Sep 062008

It is safe to say that automatically/remote control ships will become a reality…

…Just as soon as head office can figure who to blame when something goes wrong. In the meantime the focus id on the maritime ‘wetware’, the people who sail and navigate ships, a more than ommon element in safety issues and one that the  Nautical Institute’s International Maritime Human Element Bulletin project tackles very well in its regular Alert bulletins.

Says Editor David Squire:

“There has been the odd experiment with remote-controlled ships but to date nobody has successfully operated ships without people. People are an investment, and shouldn’t be regarded as a cost; they are huge contributors to the success of a voyage and should be treated as such.

Issue No.18 of Alert! the International Maritime Human Element Bulletin gets down to brass tacks on the issue of people, pointing out quite bluntly: “look after your people …and they will look after you.”

It is a message to shipping company management, pointing out that it is they who hold the keys to the employment of well motivated, highly skilled and productive people who can make such a difference aboard ship. This whole issue of Alert! reinforces this important message, which ought to be a matter of common sense, but is, regrettably sometimes neglected or lost amidst other ship management priorities.

Five important signs of a good management with proactive people policies are to be found in the lead article in this issue, which can serve as a “test” for anyone aspiring to ship and operational management. It is not something that happens by accident, but as a result of a company having actively pursued policies which empower and encourage people, so as to get the best out of them.

This issue also provides readers with an A-Z guide to seafarer health, safety and wellbeing, which is also something that ought to be fundamental to any shipping company aspiring to good management practice that keeps people as a priority.

Other informative articles point out the importance of the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention, the need for a proactive attitude to crisis preparedness, seafarer’s welfare programmes, some helpful hints on a holistic attitude to seafaring employees’ welfare, a personal view of what makes a good working atmosphere aboard ship and guidance of a healthy lifestyle at sea.

These are articles focussing on people…and we should not be ashamed of this single minded approach in this issue.

Through the Alert! Project, we seek to represent the views of all sectors of the maritime industry – contributions for the Bulletin, letters to the editor and articles and papers for the website database are always welcome.”
We’ll be looking at the latest edition in a future post.In the meantime get your own copy here.

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