Workplace & Safety

Drawing on our Human Capital

The health, safety and behaviour of our employees underlies every aspect of how we operate. They are driven by policies, procedures, a team culture and efforts to continually improve how we conduct ourselves in our business at sea and onshore. Providing healthy work conditions, a safe and supportive environment and opportunities to advance and develop within the Company are key to the well-being and fulfilment of our staff and the success of Pacific Basin.

We strive to be the employer of choice for our existing staff and for talented potential employees in our industry. We are passionate about our people and do what we can to provide our multi-national colleagues with a safe, supportive, enjoyable and fulfilling working environment.

In-house Ship Management Expertise Ensures Safety & Quality at Sea

As ship owners, our service reliability is enhanced by an innovative and comprehensive in-house technical ship management capability that assures the quality of our large fleet of owned ships and growing number of seafarers, while also driving our sector-leading safety and environmental performance.

Our experienced team of ship managers provide dependable shore-based support to our fleet so that our seafarers can manage our ships with a strong safety culture and meet the specific needs of our customers.

Our shore-based and ship-board teams work together to ensure operational readiness and service reliability of our ships at all times, as well as compliance with classification society and flag state rules, environmental regulations and all other local and international laws and regulations. Their combined efforts are key drivers of stakeholder satisfaction and our Pacific Basin brand value.

Our comprehensive technical ship management function covers:

  • Newbuilding ship design input and contracting support
  • Newbuilding supervision
  • Technical support for ship sale and purchase activities
  • Technical and crew management of ships
  • Procurement
  • Marine & safety quality management and superintendence
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Dry docking supervision
  • Safety & security assessments and training
  • Internal/external audit corrective action implementation

We operate our own Pacific Basin crewing and training centres in Dalian and Manila where our crew recruiting, training and management activities are based. Our pool of 3,000 seafarers are mainly from China and the Philippines, and some of our officers are from Russia and Ukraine (FSU) and Hong Kong.

We believe that the right investment in our employees – both at sea and ashore – does much to increase safety, knowledge, productivity and contribution, and promote a deeper sense of belonging across our organisation. That investment in our employees and their engagement broadly addresses the following areas:

Health & Safety

We put safety first at all times. Our Pacific Basin Management System provides clear policies and procedures for our ship and shore staff to follow and mechanisms for us to analyse our performance and facilitate improvement, with one main objective:

Promoting and ensuring safety at sea and prevention of human injury or loss of life

Our HSEQ policy and our Pacific Basin Management System embody a number of broad actions designed to achieve this objective:

People-focused Safety Innovation

We constantly strive to enhance our safety culture with commitments from senior management ashore driving this safety mind-set across our organisation and fleet.

Our commitment to safety is manifested not only through our proactive Pacific Basin Management System, but also through innovative proprietary initiatives and significant investment in seafarer training at sea and ashore to standards exceeding mandatory requirements, resulting in safety performance metrics (KPIs) that are among the best in the industry.

Some of our established home-grown concepts and programmes that seek to maximise our crews’ engagement and risk mitigation and safety performance include:

“Make Complacency History”

We highlight five focus areas in our campaign to eradicate complacency across our fleet, including:

  • Safety of Crew = Zero Lost Time Injuries
  • Safety of Environment = Zero MARPOL violations
  • Safety of Navigation = Zero navigational accidents
  • Safety of Machinery = Zero issues from improper overhaul
  • PB Brand & Business = Zero issues from neglect of care and maintenance
This campaign has been expanded to engage with our seafarers’ families through family newsletters and informal participation during our regular safety seminar dinners and through our family welfare officer in our recruitment centres for a more holistic and effective approach.

Health & Safety Performance in 2016

We have steadily reduced our Total Recordable Case Frequency by an average of 6% per year since 2004.

In 2016, we recorded near record low total injuries and injury frequency on our ships, most arising from relatively minor slips, trips and falls.

Our total recordable case frequency (TRCF) reduced 18% to 1.32 in 2016, and we have steadily reduced our TRCF by an average of 6% per year since 2004.

