For Jacques Saadé, safety and security are an absolute priority at CMA CGM, whether at sea, on board our vessels or ashore, on terminals, in container yards, repair shops, warehouses, offices, etc. Safety and security implies that all risks affecting our activities be they internal, i.e. related to sailing our vessels, carrying cargo, working conditions or external such as political unrest or piracy be identified and all measures to eradicate or minimize them be taken. In response, the Group has set ambitious targets such as “Zero Fatalities” and its track record has been acknowledged by compulsory certification renewal.
ISM, ISPS, SOLAS,C-TPAT, AEO, etc… those acronyms are mostly unknown by a large majority of people but they are the guarantee of safety and security.
says Dominique Balmitgere who heads the Safety, Security & Environment Department of the CMA CGM Group founded by Jacques Saadé.
To improve its safety and security standards every year, the CMA CGM Group Safety Security & Environment Department has set some very stringent Key Performance Indicators (all quantifiable and measurable) on such fields as Port State control, Injuries, Security, Internal and External Audits or Emergency events. Yearly objectives are assigned for each category, all showing an improvement over previous year performances and their progress are monitored with corrective actions taken whenever required.
Safety and security at sea, the main challenge
Preventing accident, collision and pollution risks on board our vessels requires permanent attention.
says Ludovic GERARD, Executive Vice President CMA Ships.
Remember, it takes 3 nautical miles to stop a 10.000 TEU vessel sailing at 14 knots. CMA CGM experts who are in charge of safety and security are involved in analyzing these risks, in ensuring that working procedures are being adhered to in line with the latest rules and conventions.
A support ashore
The “experts” are also responsible for the operational coordination should they be confronted with a major crisis involving a vessel. Each and every vessel is audited at least once a year. When the vessels are sailing through areas particularly prone to risks, the Deck officers have access to latest technologies such as navigation assistance tools as well as the support of the “Fleet Navigation Center” in Marseilles Head Office which provides in real time all information relating to navigation, weather forecasts or geography.
The “Fleet Navigation Center” also keeps track of all the group’s vessels sailing through piracy risk zones.
says Capt. Viorel ANDREI.
To deal with piracy, particularly in the Indian Ocean and in West Africa, the group relies on all legal, technical and human means to prevent and counter attacks. These measures which partly stem from the “Good Practice Code” drawn by the working group formed by CMA CGM, MAERSK and MSC, have demonstrated their efficiency.
Since the emergence of Piracy in the Indian Ocean off the Somali Coast, the vessels operated by the Group have experienced 29 attacks by pirates during the 2008 – 2012 period. The last event involved the CMA CGM AFRICA FOUR on May 4th 2013 on her way to Onne, Nigeria. She escaped the attack and the crew followed to the letter the procedure set-up by the SSE Department. As one can see, the ”Piracy Risk” has spread from the Indian Ocean to West Africa, essentially the Gulf of Guinea as far west as Ivory Coast, as well as to some parts of the Central America Coast and the South China Sea.
CMA CGM has geared all its vessels sailing through risk zones with passive protections such as dedicated security procedures – Speed no less than 14 knots, increased in case of attacks, evasive steerage, etc.., highly durable Kevlar vests and helmets on board all vessels within Indian Ocean and Gulf of Guinea, Razor Wires all around vessels calling East and West Africa and on Main Liners (stern of the vessel), exercises and continuous contacts with Navy Forces in the area…
But all the safety and security measures do not only concern the staff members or the vessels. The safety and security of the goods which our customers have entrusted to the group is also a key issue.
Cargo related safety and security
CMA CGM has set up an organization that is in charge of controlling and weighing the risks attached to the carriage of these goods. To this effect, CMA CGM has identified 3 main categories to control potential risks generated by the carrying of said cargo and prevent accidents.
