committed to improving engagement with its members and implementing the adjustments identified by the strategic review. So how will we accomplish these goals?

We will be creating a working structure where a growing membership will be able to engage with each other and the OCIMF structure in a more cost effective and efficient way than was possible before. We will be implementing a communications plan to address the largest gaps identified by the member consultation, aiming to combine accessible, tailored and timely written communications with face to face interactions.

One tool will be this newsletter, in conjunction with regular regional seminars to ensure your relationship with OCIMF is collaborative and constantly improving. We look forward to your input as this new plan is implemented and looking ahead expect to learn more about our membership in the “in focus” section. Here we will highlight key OCIMF and Member successes relevant to OCIMF’s mission to constantly improve standards.

Our first step will be to establish regional panels. The timing and location of these meetings will be coordinated alongside a principle committee meeting (PTC, GPC or OMC), so that as many interested members as possible will be able to contribute. We will organise these meetings in hub locations, so that you can combine attendance with other business. These regional engagement opportunities will be supported by additional pathways to enable broader participation in working groups and sub-committees. We will keep you up to date on the progress of these seminars in coming issues of the newsletter.

These monthly updates will provide you with a brief and readable overview of key news and what the OCIMF secretariat is doing and upcoming events. This will also provide you with a platform to profile the work of your organisation.

We will occasionally also send out a newsflash following any major developments of interest to the sector, for example at the International Maritime Organisation.

The implementation of our communications plan will seek to refine our communication with you and identify ways to bring value to your organisation, which means that your engagement in our new membership outreach strategy is essential to our success!

What's new: OCIMF publications

January saw the development of our ambitious Ports and Terminals project completed. It is wonderful to see both member companies and independent terminal operators starting to implement the tools. The port information, management self-assessment and staff competency elements have all been very well received. OCIMF will be promoting broad use of the product at a number of prominent events in the coming weeks.

Information papers:

Our latest information papers:

  • Maintaining Structural and Operational Integrity on Tankers Carrying Cold Oil Cargoes
  • Recommendations Relating to the Application of Requirements Governing Seafarers’ Hours of Work and Rest
  • Recommendations on the Proactive use of Voyage Data Recorder Information
  • Guidelines on Capabilities of Emergency Response Services
  • Recommendations for the Safe Management of Cargo Additive Activities Onboard

On the horizon: Dates for your diary

OCIMF Committees:

  • 9/10 April - Joint General Purposes 76 and Ports & Terminals 78
  • 10-11 April - Offshore Marine Committee (OMC)
  • 17 April - Legal Committee (LEG) 59
  • 23 April - Executive Committee 71

IMO Committees:

  • 4-8 March - Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) 21
  • 18-22 March - Sub-Committee on Ship Design and Equipment (DE) 57
  • 8-12 April - Facilitation Committee (FAL) 38
  • 15-19 April - Legal Committee (LEG) 100
  • 29 April to 3 May - Sub-Committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW) 44