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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For those who do not already know, Alert is possibly the best place for the discussion of the human element issues in the marine industry. And almost the starting point is the clear fact that the ship must be built and designed having the user and operational tasks in mind, and also bearing in mind the special environmental conditions that are likely to be encountered throughout the service life of the vessel - simply because it makes sense. Experienced crew members need to be on hand during design and build to make sure that the vessel as well as its systems are fit for the intended purpose.

And it obviously makes sense to ensure that these people are familiar enough with the vessel they are intending to work on, before the vessel leaves the construction yard. International conventions and maritime industry guidelines require that the ships carry the right number of competent crew members to ensure safe operation of the ships and their systems, and there are some other things we shall consider... making sure that people involved in the design process and building of the ship have a real understanding the ways of the sea; it is also critically important to make sure that the operating instructions and handbooks on board are taking into account the possible difference in the nationalities, cultures and languages of the seafarers working on the ship... the present video film is intended to supplement this training booklet.

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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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Alert 20 - Training

   If you have visited us before, you would know that Alert focuses on the human element in the maritime industry. In this program we are going to consider three of the most important human element issues, namely education, training and career development. When it comes to the recruitment and training of seafarers, ship operators should adopt best industry standards and ensure that seafarers receive the training they need to carry out their duties. They must also be regularly updated, tested and drilled through various programs. The people involved in the front line of the shipping operations ashore must also be properly trained, adequately experienced, skilled and competent. But then so must be the tutors - it is essential that maritime college lecturers are properly qualified to teach the competencies for which they are employed to teach. They need to have the up-to-date understanding of the new technologies aboard ships and, of course, knowledge of the modern day ship operations. One of the problems today is that a gap sometimes exists between available skill levels and what the ship industry requires from the seafarers, which is why there is a need for the company to step in the training. Shore-based company training can be provided at in-house institutes and during annual seminars. On-job training can be conducted by auditing and training superintendents who can then ensure that any shore comments can be rectified through education and training. This video supplements the corresponding Alert Issue 20.

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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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Alert 18 - Health and Wellbeing

   Suppose the ship was completely automatic - no seafarers required, suppose the engines maintain themselves - no people required, and suppose all the cargo did load and discharge itself - untouched by human hands... Unlikely? Well, of course, it is. Technology may be playing an increasing role in the running of the vessel, but as we all know, how safely and how efficiently the ship is run, is all about people - and so is this issue of Alert. The plight of some seafarers has already been made international headlight. Badly paid, sometimes not paid at all, poor food and accommodation, working on ships managed by people having little or no regard to health, safety and wellbeing. The MLC 2006 is described by many as a milestone for the international maritime industry. Often referred to as the "seafarers' bill of rights", it addresses the significant issues pf minimum working age, maximum working hours, along with accommodation, health protection, food and catering, medical care, welfare and also social security matters. The Convention is also addressing the current health concerns, for example the effects of vibration and noise on seafarers, and is intended to apply worldwide, be easily understandable, and easy to update and enforce. This video supplements the Alert 18 issue.

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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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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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