Tag Archives: training

SHIPPING NEWS: Ship-breaking training institute on cards

With help from Norway, the government is going to set up a training institute for ship-breaking workers in a bid to make them aware of the occupational health hazards and reduce causalities in the yards, said  [Bangladesh’s] Industries Minister Dilip Barua yesterday.

He also said the government has prepared a draft policy for the ship-breaking industry and posted it on the website a month ago to get comments on it from mass people.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a workshop styled “Occupational safety and health at ship-breaking industry of Bangladesh: Current status and way forward” organised by Bangladesh Occupational Safety Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) and Asia Monitor Resource Centre at Senate Bhaban in Dhaka University.

The task of breaking ships is very risky and mostly workers from monga (seasonal and localised famine)-hit northern districts take up the work.

The minister, however, did not mention when and where the training institute will be built.

There are around 80 ship-breaking yards and around 50,000 workers work there, speakers said.

A total of 43 workers died and 92 others were injured in several accidents from 2008 to 2010 in the shipyards, they said.

On an average, seven to eight accidents took place in the shipyards almost everyday, but most of them remain unnoticed, they added.

Speakers also expressed their concern as such ships bear toxic substance, which may cause health hazard to the workers and environmental pollution in the long run.

They urged the government to be strict to bar import of such ships.

SM Morshed of OSHE chaired the workshop.

Source: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=211249

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SHIPPING | ISF Launches New ‘Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention’

The International Shipping Federation (ISF) has launched a new edition of its comprehensive ‘Guidelines on the IMO STCW Convention’.  The new edition has been extensively revised to take account of the substantial changes made to the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) by the IMO Diplomatic Conference in Manila, in June 2010.

ISF Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe, explained:

“Since the 1990s, when the STCW Convention was previously revised, the training of seafarers has been substantially overhauled, and the 2010 ‘Manila amendments’ will hopefully consolidate this improvement in standards.”

The new Guidelines explain in detail these amendments, which cover everything from enhanced refresher training for qualified seafarers to the introduction of standards of competence for the new grade of Able Seafarer in both the deck and engine departments.  Importantly, the 2010 amendments also introduce major changes to the IMO regulations concerning seafarers’ minimum rest hours, which are intended to prevent fatigue.  Given their significance to shipboard operations, an entirely new section of the Guidelines has been added to this edition to explain these new rules.

Mr. Hinchliffe added:

“The competence of seafarers is a critical factor in the safe and efficient operation merchant ships, and has a direct impact on the safety of life at sea and the protection of the marine environment.  Consequently it is imperative that the standards required by the STCW Convention, as amended in 2010, are put into effect as soon as possible.  It is hoped that the new edition of the ISF Guidelines will help achieve this objective and ensure that the highest standards of seafarer competence will continue to be maintained worldwide.”

The Manila amendments to the STCW Convention will enter into force on 1 January 2012, with full compliance required by 1 January 2017.

Source: http://www.marisec.org/pressreleases.htm#22march

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SHIPPING | Maritime cadets get first-hand exposure

Participants in The Bahamas Maritime Authority’s Cadet Corps Program visited the Bradford Marine facility yesterday for a practical application on what they have studied on the maritime industry.

Program instructor Clayton Curtis, said that with the increased interest from students in the program, it was important for them to see how the industry functions and the hard work it entails.

He explained that the purpose of the program is to expose high school students to various aspects of the shipping industry, underscoring the importance of shipping to The Bahamas.

“Being a maritime nation, we are archipelagic and The Bahamas has the third highest ship registration in the world. The country is strategically located on the cross roads linking east, west, north and south so shipping is very important to us,” Curtis said.

“The visit here at Bradford marine gives the cadets an opportunity to have a practical application to some of the theoretical information that I cover with them in the classroom, including areas in ship construction, seamanship navigation, first aid and firefighting.”

During the first year of the Maritime Cadet Program on the island, Curtis said that he had 12 students followed by 30 students the second year and this year in excess of 70 students.

“We have had an explosion of persons interested and this year because we only have two instructors, we had to turn away some students but the interest is definitely there and we hope that we can show the students how valuable maritime really is and expose them to training and various career opportunities.”

He noted that the industry is “virgin territory” and Bahamians, for some reason, are uncomfortable with the water and are unable to swim.

“Many of us do not see shipping as a viable career but those ships that are registered under the Bahamian flag need to be manned and staffed, so there are hundreds of shipping jobs out there if Bahamians want to leave home, work, see the world and get paid for it.”

General Manager for Bradford Marine Dan Romance presented the cadets with navigational tools and equipment for them to use during the course of their studies.

He said that he is in support of the program because it is an excellent opportunity for students to be a part of an industry which has such a tremendous impact on The Bahamas.

“We want to create an awareness of careers and the economic impact that marine related business have and the opportunities that are out there. We have cadets working with us and we have to make sure that we support them to keep the future bright.”

Yacht Broker, Mike Stafford said that there is a tremendous opportunity for young people coming out of school who are properly educated to become inducted into the industry and have a life long rewarding career.

