2013 Maritime Safety Award
Sponsored by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects and Lloyds Register, the 2013 RINA-LR Maritime Safety Award recognises the professionalism, perseverance and personal commitment of Nick Quarmby in driving through a significant improvement in tanker safety. The Award was presented to Nick Quarmby by David Barrow of Lloyd’s Register at the 2014 Annual Dinner
In the course of his duties as a surveyor with the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Nick Quarmby identified serious weaknesses in the way in which tanker operators applied the international requirements for damage stability.
On vessels carrying a mixture of cargoes of differing specific gravities, checking against the stability book can be extremely complex. The only practical way to confirm that all the possible combinations of loading comply with the regulations is by means of a loading computer.
Nick showed by calculation that for tankers carrying cargoes of different densities, any departure from the loading conditions given in the stability book could very seriously degrade survivability after damage.
Recognising the importance of this finding, he undertook a sustained campaign to inform ship owners, the EU, IMO, Class Societies and the Paris MOU signatories. The spot checks that resulted from his campaigning showed that at least 16% of the ships checked had been operating in a non-compliant and unsafe manner.
It took Nick eight years of determined and complex work to produce sufficient evidence to persuade an unconvinced industry to support revised regulations.
He subsequently worked with technical experts at the IMO to develop amendments to MARPOL and the relevant Codes, and I am pleased to say that these have now been approved by the IMO for adoption this year.
The new regulations will require many tankers to carry approved stability instruments, but these will not only improve safety but will also allow the operators more flexibility with payload.