14.07.2017
ALERT — ISSUE 20 — TRAINING

One more issue of Alert... This one is mainly dedicated to the education, training and development, as well as to the recognized occupational standards. In the past, most of the people going to the sea, did so because of their wish to become a captain of chief engineer of a vessel, while others just wanted to work at sea. Only few of those people had the aspirations towards building a career ashore.

Nowadays, there is a constantly increasing number of sophisticated and technically advanced vessels and systems which, when combined with the global labor force made up by so many nationalities, can definitely present serious challenges in the education of the seamen, their training and development of their careers. The STCW Code says that all seamen shall be duly qualified for the positions they work at on board, and the ISM Code obliges the Company to define the authority, responsibility and also the competence level required to be possessed by each of the crew members. In turn, all of the instructors and supervisors, and also assessors shall be "appropriately qualified".

However, these minimum sets are definitely not sufficient to cope with all systems on board many of the vessels today. That is why the ship owners and managers shall adopt the best shipping industry standards related to the recruitment and training of their employees... Best if supplemented with this short video.

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14.07.2017
ALERT — ISSUE 5 — QUALITY

Issue 5 of the Human Element bulletin contains the updates on such important matters as building the shipping company culture, a total quality lifecycle, investing in quality as investing in people, consolidating international standards of the maritime labor, corporate social responsibility in the today's maritime industry, PSC reports, sustainability reporting in the shipping sector, etc. We often define the term "quality" in the context of the customer-supplier relationship as a measurement of how a products or offered services meet or exceed customer's expectations. But, the quality of management in ship operations impacts on the way in which the master and his crew conduct their business.

Not all ship operators aspire to the highest levels of quality. Port State Control reports record that some shipowners are failing to comply with international conventions, such that the condition of the ship or the quality of its crew falls below the required standard. There are some companies whose focus is on profit - at the expense of quality and of a safety culture. Their compliance with regulations aspires only to the acceptable, particularly in respect of crew working and living conditions, safety of life at sea and accident prevention. Better if used together with this short video film addressing same topics.

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14.07.2017
ALERT — ISSUE 24 — DESIGN, BUILD, MAINTAIN

The twenty-fourth issue of Alert human element bulletin. The good design of the vessel performed bearing in mind the human element is considered critically important for the safe and also efficient operation of any vessel together with the systems, as well as to the health and safety of the crew members and their wellbeing.

The naval architects and designers of the shipboard systems shall be in close touch with the professionals working and living aboard vessels. They shall also have the understanding of the fact that nowadays the vessels are operating with the crews consisting of males and females, and people representing different nationalities, cultures and looking different - it actually means that the ship design features may be considered good for one group of crew members but will not necessarily be highly appreciated by others.

The designers shall also be able to perform the proper identification and provide clear descriptions of the social and physical concepts in which the products and systems they design is expected to be used, noting the nature of the work to be carried out and implications of the design they work on, for the crew members. They must have a clear and thorough understanding of the main principles of the HCD, standing for the human-centered design, addressed in the seventh issue of our bulletin...

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14.07.2017
ALERT 19 — RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION

Sorry, I am a bit depressed... I mean our industry, it is all doom and gloom, isn't it?.. Every time you pick up the paper, there is a story about the collision, an oil spill somewhere, pirates... You turn on TV and it seems that every day our seafarers are arrested and thrown into jail. You see what I mean? We could take a different view. The fact is shipping is responsible for over ninety percent of the world's trade.

It's a high-tech industry that opens huge opportunities. Yes, it has its problems, but in this issue of Alert let's go positive. There are some who criticize the state of shipping and life at sea today. We hear comments about over-regulation, too much paperwork and huge number of inspections, and so many other problems in the shipping industry.

And that is quite disappointing - because it is not as if young people do not want to go to sea, but clearly there are some concerns. One survey reveals that, although increasing workloads and paperwork, fatigue and criminalization are viewed as potential career killers, the modern seafarer is looking for greater contact with families and friends, above everything else.

Telephone access, in particular, would seem to be crucial. Voyage length and shore leave are also the factors that are very significant to the seafarers today... This video film supplements the corresponding issue of Alert 19 bulletin.

