Safety in navigation and cargo operations is an immutable mission in running a shipping business.
The “K” LINE Group includes “providing safe and excellent services” in its corporate principle and vision, and has established the following three policy pillars in order to fulfill its social responsibility through safety in navigation and cargo operations:
The Ship Safety Promotion Committee, chaired by the President & CEO, is the top decision-making body covering safety. It determines accident prevention and safety measures for all ships operated by the Company—including owned, chartered, and entrusted vessels—and handles everything from basic policy formulation to implementation of measures under the system shown below.
Prior to embarkation, the head office and in-house management companies conduct a pre-embarkation briefing for senior officers (captain, chief engineer, chief officer and first engineer). This is an opportunity to explain the Company’s basic policies on safety, as well as to provide the latest specific information and instruction through safety management manuals and related written procedures adopted by each management company.
Seeking to maintain the high quality of all vessels we operate, we have established a set of quality guidelines called “KL-QUALITY.” In addition to regulatory requirements, we use these guidelines when conducting vessel inspections (done by supervisors of ship inspection that regularly visit operating vessels). Results of inspections are reported to relevant departments. Should faults or concerns arise, we ask ship owners and ship management companies to rectify them to ensure that quality standards are maintained and improved.
To realize our zero-accident commitment, we established “K” Line-Drive to No Accident (K-DNA), a set of unique safety equipment installation guidelines that go beyond legally mandated rules, and we are reinforcing the hardware aspects of all our operating vessels. Built on know-how accumulated on the front lines, K-DNA also reflects lessons learned from past accidents. The guidelines epitomize our Company’s DNA itself with respect to safe vessel operation, as well as our hardware-based support for crew members aiming to become world’s best maritime technical personnel.
In 2015, we launched our new Accident Information Management System (AIMS), with aims of processing accident cases appropriately and swiftly, analyzing accident trends, and formulating effective prevention measures.
We are taking various steps aimed at eliminating accidents, by using this system to analyze accident details and trends and the deeply explore root cause of accidents. By creating a database of accident information, moreover, we are able to share information with our worldwide network in a timely manner and establish optimal safety measures.
From December 1 to the following January 31 we conduct the Safety Campaign under the theme of “safety in navigation and cargo operations.” When our ship calls at a port, the persons in charge of the ship operation department and marine safety department, safety supervisors, supervisors in charge of ship management companies, and others visit the ship to conduct activities necessary for ensuring safe navigation and cargo operations, such as exchange of opinions with crew members and inspection of the ship’s hull and onboard equipment.
During the campaign period, meanwhile, we step up various activities, including ship visits by the President & CEO and directors and officers to conduct face-to-face “exchanges of opinions with ship captains and crews.” This provides an opportunity to further raise awareness about safety in navigation and environmental protection of the entire operating vessels of the Company.
All major accidents stem from small near-miss. Under our Safety Reporting System, we encourage boarding crew members to report on near-miss, such as unsafe behavior and unsafe conditions on a vessel. Such reports are received and carefully analyzed by supervisor back on land, and the results are given back to similar-type vessels. By entrenching a non-blaming culture, where the responsibility of near-miss parties are not called into question, we receive thousands of reports annually, which helps safety awareness to take root on the front lines.
“We will not allow an unfortunate accident to happen again. Nor will we forget about it.” Based on this strong commitment, we thoroughly investigate the causes of past accidents and establish countermeasures to prevent recurrences. This information is included in Trouble News, a report on accident-related matters that we issue to all ships under our operation.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, timely and accurate responses are crucial. To ensure such responses, we regularly conduct drill assuming “worst-case scenarios involving ships under our operation.” This drill involves practical training and cover everything from assembling an early emergency response team to establishing an accident response headquarters and setting up information-sharing systems within it, as well as establishing systems for communicating with overseas parties and verifying media responses.
The number of piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden has remained low in recent years due to countermeasures undertaken by various national troops, including Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force. Nevertheless, the situation could easily be reversed if the international community weakens its efforts. Moreover, piracy-related losses still occur frequently in Gulf of Guinea (West Africa) and in Southeast Asia. Accordingly, conditions for merchant ship navigation remain unpredictable.
Off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, we endeavor as much as possible to receive protection from Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force and navies of various countries. For our own self-defense, we do everything possible to ensure the safety of crew as top priority. This includes avoiding problematic areas, maintaining at high speeds, using high-pressure water nozzle, installing razor wire to prevent unauthorized embarkation, and wearing bullet-proof vests and helmets.
Because it is difficult to prevent entry of pirates onto slow-speed and low-freeboard vessels, we take various other countermeasures, such as having private armed security guards board our vessels as a warning signal.
Through three in-house ship management companies which share our principle we provide higher quality, safe and secure services by making full use of our expertise.
Maritime technical personnel is responsible for ensuring safety in navigation at the “K” LINE Group. These include ship crews, in-house management company supervisors, and marine technical staff stationed at our head office. Through the “K” Line Maritime Academy (KLMA), our central body for attracting and fostering marine personnel, we help establish career paths within the Group for our employees, irrespective of nationality, with the aim of fostering world’s best maritime technical personnel.
For more details, please see “Human Resource Development (Maritime Technical Personnel)”