Our lost time injuries frequency (LTIF) improved marginally year on year, having registered 15 such injuries in 2016.

Our aim is to substantially eliminate our personal injury incidents and to improve on our best ever LTIF result of 0.85.

Our safety performance is driven by effective policies and procedures in our Pacific Basin Management System and a comprehensive programme of seafarer training and development at sea and ashore.

We have responded by reinforcing our established safety programme with a campaign to target “Zero Lost Time Injuries” which includes enhanced pre-joining and on-board training, and monthly alerts to the fleet with reminders of injuries sustained on our ships. Our “Make Complacency History” campaign now reaches out to our seafarers’ families for a more holistic and effective approach.

Very sadly, one of our deck cadets died in February 2016 from a fall overboard while assisting with the lashing of deck cargo in the port of Tauranga. The main lesson learned from this fatal accident was that crew must attach their safety harness to a fall arrestor while working close to the edge of the cargo stack in accordance with our company requirement to do so. The lessons were well noted and steps were taken to mitigate the risk of a repeat of such accident and to ensure that the Company’s Safety Management System and our safe working procedures are strictly adhered to on all our vessels. In its report on the accident, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission of New Zealand (TAIC) endorsed our follow-up safety actions which they said negated their need to make any recommendations. We sincerely regret and were deeply saddened by the accident, and our thoughts continue to be with the family of the deceased cadet.

We aim to achieve an inspection deficiency rate of less than 1.0 by maintaining our ships to a high standard, as assessed by external Port State Control (PSC) inspections.

In 2016, our average deficiencies per inspection improved by 19% to 0.74.

72% of our Port State Control inspections found zero regulatory deficiencies (2015:70%).

These results are among the best in the industry, especially considering the scale of our activity in the Far East where defects are typically raised in larger numbers.

We sustained no navigational accidents in 2016. Our navigational performance has benefitted from an extensive engagement exercise which collected wide-ranging feedback from our ships’ officers and managers as well as companyspecific Bridge Team Management training for all our navigating officers, which we introduced in 2013. We encourage near-miss reporting which in 2016 accounted for 783 reports (2015: 539) through which officers and crew described safety incidents and near-misses, however minor, which serves as a valuable tool for the prevention of injury and loss.

Staff wellbeing ashore

We believe that exercising and staying fit is very important for all of us. In 2017, we will implement a global health, well being and fitness initiative to encourage our staff to be more physically active and spend more time outdoors.

Award-winning Safety Culture & Performance

We frequently receive industry recognition for our commitment to and performance in safety and related areas.

In June, we won the Hong Kong Marine Department’s “Best Performing Ship Management” award for outstanding performance in global port state control inspections – for the eighth time in nine years.

In September, we won the Safety Award at the Lloyd’s Global Awards 2016.

Operating in a highly regulated industry

Our workplace safety, health and engagement metrics follow best practices as defined by the industry and our peers. Shipping is a highly regulated industry and Pacific Basin meets all minimum requirements and in some cases exceeds requirements determined by local, regional and industry mandates and customer expectations.

Our commitment to Safety is manifested through (a) a proactive Pacific Basin Management System, (b) innovative homegrown initiatives and significant investment in seafarer training at sea and ashore to standards exceeding mandatory requirements, and (c) KPIs that are among the best in the industry.

Quality Assured

Our Pacific Basin Management System ashore and at sea conforms to the mandatory International Safety Management (ISM) Code. It is also certified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) to voluntary standards, including:

  • ISO 9001:2008 for our quality management system

  • ISO 14001:2004 for our environmental management system

  • OHSAS 18001:2007 for our occupational health & safety management system

Training & Development

We believe that our investment in the development and training of our staff at sea and ashore drives engagement, motivation and retention of our staff and is key to maximising their safety and productivity.

High-performance teamwork at Pacific Basin is vital to our success. We foster high crew standards and teamwork at sea, and our shore-based technical and operations managers are experienced former ship captains and chief engineers. This encourages a culture where problems are shared openly and officers can rely on the very best, consistent support from ashore.