- Goods classified as “hazardous” by international regulation (IMDG Code) or national regulations (49CFR for the USA): all goods carried either under a CMA CGM BL or other operators’ BL when the latters are loading on board a CMA CGM vessel are controlled by one of our 5 “hazardous desks” (Marseilles, Le Havre, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Norfolk).
- Goods classified as “potentially dangerous”: in-house experts challenge the validity of IMDG Code exemptions granted to some goods, recommend solutions for the carrying of chemicals in Reefer containers, act as advisors to Lines and sales people prior to accepting and loading heavy weight cargo.
- Goods subject to “preliminary control” or subject to rules and regulations preventing or restricting their carriage: a “compliance desk” makes sure that cargo does not fall under international or national organizations (UN, EU, OFAC, etc.) embargoes. The same restrictions apply to the carrying of scrap, of psychotomimetic substances or protected species (fauna and flora).
The most stringent procedure will never protect you from false declaration on the nature and the dangerousness of cargo. However, port of loading agent vigilance and knowledge of his market coupled with Line’s operation management experience and the mining up-dated data bases should minimize these risks. The same applies to weight declaration when too often shippers under declare the actual weight of the containers which may have dire consequences on Port workers safety during loading and unloading operations, as well as on seafarers once containers have been loaded on board.
The CMA CGM Group has also produced decision making tools for Lines, offices and sales people to help them manage risks attached to the carrying of goods (Information notices, procedures, good practices, on-line glossary, etc.).
says Dominique Balmitgère.
Health and safety at Work: “Safety Starts with Me” campaign.
Since 2009, CMA CGM Group has set up a team of “Captain Safety Advisors” whose tasks are to proceed with measuring safety on board our vessels and ingrain a “Safety Culture” on board both on day to day operations and during emergency situations.
Strong focus is put on training and “Safety Videotel” is available on board and ad-hoc training sessions have been developed to prevent injuries caused by manual handling of heavy cargo, engine equipment, etc.
There is also a “Near Miss” procedure involving crews whereby all “near miss” are systematically reported, analyzed and exploited to prevent future incidents. One should never become complacent to the danger.
The CMA CGM Group has also launched other initiatives, aimed at improving Safety and Security such as Officers Seminars, joint exercises with Marseilles Fire Brigade, with local Authorities, latest being the tugging of CMA CGM MARCO POLO, etc. “Port Cards” which provide all operational information on a given port have also been created and distributed to all vessels and are being permanently updated by the master of the vessels calling the port, same applies to “Bridge Management” procedures.
Towards a formalized Safety policy in the CMA CGM Group
In 2012, the CMA CGM group has gone ashore, beyond the limits of vessels to implement its Safety and Security Policy. All its Terminals are now under the jurisdiction of the “Safety & Security & Environment” Management. A policy aimed specifically for Terminals has been defined as well as “best practices”.
Another specific program has been implemented to be applied to all intermodal activities particularly during the transport activities, whenever hazardous cargo is involved, ensuring compliance with existing Rules and Regulations, organizing Safety Committees, staff training, e-learning, etc.
When we get involved with “Supply Chain”, we sometimes rely upon third party providers, our business partners, and it is part of our responsibility vis a vis both our staff and our customers to ensure that our commercial relationships are formed with Business Partners that share our values on Safety and Security at every level of the supply chain and that have been granted the same certification as we have..
2012 has also seen growing personal risks for our staff in some countries where political unrest bordering to civil war in some of them, led the Group to implement a “Travelsafe” policy drawn with relevant authorities and in cooperation with other French companies active in these countries. This “Travelsafe” policy is implemented whenever one of our staff travels to a “risk” prone country.
As one can see, Safety and Security are not abstract concepts but a reality for the CMA CGM Group. The Group is fully conscious of the importance of Safety and Security for its staff, for its vessels, for the cargo on board and has made it an absolute priority.
Hence, the SSE Dept. works daily to improve processes, to train staff both ashore and at sea and to inform our customers and partners, for “Safety starts with me”!