The 50 Inspiring Champions of the Blue MBA Class of 2023 – meet Kavi Diwan

Captain Kavi Diwan

Meet Kavi Diwan

Captain Kavi Diwan meets the challenges of ship vetting – and of studying for the Blue MBA

The last two years have seen tough challenges descend on all aspects of merchant shipping – including the practicalities of ensuring that vessels meet fundamental safety standards and the requirements of the best operators and charterers.

This is where the experience of marine professionals in the field of quality assurance, operations, and vetting, such as Captain Kavi Diwan comes in. In addition to working amid the rigorous demands of complying with current pandemic restrictions on personnel and on ships snarled up in port congestion and quarantine, Capt Diwan is nurturing his all-round analytical skills by participating in the Class of 2023 of the Executive MBA in Shipping & Logistics (the Blue MBA) at Copenhagen Business School.

Hong Kong-based Capt Diwan is a keen supporter and implementer of the Ship Inspection Report Programme (Sire for short) of the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) that underpins safety provisions for tankers. Since its introduction in 1993, more than 180,000 inspection reports globally have been submitted to Sire.

Used by charterers, terminal operators, and government bodies, the OCIMF inspection programme is viewed as a robust tanker risk assessment tool and its vessel inspection report database as invaluable.

Capt Diwan stresses the essential role of OCIMF safeguards in enhancing tanker safety and reducing incidents worldwide. As a vetting manager for a management company running 250 tankers, he is responsible for planning and guiding vessels to encourage safety culture on board. Safety of life at sea is the priority: survival ahead of the commercial.

Capt Diwan says that since the pandemic struck, it has been very difficult to arrange Sire inspections as most ports do not allow anyone to board vessels, and such prohibitions are ongoing. Among other considerations, there is a need to prevent the spread of the coronavirus between an inspector and a vessel crew.

In some instances, Sire inspections have to be done in advance to avoid untimely rejection of vessels, but this effectively increases the costs of the inspections. OCIMF has supported efforts to maintain the system by starting remote Sire inspections where it is entirely impracticable to carry out physical inspections because of conditions in trading regions. Some oil majors are easing the logjam by accepting vessels if there are valid reasons for not carrying out Sire inspection because of port delays and circumstances in the trading regions.

In August 2020, OCIMF issued a document outlining the process of remote inspections, which are voluntary.

Despite the problems, inspections were manageable with effective and advanced planning in close contact with the charterers and port agents, remarked Capt Diwan.

The Indian-educated mariner sailed for 14 years on oil, chemical and gas tankers, including three years as a master, before stepping ashore in 2015.

What attracted him to sign up to the Blue MBA? “I learned about the Blue MBA in 2010 through one of the alumni. I was fascinated and enthusiastic about joining the Blue MBA as it is the only executive MBA in the world completely related to shipping, and the best MBA in shipping to advance your career. Another key factor is that Copenhagen Business School is situated in Denmark, the ‘happiest’ country in the shipping financial hub! I had dreamed of joining the Blue MBA since I became a ship’s master. Finally, I accomplished that after a long wait of 10 years.”

He says that “the Blue MBA provides a wide vision of shipping starting from chartering, management, logistics, insurance, and law. It’s a holistic view of shipping with extensive research done for the modules, which helps individuals to expand their knowledge of the industry. It gives candidates a different perspective to use their expertise to grapple with the future development of shipping, especially in the power sector where decarbonisation is the major cause of concern. The kind of innovative ideas learned during the courses can help save the environment.”

Among immediate problems confronting the industry is the need to cope with the changing structure of the bunker sector and with continuing worries over bunker quality.

Capt Diwan is keenly aware of the background and implications. “The recent changes in the sulphur content, and mixing of fuels to reduce the sulphur content, have raised concerns for the owners and charterers over potential damage to machinery. The poor quality of bunkers being supplied at various ports around the world equally poses the risk of machinery damage.

“The best way to cope with this is, in the long run, to build the vessels for clean fuel, which will also help in protecting the environment. Plenty of vessels are being built and run nowadays on methanol and LNG. So, we need to go ahead with cleaner fuel in this cautious and patient manner.

“Charterers normally search for cheaper vessels, which implies poor-quality fuels. Owners and charterers should make a list of the ports and suppliers where they have previous experience of poor-quality fuels. Consultation with the testing laboratories is the best option as these have lists of suppliers and ports dispensing below-standard fuel, and in this way unsatisfactory supplies can be avoided.”

Capt Diwan has hands-on experience in this side of shipping in Fleet Management of Hong Kong, having headed operations of five bunkering barges stationed in Mauritius, Qatar, and Dubai.

Capt Diwan has spent most of his recent career with Fleet Management. Key achievements there have included Sire planning across the globe and voyage clearance for 125 vessels and implementing Tanker Management and Self-Assessment (TMSA), an OCIMF programme that enables companies to improve and measure their safety management systems.

During his time with Fleet Management, the number of ships under its management has grown from 350 to over 600 of various types.

Capt Diwan started his sea career in 2002 and rose to the rank of master in 2012, during which period he sailed on oil, chemical and gas tankers. At the beginning of 2015, he accepted a vetting and roving superintendent position for a firm in Houston where he was responsible for carrying out audits under the International Safety Management and International Ship and Port Facility Security codes, preparing vessels for vetting inspection, and giving guidance in tank cleaning for chemical cargoes.

In May 2016, he joined Fleet Management in Mumbai as a group head, involved in the planning and implementation of crew change for 50 tankers, and in charge of planning junior officers’ deployment for 150 tankers.

A previous post was as marine superintendent for Jakarta-based ownership company Soechi Tankers, formulating company policies, assessing compliance with Safety Management System provisions in all departments, and looking after vessel operational matters, He was the company’s focal point for oil major relationships; was engaged in the conversion of an aframax tanker into a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel; and took charge of two very large gas carriers.

Enthusiastic to extend and exchange his experience, he has taken part in industry forums on loss prevention, ship security and industry compliance.

His management philosophy? “I firmly believe that a positive synergy buoyed by teamwork, respect for one another, and open and transparent communication among team members can help an organisation reach its pinnacle.”