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14.07.2017
ALERT 21 — INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

If you are a regular reader of the Alert bulletins, you know that the information management is a subject we have visited many times before. When you consider the importance of the human element in safe running of ships communication between all stakeholders is crucial, and that requires management. And of course there is the human element in every information management system.

But have you ever wondered why you are asked to provide certain pieces of information and what is being done to it once you provide it? And what is the information management system, anyway? Well, information management is about the storage, processing, transmission and input/output of information. Putting it simply, that means making sure that information is presented and prepared at the right time to the right person and in a form that is immediately understood and relevant to the situation at hand. Seafarers, especially the Master and senior officers, have to deal with a lot of the paper-based logs and reporting forms.

These not only add to their work load but can also present opportunity to cause the error. Many shipping companies still rely on the handwritten logs. And this is an area where the technology can be put to good use - the electronic monitoring and reporting, for example... This video will supplement the 21st issue of the Alert bulletin.

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14.07.2017
ALERT 13 — FATIGUE

Alert Human Element - Issue 13, addressing the Fatigue and released under the motto "Time to wake up to the consequences of fatigue". Many accident investigation report nowadays will have fatigue stated as one of the main causes, such as the collision, or grounding, for instance, that have been easily caused by lack of attention by fatigued ship officer, his lack of sleep or excessive workload on top of his regular watchkeeping duties...

But minimum manning and watchkeeping patterns are not the only causes of fatigue. There is a whole variety of environmental or operational, physiological or psychological factors that could, in some way, affect not only health but also the performance of every person on board. The IMO Guidelines on Fatigue Mitigation and Management provide various practical ways of combating the fatigue - we would say that this is the essential reading for all those people involved in the design, construction, management and operation of ships.

And something else that should be seriously considered, is the USCG's Crew Endurance Management Program which identifies the factors that are affecting the crew's endurance and specific risks directly related to the operations of the vessel; and, there is a lot of another important work going on...This video supplements the Human Element bulletin on the same topic.

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14.07.2017
ALERT 17 — ACCIDENTS

Well, we do not know actually who suggested that a life on the Ocean Wave was easy but that was not a full picture. It is quite tough, there are maintenance schedules to stick to, and there is pressure absolutely everywhere, and that is when accidents can happen. But you know the most common types of accidents on board - people slipping, tripping and falling.

And we are going to be talking a lot about that in this issue of Alert. But it is not surprising that slips, trips and falls are the leading causes of accidents on board. Let us just think about the environment for a moment. There is bad weather, for a start, and you know what that means - lots of pitching and rolling. Then we have got wet and slippery deck surfaces, oil, grease, poor lighting, high masts, funnels, bulkheads, moving objects - these are all hazards that may cause slips, trips and falls, some of them being serious, and even fatal.

Of course, it is easy enough to blame all these accidents to the human error, such as not following proper procedures or poor housekeeping, or not following the simple rule - one hand for a ship and one for yourself... This video is to supplement the associated booklet that addresses the same important topic.

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14.07.2017
ALERT 16 — ROGUE BEHAVIOUR

It appears that today complacency is there among the most serous issues and it is yet to be fully addressed. And this is because the complacency could easily result in creation of the culture of non-compliance and non-professional behavior, sometimes referred to as rogue behavior. The term rogue behavior can be defined as willingly or unnecessarily failing to comply with existing guidelines, or taking unwanted risks.

It can manifest itself in a variety of ways, and some of the rogue behavior inducing conditions are quite easily recognizable - such as boredom, complacency, familiarity, ignorance, risk taking... Others may not be so easy to recognize - apathy, assumptions, dumping down, invulnerability, predictability... Complacency if certainly considered a major factor in marine accidents. When we do something for the very first time, we concentrate, we are aware of the hazards. But when we have done the same thing thousands times without anything going wrong, we lose that stimulation. Seafarers work in a hard and unforgiving environment.

Things still do go wrong, and people do make mistakes, equipment does fail. It is therefore critically sensitive to put the required safety barriers in place so that these failures do not result in a catastrophe... This short but interesting and very useful video film was prepared to supplement the Human Element bulletin issue No. 16.

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