MCA, Ship Standards, Peter Boden

Cargoes Policy Lead (SEO)

Why did you choose the MCA?

I had been considering various Government roles and also looking at working nearer to the South Coast, which is where I was born and grew up and still have family, after many years in both London and overseas in Asia. Given my previous background and experience in liner shipping, maritime law and marine insurance the possibility to join the MCA in Southampton was a good fit.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

The possibility to make a positive impact and play a small part in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, namely environmental, is surely worth getting excited about.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

I have always had a connection in one way or another to the sea, as have my family through the generations. Shipping is one of the oldest continuous activities in the world and is often under the radar and poorly understood by the general public. By its very nature shipping has been multicultural and unifying for centuries. As the sea is a potentially hazardous environment, cooperation between peoples and nations is inevitable and the maritime community continues to have a unique spirit of togetherness which cuts through individualistic political agendas. The chance to work internationally with other Administrations through the IMO, the only United Nations body located outside of Mainland Europe or North America, is also quite unique and special.

What does your average working day look like?

As with many workplaces, a lot of communication is electronic these days through emails as well as the use of video calling. Modern IT equipment combined with the support of the MCA’s IT services means that a lot of our work can be delivered remotely from an internet connection if necessary. However, regular in person catch ups are also an important part of our Team’s coordination of tasks, development of ideas, swapping of advice and general wellbeing.

What is your background and how has this helped you in your current role?

I was born in Sussex, went to school in Hampshire and read Oriental Studies at Oxford as an Undergraduate. After university I spent several years working in Australia and China both in-house for a shipowner handling claims and managing liner trades through the South Pacific as well as at specialist marine insurance mutuals (P&I Clubs) managing claims and underwriting. Having completed the Graduate Diploma in Law in the UK (aka law conversion course) and having also undertaken some placements in law firms and studied some maritime law over the years, I have an insight into the operations and liability framework of the area which the MCA is primarily responsible for regulating.

What kind of projects do you have coming up?

Being responsible for MARPOL Annex II and related codes such as the IBC Code, the carriage of chemicals in bulk is a major subject area. In recent years the MCA cooperated with neighbouring states in Northern Europe to implement regulatory change through the IMO to tackle pollution originating from the tank washing of vessels that had been carrying vegetable oil cargoes. This was perfectly legal but in the colder European waters was regularly leading to fatty deposits washing up on beaches which were in some cases poisoning wildlife and pets. Having started with an initial selection of cargoes to target the next stage will be to collect further evidence and roll out a prohibition on further cargoes with the aim of continuous improvement of the marine environment.