During the Maritime Conference this year Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Efthimios Mitropoulos noted that the maritime industry may be in jeopardy if more seafarers are not recruited worldwide.

Mitropoulos said that by 2011 the navy officials will be short 40,000 seafarers and by 2013, 53,000.

“We may end up having beautiful ships, build in accordance with IMO for safety and environmental protection but we won’t have the people to man them. The shipping trade will suffer and the world economy will suffer so we have to act promptly to bring in the young people, fresh bloods to the maritime profession.”

To this end, Mitropoulos said that the IMO has launched a “Go to Sea” campaign to bring to the attention of young people, of the right calibre, that shipping and seafearing is a first-class career choice.

“Seafaring is a rewarding and stimulating profession. Seafarers are well paid. They can have long periods of rest. They have the opportunity to improve their career and climb the steps in a very short period of time and to be given the opportunity of great responsibility to command ships at a relatively young age,” he said.

“They also have the opportunity at a young age to leave the maritime profession and do something really interesting in the number of core related professions. So all of the prospects of a good career are there for those who decide to make shipping their career choice.”

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SAFETY | Why mooring is not money for old rope

Michael Grey | Lloyd’s List | 2010.10.18

MOORING and unmooring a ship is pretty routine stuff, you might think, undertaken by the crew every time it enters a port and leaves a berth. It is also one of the most labour intensive tasks that will be accomplished by the crew of the average vessel, especially these days when there are never quite enough people to do virtually anything. But it is also one of the most hazardous of tasks, which should be no surprise when it is considered that virtually all the powerful machinery that is used is wholly unfenced, there are frequently enormous stresses put on the ropes and wires and there is no alternative to having frail human beings in close proximity to it all.

And when accidents happen, there is almost no such thing as a ‘slight’ mooring injury, bodies being crushed or torn apart by flying ropes or wires after they have parted, or people being dragged to their deaths after they have somehow been caught up in wires or rotating machinery. A shipmate of mine told me that he had seen the frightful aftermath of a poor old quartermaster torn in three by an electric winch, when he had been adjusting the height of the gangway on his own. My chum had been one of the unfortunates who had to clear up the mess, and had been pretty traumatised by this gruesome task.

This evolution of mooring is made easier by good pilots, and infinitely safer aboard ships equipped with azimuthing propellers and powerful thrusters so that a ship can be placed safely alongside a berth and in position before mooring lines have to be run. Most people on most ships don’t have such luxury and will have to depend largely on ropes and wires, winches and capstans, to heave the ship against the berth and hold it securely against wind and tide, assisted perhaps by tugs (which involve towing wires under stress).

The UK P&I Club last year published a paper which gave some idea of the financial and human costs of accidents involving mooring equipment. In a 20 year period these had cost this one club alone, $34m. Clearly it is not something that can be regarded with equanimity. So the club’s team of inspectors were tasked to pay special attention to mooring arrangements, procedures and equipment on their visits to ships, and over a year examined 373 of them, which gives a pretty good profile of what is going on.

The survey did not reveal any horrendous scandals, and only 14% of the ships registered a ‘not satisfactory’ reaction with the inspectors. And while this might be a matter for some congratulation in the club’s entered fleet, there are some important points of vulnerability that have been exposed. Some of the deficiencies were quite elementary, but worryingly widespread. How many people have slipped on a wet or greasy steel deck? How easy is it to mix some sand into the deck coating or buy some non-slip paint to apply to mooring decks ? An awful lot of ships neglect this simple precaution.

I wrote at the outset that mooring operations are the most labour intensive aboard most ships, but it is quite clear that the cost cutters that have sliced through crewing scales have often failed to recognise that we have moved on from the old Tyneside tramps who would have two men and a dog at each end of a ship to tie it up.

Pilots are good judges of a crew’s capability, and they tell me that undermanned vessels have great difficulty coping. I was told of a capesize bulker where the crew was so small that they could only tie up one end at a time, the sweating sailors having to run the best part of a quarter mile between bow and stern, pausing to handle the springs en route. An average of four hands at each end doesn’t seem enough to me. Perhaps more worrying is the UK Club’s note about the growing number of incidents where untrained non-deck crew are being taken away from their main tasks of cooking and stewarding to help tie up ships and getting injured. A consequence of this undercrewing often sees the officer whose job is supervising the deck crew, taking part himself in the process, handling ropes or driving machinery, and this, all professionals agree, is profoundly wrong.

Until we have ships held in place by magnets, or suction clamps, there is always going to be some risk involved in mooring. And as the UK Club points out, there are a lot of risk mitigation measures that can be employed. Properly laid out machinery and good leads, snap back zones painted on the decks, and above all adequate training about rope and wire handling, that focuses on the dangers of a bight, or getting your gloves snagged by a wire. “Beware the bite of a bight” is a very necessary message that has come down through the years. The club’s advice is all sound, seamanlike and sensible, and can be added to useful instruction from such as the Oil Companies International Marine Forum and the Nautical Institute, which has published a lot on mooring in recent years. A close encounter with a broken mooring rope is a horrible way to die.


