InterManager held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Seminar during London International Shipping Week on September 13 at the Lloyd’s building in the City of London.
Members and guests enjoyed a full morning’s programme of presentations and lunch before the members-only AGM and Executive Committee meetings.
During the opening session, chaired by Ian MacLean, attendees heard entertainingly from former InterManager President Roberto Giorgi of V.Ships about how his life experiences in his maritime career have influenced his approach to providing quality ship management services. In particular, Roberto stressed his desire for a no-blame culture in shipping.
We know from industry surveys that this blame culture and the criminalisation of our seafarers is adversely affecting our ability recruit good young people. Karin Orsel, CEO of the Management Facilities Group, then outlined how WISTA (the Women In Shipping Trade Association) is with the industry to change attitudes and attract more young people and women into our industry.
Captain Timothy Crowch of safety management company ASSM then gave us the benefit of his years of experience in the airline industry to demonstrate the necessity of standardisation of equipment throughout the whole of the shipping industry. He showed the meeting clearly how accidents can happen when organisations don’t focus on the organisational factors which can leave staff open to situations where they can make mistakes.
He also reminded us that when people are under pressure they revert to the familiar. Of course fatigue, particularly over long periods of time, can be risky both to individual seafarers and to business operation. Professor Mike Barnett of Warsash Maritime Academy tackled the issues of sleep deprivation and fatigue when he explained the Martha Project to us.
InterManager is proud to be supporting this important industry project and we urge our members to consider Mike’s plea for shipping companies to take part in his investigations for this ground-breaking project.
The first session closed with questions from the floor including one from a 22-year-old seafarer who spoke about a lack of social life onboard modern vessels.
Could modern communications technology help improve life for today’s seafarers? In our second session, chaired by George Hoyt, we heard from Filip Vanheer of Orange who told us “like it or not, I.T. is here to stay”.
He outlined the many opportunities for onboard communications and showed us the many areas where modern I.T. could streamline shipping processes – including its use in ECDIS, vessel monitoring and telemedicine, as well as crew communications, email and internet browsing. Urging us to ‘use it’ and ‘embrace it’, he pointed out I.T.’s value in improving crew performance and crew retention rates.
Is this value tangible? Roger Adamson of Stark Moore MacMillan then told us about his project with InterManager and Inmarsat which aims to identify where is the return on investment for maritime broadband technology.
What a view of the future he predicted – nano technology, new vessel fabrics and navigators wearing Google glasses! What a ‘brave new world’! He concluded: “Love it, hate it – just don’t dismiss it.”
Tomorrow’s sophisticated vessels will need intelligent crews and Roger Ringstad of Seagull gave us details of a pilot project InterManager is carrying out with his company to investigate the psychometric testing of seafarers with the aim of producing best practice guidelines. Ten InterManager member companies are taking part in this project, which aims to help us move away from the ‘lottery’ aspects of the recruitment process.
Our crew is our biggest asset and keeping them healthy at work was the subject of a thought-provoking talk from Dr Tony Abaya of Health Metrics. He gave us some interesting statistics on the reasons for seafarer repatriations and the most likely times during a voyage that these may happen. Many of these risks can be reduced through preventative measures and training.
That was the onboard considerations covered – but first we have to get our crews to the vessels and the importance of making the experience of crew travel a pleasant and successful one, as well as a cost effective one, was covered in a prompt presentation from Simon Moore of Griffin. He pointed out our duty of care, particularly in this era of MLC compliance.
A fascinating question and answer session followed with crew concerns at its heart.