Employees at Sea

We train our seafarers to standards equal to or exceeding those required by the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW).

This significant investment we make in seafarer training at sea and ashore drives our safety and external inspection performance indicators which are consistently among the best in the industry.

Here are a number of training and development investments we make to ensure a class-leading safety culture, service delivery and workplace fulfilment:

  • We host at least four officer training seminars annually at our crewing centres in Manila and Dalian. Through these two-day events, we engage with our “on-board managers” to reinforce our company policies, practices and values, review regulatory changes and industry developments, share safety and navigation-related experiences, and analyse industry incidents and develop preventive measures with the involvement of our crew and managers.

  • We conduct enhanced pre-joining briefings for all our sea staff.
  • Our experienced Masters and Chief Engineers voluntarily run training seminars for our ratings whilst both teachers and students are on shore-leave.

  • Our senior crewing managers review all staff’s training needs during appraisals to ensure skill gaps are identified and plugged and further development training is on offer.
  • We have run officer cadet recruitment and training schemes in our crewing centres in China since 2005, the Philippines since 2010 and in Hong Kong since 2013.
  • We train between one and four officer cadets on each of our ships.

  • We employ Marine & Safety Managers and Training Managers ashore who conduct fleet safety inspections, navigation audits and pre-joining briefings and provide shore-based support on marine and safety issues to our ships’ crews.

  • In addition to our Marine & Safety Managers ashore, we deploy 8 Fleet Training Managers to sail periodically on our owned vessels and offer our crew on-the-job training.
  • Our in-house technical department communicates shorebased advice and support to our ships’ staff to enhance the safety of our operations at sea and the consistency of our service quality.
  • We review incidents and near-misses, analyse root causes and develop and implement preventive measures, all of which we communicate back to our ships.
  • We promptly notify our ships of relevant regulatory changes and industry developments.
  • We circulate monthly alerts to our fleet with reminders of lessons learned from past accidents and injuries sustained on our ships.
  • Some of the investments we make in non-STCW training on-board, in classrooms and via computer include regular simulator-based training in Bridge Team Management and the types of ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display Information System) fitted on our ships, and Maritime Resource Management, in partnership with the Swedish Club. We cultivate leadership qualities through MRM training for both our shore-based and on-board managers, because we believe the success of our safety management system depends on the trained skills of our managers and how these leaders approach our safety management system’s implementation at sea, on shore and at the ship-shore interface.
  • Our crew conferences, training seminars and cadet programmes offer a clear path of career advancement within the ranks of our crew.

Employees ashore

Ashore, we make a concerted investment in staff training and leadership development at all levels of the organisation, which has resulted in enhanced productivity, engagement, loyalty and retention and a strong foundation for our succession planning. That investment ashore broadly takes the following forms:

  • Independently-run classroom and seminar-based training
  • On-the-job training, site visits and company visits
  • Understudy programmes for young executives
  • Social and team-building exercises promoting highperformance teamwork and a culture of high standards
  • Leadership and management training for high-potential employees identified as future leaders
  • Training in specialised management tools
  • Group-wide intranet connectivity, instant messaging and web-based video supporting real time information sharing

The Company has a healthy budget for training and development of shore-based staff, of which typically more than half receive some form of external training each year provided by local trainers or leading business schools internationally.

Our recruitment and training of international graduate and other young recruits in recent years has armed our teams with keen, talented executives who are now demonstrating their value in our offices around the world. In 2016, 12 young staff members attended our structured three-month trainee programme in which trainees cycle through our various departments, travel on ships, visit dry-docks, spend time with our shipping agents, shipbrokers and customers, and receive an in-depth experience in all facets of dry bulk shipping.

Labour Standards & Workplace Conditions

Through the commitment we make to our crews’ training, safety, motivation and overall job fulfilment, we benefit in return with increased retention of high-quality, loyal seafarers and safe operations.

Our labour standards, human rights practices and workplace conditions adhere to all conventions where our ships trade and our offices are located.

