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Saturday, September 22, 2018

INTERTANKO / INTERCARGO U.K. Members' Lunch Forum focused on the Human Element in Shipping

INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO U.K.-based members attended a luncheon seminar this week at the Associations’ offices in London, which focused on the Human Element in Shipping.  Presentations were made by Minerva Alfonso, INTERTANKO U.K. Regional Manager; Olivia Swift, PhD student at the Department of Anthropology Goldsmiths College, University of London; and Helen Jones, DNV Maritime Solutions' senior consultant.


Ms. Alfonso highlighted the main areas of work of INTERTANKO’s Human Element in Shipping Committee (HEiSC).  One of HEiSC’s task is to identify and review existing and ongoing industry initiatives, projects and efforts related to the role of the human element in shipping, as well as to participate, as appropriate, in such programmes.  HEiSC, together with ABS have developed a Human Element in Shipping Database, which will soon be available on the INTERTANKO website.  The database has 200 records drawn from 24 organisations, and focusing on 11 Topic Areas:  Accident / incidents; Fitness for duty; Habitability; Interpersonal interaction; Job aids; Management & leadership; Recruitment; Retention of staff; Training for crew; Training for officers; Workplace design.


As part of INTERTANKO’s policy on best practices, the Association encourages its members to provide cadet berths on their ships, and to provide for such accommodation when designing newbuildings.  Ms. Alfonso discussed the outcome of the confidential survey which HEiSC undertook to determine the present situation of cadet berth availability among the INTERTANKO membership.


One particular aspect of the HEiSC's work is the “Development of measures that attract and retain people with the highest quality marine skills and competencies”.  HEiSC is currently requesting members to complete an Officer Retention Survey to try and determine the [five] most common reasons given when an officer leaves a company.


Other initiatives of the HEiSC include:  examining i.a. the interaction of the human element with aspects of ship design and operation; the development of enhanced compliance cultures; and the development of an ILO 180 Best practice compliance guideline.


Alfonso’s presentation can be viewed here.


Ms. Swift’s presentation discussed so-called 'national traits' of Filipinos common within the maritime industry, within the Philippines' specific geographical and historical context. It then examined how these map onto the notion of professionalism, which it deconstructs, and argues that professionalism does not neatly equate with what makes for quality crew, which ultimately is what matters. Focusing on this latter concept of quality, Swift then gave examples of the relationship between the seafaring economy and the wider, domestic economies and social networks in which seafarers are embedded. She suggested that manipulating this relationship through vacation pay and company initiatives targeting seafarers' partners goes some way towards increasing financial dependency upon seafaring, as well as seafarers' more subjective, mental orientation and loyalty towards both company and the industry as a whole.


Swift’s presentation can be viewed here.


Ms. Jones’ paper focused on training and enhancing the compliance culture amongst seafarers,  including DNV's recent analysis of accident frequency, which covered tankers, large containerships, ro-ro cargo vessels and chemical carriers, and pointed to a reduction in the general level of experience as ships were crewed with more new recruits, retention rates declined and people were promoted faster.  Loss of experience among crews were also a "stress factor" for those who continually had to train new crew members.


Jones’ presentation can be viewed here.


Contact:  Minerva Alfonso