Lloyd’s Register Foundation funded project The Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association (HELMEPA) has delivered several key milestones to improve safety at sea across the Eastern Mediterranean.
The Eastern Mediterranean has had some of the highest marine casualties and incident rates within European waters over the past ten years. The Foundation’s grant to HELMEPA is helping to strengthen a culture of safety among Mediterranean seafarers, reinforcing safety critical practices across the maritime industry and helping to save lives at sea.
One of the key milestones successfully delivered is a voluntary reporting scheme for incidents and near misses by all types of vessels which has now received 813 incident reports from 46 shipping companies. Using HELMEPA’s Virtual Incident Reporting Platform (VIRP), shipping companies can report anonymous incidents and near-misses on board their ships that could have led to serious consequences. Learning from these ‘High Potential Incidents’ can help prevent the same things happening again which could potentially cause danger to life or property.
Another key initiative involves the rolling-out of maritime training programmes sponsored by HELMEPA which has been received by 1,170 maritime marine officers and management staff from 87 shipping companies.
These two major advances have seen HELMEPA’s membership increase five-fold since November 2020 to now encompass 150 managing companies and 1,856 member-vessels, accounting for approximately 50% of Greek-owned shipping organisations.
In addition, 511 fishermen, recreational boaters, sea tourism operators and other seagoers have attended Safety at Sea workshops established by HELMEPA to spread safety knowledge among seafarers. Attendees were from 113 new ports, marinas and yacht companies who have pledged to be ‘safety ambassadors’ to help spread the Foundation’s mission to other maritime stakeholders within their localities.
Information on the project’s aims and activities has been received by an estimated 175,000 seafarers and shipping professionals across Greece and Cyprus.
Tim Slingsby, Director of Skills at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, says “It’s fantastic to hear of the impact and long-lasting change being created in the Eastern Mediterranean by HELMEPA. Our work with HELMEPA is a remarkable success story of how international collaborations can help advance our mission of making the world a safer place.”