Our labour policies and minimum standards are determined with reference to the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) – the United Nations agency that shapes policies to promote decent working conditions for seafarers and other workers.

These ILO conventions relating to seafarers have been consolidated into a single, coherent instrument – the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (“MLC”) – which has been ratified by China and Hong Kong and has been incorporated in Hong Kong flag state legislation under Hong Kong CAP478 Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) and other ordinances. As such, the conventions are mandatory for us to follow in respect of our Hong Kong-flagged dry bulk ships.

Where ILO conventions have not been ratified by our flag state, we voluntarily comply with or exceed the requirements of such conventions by way of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) with the International Transport Federation (“ITF”)-affiliated seafarer unions. Pacific Basin was actively involved in drafting the current Hong Kong flag state CBA which applies to all Hong Kong employers of seafarers under the ITF.

We modernised our ship communications in 2016 with KVH’s mini-VSAT broadband service with enhanced data transfer to facilitate ship-to-shore crew training and support, and to enable our seafarers to stay in touch with family and friends.

Seafarers’ Bill of Rights

The Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) is an international agreement of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which sets out seafarers’ rights to decent conditions of work.

More than 100 pages long, the MLC 2006 sets minimum requirements for nearly every aspect of working and living conditions for seafarers such as:

  • freedom from forced labour
  • minimum age
  • prevention of child labour
  • conditions of employment
  • hours of work and rest
  • occupational safety & health
  • health protection & medical care
  • payment of wages
  • annual leave & repatriation
  • accommodation, food & catering
  • social protection
  • right to collective bargaining

  • Our compliance with ILO conventions and CBA terms is audited by Port State Control inspections

Ashore, our offices adhere to all relevant local workplace health and safety and related codes, offering our employees a safe, comfortable and productive work environment. This includes good lighting and air conditions, and ergonomic workstations.

We encourage a healthy balance between family life and work.

We keep our employees engaged through newsletters, information circulars, town hall meetings, an open-door policy, and multiple means of staying connected through a group-wide intranet, instant messaging and video conferencing systems.

Diversity & Equal Opportunity

We take pride in the diversity of our staff – including the diversity of cultures and age that exists among our shorebased staff comprising executives of 27 nationalities.

The gender and age distribution of our shore-based workforce is well-balanced.

31% of our shore-based staff have worked for Pacific Basin for over 10 years, which is testament to the job fulfilment at Pacific Basin over a period of significant growth.

Our high officer and crew retention rate speaks volumes about the job fulfilment we offer our seafarers.

We are caring, good humoured and fair, and treat everybody with dignity and respect, encouraging diversity of opinions and cultures.

Responsible Business Practices

In the pursuit of our vision, mission and objectives, we always seek to apply sound and internationally accepted business ethics and principles.

Our business principles cover a range of tenets and traits designed to maximise the trust, respect and friendship between the Company and its stakeholders, highlighting the fairness and responsibility with which we approach our business.

Our Vision, Mission & Business Principles

Our vision is to be a leading ship owner/operator in the dry bulk shipping space, and the first choice partner for customers and other stakeholders.

Our mission is to be the best in our field by continuously refining our business model, our service and our conduct in everything we do.

The guiding business principles that dictate our behaviours and actions:

  • We are passionate about our customers, our people, our business and our brand

  • We honour our commitments and value long-term

  • relationships over short-term gain

  • We offer a personalised, flexible, responsive and reliable service, and we look for ways to make it easier to do business with us

  • We target excellence and success through dedication and teamwork, and we see everyone in Pacific Basin as a corporate ambassador

  • We take a sustainable business approach and promote high standards of safety and environmental stewardship

  • We are caring, good humoured and fair, and treat everybody with dignity and respect, encouraging diversity of opinions and cultures


Our Code of Conduct prohibits our staff from offering or accepting bribes or engaging in fraud, forgery, collusion, anticompetitive behaviour or other forms of corruption.

We require our staff to abide fully by local anti-corruption laws such as the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance under Hong Kong law for staff in our Hong Kong headquarters. Similar anti-corruption laws (such as the UK Bribery Act 2010) and expectations apply to all our staff around the world.

