Taking safety to a higher level

Aslak Ross · 2014/10/08 27

Seven container shipping companies have come together on their own initiative to improve ship safety by establishing the Container Ship Safety Forum (CSSF). CSSF is a B2B network with the vision of creating a container shipping industry with high safety standards, ensuring no harm is caused to people, ships, cargo and the environment.

Founding members are: CMA CGM Group, Costamare Shipping Company S.A., Rickmers Shipmanagement, E.R. SCHIFFAHRT GmbH & Cie. KG, Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft KG, Zodiac Maritime Agencies Ltd and Maersk Line representing more than 20 percent of world container ship capacity.

So why is there now a need for an industry safety network?

Safety has always been a top priority for Maersk. We are committed to continuously reducing the number of incidents in our operation.

However, when Maersk Line in 2012 experienced two serious accidents within a short time period we realized that there was nowhere to turn for benchmarking and knowledge sharing with peers in the container industry. Unlike the off-shore and tanker industry, where safety forums have existed for years due to commercial focus on safety, our industry did not have business to business networks with the purpose of improving operational safety performance.

To get a benchmark of safety performance Maersk Line reached out to a number of other container shipping companies to encourage a benchmark on safety.  The initiative was welcomed and we had soon established a group of likeminded companies who saw the value of working together on keeping our people safe.

Following a few virtual meetings and a face to face meeting in Copenhagen last year the forum was officially launched in late May when the governance charter was signed in Marseille by the founding members.

What I’m the most proud of in regard to the CSSF is that the members have taken the initiative to focus on safety without any commercial pressure but because it is the right thing to do! We want our colleagues at sea to come home safe and the CSSF is a platform to drive improvements in that area.

Discussions and benchmarking has shown that members share the same concerns and have similar challenges to improve safety performance.  Good practices have already been shared on e.g. PSC inspections, managing rest hours, lifesaving equipment and personal injuries etc.  We will in the future establish more detailed benchmarks to identify the key barriers and opportunities for safety.

CSSF aims at growing the forum to establish better benchmarks, deeper learnings from the best in the industry as well as increase attention on safety in our part of the shipping industry. We hope the forum will grow strong over the next few years with new members that share our vision and hope to get support from customers, peers and suppliers to fulfill our mission of a safer industry.

The next CSSF meeting will take place in Athens, Greece on 30th and 31st October 2014. New prospect members are welcome to join the meeting.

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Aslak Ross Head of Marine Standards & DPA Bio

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Aslak Ross


Head of Marine Standards & DPA


Safety of our people and assets, navigational issues, vessel incidents, security and anti-piracy, compliance with applicable vessel regulation such as Solas, Marpol, ISM, MLC & ISPS as well as cargo acceptance policies.

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Safety of our people and assets navigational issues vessel incidents security and anti-piracy compliance with applicable vessel regulation such as Solas Marpol ISM MLC & ISPS as well as cargo acceptance policies