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MARITIME | Ship safety being sidelined by green agenda, warns DNV boss

Inadequate training and lack of attention to competence development becoming a worrying trend


BASIC principles of shipping safety are being sidelined by the environmental agenda and undermined by poor quality training, according to one of the world’s largest classification societies.

Addressing shipowning representatives in London today, Det Norske Veritas president Tor Svensen warned that inadequate training and an industry-wide lack attention to the human element and competence development had become a worrying trend in shipping operations that was unduly increasing risk.

He also questioned whether the political focus on environmental safety had distracted the industry to such a degree that safety was in danger of being downgraded as a priority.

“I am getting quite tired of seeing oily birds take priority,” Mr Svensen told the International Chamber of Shipping annual conference. “I know it is not politically correct to say so and I am not going to devalue the importance of oil pollution to animal life and fisheries, but the focus somehow is wrong here and we need to re-establish the balance between safety and environmental risk”.

“Zero tolerance to loss of human life is equally important as zero environmental damage”.

Internal analysis of statistics by DNV has revealed a clear upwards trend in the number of casualties directly related to navigational errors. Despite an historic fall in casualty statistics, the trend has now reversed to such a degree since the beginning of the decade that the frequency of serious accidents is now the same as was in 1988.

This is not the first time that DNV has issued the industry with a frank warning about declining safety standards. According to DNV statistics collated in 2008, collisions, groundings and contacts then accounted for 60% of the most costly incidents and estimates showed that the costs of those accidents had doubled. With navigational errors still showing no sign of declining two years on Mr Svensen’s latest caution to industry colleagues is likely to ring alarm bells, particularly within P&I Clubs, where Lloyd’s Lists understands several similar studies are producing similarly concerning results.

“Further statistical analysis is needed, but I am sounding a warning to the industry here,” Mr Svensen told Lloyd’s List following his key note speech. “I fully support all the efforts being made on the environment and I think it is a very important issue for shipping, but we must keep our eyes on the ball when it comes to safety. So much has already been undone on training”.

DNV officials have been logging concerns during audits and projects for shipping companies and according to Mr Svensen a worrying trend in declining standards has been identified. Much of the training currently on offer has been described by DNV as “poor quality” and only a limited amount of time is being spent on training. Shipping companies meanwhile are struggling to deliver training on ‘soft skills and only a handful of companies measure the effectiveness of their training.

“How many shipping companies actually regularly assess their senior officers in terms of competence and how many are asked to leave their job because they are not fulfilling expectations on competency? All this is standard in other industries and we need to reassess what tools we are using. I fear that we have lost some of our focus in general on human element and specifically competency.”

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YEAR OF THE SEAFARER | UK cadets forced to take second jobs

Unions estimate up to 10% of officer cadets have to take second jobs to survive

A SIGNIFICANT number of UK officer cadets are so short of money that they are taking second jobs to make ends meet during their training, according to a survey from seafarer union Nautilus International.

A spokesman for the union said the exact figure was not available, but estimated that 5-10% of a sample of 260 volunteered the information without being prompted. That might understate the extent of the phenomenon, as an additional number may not have mentioned the matter.

However, the research found that cadets are generally satisfied with their training and are optimistic about their career prospects, although some clearly take a more cynical view.

The research was designed to expand and update a similar survey carried out ten years ago, and the union intends to use the results to press the case for better terms and conditions with shipowners and training organisation.

The respondents represent around a quarter of all cadets currently in training in Britain and Ireland, and consisted of 25 questions covering such matters as pay, leave, accommodation, travel costs and uniforms.

Among the findings was wide disparity between the salaries on offer to the best paid cadets and the earnings of their less fortunate colleagues, with some support for the idea of a standardised wage.

One cadet wrote: “This creates a tier system amongst cadets and and puts the poorer ones at a disadvantage as they have to fit in other jobs to earn extra money and just to survive, whereas other cadets have no such need to do so.

“That leaves them more time for study and other advantageous activities relating to their training programme.”

Almost 80% of respondents said that the work they undertake at sea while training should be paid in line with the national minimum wage, and three-quarters think their pay should rise in line with officer salary hikes.

There were also complaints that some companies demand up to £3,000 if cadets drop out of their course, and there were a number of complaints about late payment.

Respondents attended ten different training colleagues and institutions. Almost 50% stated the quality of their training as good, while a further 37% described it as adequate and 13% said it was poor.

Another cadet complain about finding himself the only English speaker on a ship. “This is something that can greatly affect your training and experience as a cadet,” he wrote.

“I am aware that I am only on board for tax reasons and am unlikely to be offered a job. It’s a little bit of a morale killer.”

Another commented: “Working at McDonald’s would not have been so much fun, but at least for the last two years I would have been earning the minimum wage and not wasting my time earning a qualification that I will be hard pressed to use in an economically declining world that is growing ever more dependent on cheaper and ever less skilled foreign labourers.”


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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.”


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