We provide anti-corruption seminars run by external trainers for our Hong Kong staff on a rotational basis.

We were not in 2016, are not currently and have never been involved in any legal cases regarding corrupt practices.


We are committed to providing a workplace free of dishonest, illegal or discriminatory activities. As part of our efforts in this area, we have whistle-blowing procedures in place for seafarers, shore-based staff and external stakeholders to raise serious and genuine concerns, in confidence, following procedures that are published on our intranet (for our shore-based staff) and on our website (for external stakeholders).

Anti-Collusive Behaviour

We operate in highly competitive and fragmented markets and we do not collude with competitors or otherwise cooperate in a covert manner to gain unfair pricing advantage. The size and market share of our dry bulk fleet and the nature of our dry bulk freight activity are deemed not to breach competition regulations in any markets in which we are engaged.


Our ships operate globally and we engage in trades that comply with international laws and do not contravene international trade sanctions or relevant local or national laws.

Our customers are required not to ship illegal goods on our vessels, and our global chartering organisation follows the key rule of “knowing your customer and their business” which enhances our understanding of their cargo. Our customers are mainly reputable, blue-chip organisations who we know well. For newer potential customers, we may seek advice on their background, verbal and written references, formal counterparty risk appraisals, and we check if they appear on US, UK, EU and UN sanction lists.

We also consider where voyages are from and to, and monitor the layers of sanctions prevailing around the world so as not to risk exposure to criminal penalties.

There are also safety nets that give us additional comfort that trades we engage in do not violate relevant laws. Importantly, banks do not provide letters of credit or finance to, or otherwise transact with, customers if the cargo or trade breach sanctions, thus preventing the customer from executing a freight contract with us. A second check arises when the cargo and/or freight invoice is payable, at which point banking systems automatically vet the countries and counterparts involved in the transaction.

We know our customers and their business and adhere to trading practices that follow the letter of local, regional and international maritime law.

Responsible Procurement

Our Pacific Basin Management System manual requires that, in all but some exceptional circumstances, stores and spares for our fleet are purchased from approved suppliers who are vetted before approval and reviewed at regular intervals thereafter.

Our selection and continued support of suppliers is heavily influenced by the outcome of our reviews of their and their products’ performance affecting occupational health, safety, quality and the environment.

Examples of vetting criteria we require of our suppliers and subcontractors include, as appropriate:

In 2016, our procurement department’s list of vetted suppliers numbered approximately 240, of which over 160 suppliers were evaluated or re-evaluated in 2016.

Similarly, we purchase bunker fuel only from reputable and reliable suppliers, most of whom we have long term relationships with. We vet our bunker suppliers at least annually checking their financial position through website searches and through our network of contacts and other resources in the bunker and shipping industry.

We source no more than 30% of our annual fuel needs from any single supplier. We sourced over 80% of our fuel from 11 major bunker suppliers in 2016. The remainder was sourced from about 15 smaller suppliers for spot bunkering in remote ports.

Award-winning Safety & Quality at Sea

The history of our technical team stretches back well beyond the founding of Pacific Basin, as many of our technical management colleagues served at the venerable Jardine Ship Management which we acquired in 2000. Drawing on our technical team’s combined experience, a safety-first ethos and the prudent rules and guidelines enshrined in our Pacific Basin Management System, we are proud to be the stewards of best practices in technical, safety, quality and CSR management. We frequently receive industry recognition for our commitment to and performance in these areas, as well as other areas such as corporate governance and investor relations.

In 2016, we won three top global and regional industry awards for safety and best dry bulk ship operator including:

Lloyd’s List Global Awards 2016

  • Safety Award

Seatrade Maritime Awards Asia 2016

  • Safety Award

Lloyd’s List Asia Awards 2016

  • Dry Bulk Operator of the Year

Hong Kong Marine Department Award

  • Outstanding performance in Port State Control Inspections

Some notable other awards in recent years include:


My Annual Report

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