SHIP MANNING | Training missing links seen

SEAFARERS are the missing link in environmental protection because they are rarely trained beyond minimum standards, a leading academic has warned. SEAFARERS are the missing link in environmental protection because they are rarely trained beyond minimum standards, a leading academic has warned.

Mandatory training and company programmes rarely give them the knowledge they need to exceed bare minimums, said Nickie Butt, senior lecturer in maritime studies at Southampton Solent University.

But Butt also told the Sustainable Ocean Summit in the UK that it was unfair to blame seafarers for their lack of knowledge, pointing out that education should be a fundamental driver to change.

“There is a major group of stakeholders which has very little knowledge [of ISM, MARPOL and STCW], and a very large gap exists between theoretical knowledge and the ability to put theory into action,” she told a workshop on training.

Butt surveyed 161 seafarers from a broad range of supplier nations to gauge their knowledge of marine environment protection requirements.

While 80% had heard of the MARPOL Special Areas, just 22% had heard of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas; and just a handful had heard of Marine Protected Areas; and even fewer Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRAs).

But asked to rank them in order, MEHRAs were placed first, despite these being national legislation in use only in Australia and the UK.

“Seafarers have got very limited knowledge of the regulations,” she added. “The clear implication is that unless they gain this through training, we cannot you expect them to understand the consequences.”

Source: SAFETY AT SEA

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