“In the eyes of many experts, Safety Management Systems have actually stagnated because many DP’s have not received relevant training in management systems and safety management in particular. Often, it seems, the DP is unaware that he or she is lacking knowledge, until deficiencies come to light following a major incident when an external consultant of lawyer puts the Company SMS under the microscope” warn the Nauticxal Institute, inroducing the 14th International Command Seminar Series.
Of all the relationships across shipping, one of the most significant is that between the command team onboard, and the Designated Person (DP).
Reflecting this importance, The Nautical Institute 2008 International Command Seminar series is set to explore the expectations of those onboard and ashore, and of how companies and DP’s are managing these relationships and interactions.
The DP role was formally introduced by The International Safety Management (ISM) Code, with a number of very basic requirements. As such the DP links the Company and those on board, and must have access to the highest levels of management. The DP also monitors the safety and pollution prevention aspects of each ship, while ensuring adequate resources and shore-based support is applied, as required.
While such outline guidance is useful, it does not really help us in identifying who the ideal DP should be, the experience or qualifications which can have a positive impact, nor of the added value that can be generated by the role.
So what credentials, and skills does a DP require to perform properly? One positive development has been the requirements set out in IMO MSCMEPC7/Circ.6, but Section 5 of the ISM Code has long stressed the importance of continually updating qualifications, training and experience of the DP. Something that external auditors are increasingly viewing with interest, but something that internally is often overlooked.
Different companies have very different ideas, and very different people taking on the DP role, but what of the expectations and how these are managed?
The first of the International Command Seminar events is to take place in Antwerp on June 12-13 2008 – with speakers including Dr Phil Anderson, Angus Galbraith, Capt. P. Raes, and Pradeep Chawla, representing the views of owners, managers, insurers and the wider industry. This event also incorporates The Nautical Institute AGM.
The event is set to drive a great deal of debate, and the conclusions of this and the other events in the series will be collated and presented to the relevant authorities. Further information can be found at www.nautinst.org/command .
The series then moves to Panama in early September, Glasgow 9th October, then finally Hong Kong in early November.