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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

INTERTANKO Tanker Event – Poseidon Challenge session focuses on the human factor


The 2008 Poseidon Challenge sessions focused on achievements in continuous improvement and cooperation between shipping industry sectors.


Willem De Ruiter, Executive Director of the European Maritime Safety Agency, gave the shipping industry every encouragement to take the voluntary road rather than the regulatory road.


He pointed out that attempts made in the 1990s to focus on the voluntary way sank along with the Erika. “The soft approach using self regulation was put aside. But I am now please to be back on track with self regulation and proactivity. The Poseidon Challenge has clearly defined objectives (its zero goals – zero fatalities, zero pollutiojn, zero detentions) and I have no difficulty in wholeheartedly supporting it. We have our own goals but we are not brave enough to express them in these words.


However referring to the accident rate going up again, and using the Poseidon Challenge’s zero goals as a reference point, De Ruiter focused on the human element and the clear link between incidents going up as crew quality comes down; to the necessity for changing attitudes and perceptions by seafarers in the fight against pollution; and to a fairer, more targeted port state control system.


Chairman of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Nick Efthymiou, highlighted how a quality culture requires long-term commitment to expertise and a high standard of performance/execution. He added that not all links in the chain of responsibility have been equal to this. “The recruitment and training of high quality people is crucial. We must attract young people of the highest calibre. We will be firm allies in the Poseidon Challenge initiative.”


NITC Chairman Mohammad Souri also emphasised training, showcasing, as an example to others to follow, his company’s training department, its Caspian training centre and the impressive capacity on NITC tankers for nine cadets and one instructor. The company takes in 150 cadets a year.


Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), Tor Svensen, made a new Poseidon pledge on behalf of IACS. “IACS has agreed to make CO2 emissions from ships a top priority,” he said, adding that the Association is particularly focusing on pressing for the introduction by the IMO of CO2 indices for all transport modes; on transport efficiency rather than on individual ship emissions.


DNV Industry’s Senior Consultant in its Transport Solutions Division, Jens Rolfsen, gave a gripping interactive presentation to the so-called toolbox session aimed to demonstrate how the principles of continuous improvement can be incorporated into every company. He maintains that in fact human factors are involved in 100% of accidents and that is a matter of identifying which barrier has failed – human, technical or organisational. He demonstrated the Hawkins Model which shows that accidents involve the interaction between Liveware (people) and either Hardware, or Software (procedures), or Environment (physical and non-physical), or other Liveware (people).


He in particular pointed to standard airline pilot briefings which admit that the ‘captain’ can make mistakes and requires the ‘crew’ to let him know if he does … and if he does not pay attention to the warning, to take appropriate action. There is an expectation that people will challenge the mistakes of their superior. “This may not be the shipping culture, but it needs to be done.”


The next full Poseidon Challenge session will be held during INTERTANKO’s Tokyo Tanker Event in Spring 2009.


Contact: Bill Box