Competency should outweigh compliance say industry stakeholders

Seafarer competence is vital to the industry rather than compliance alone, industry experts warned delegates at the Crew Connect Europe conference in Copenhagen this week.

Ship managers and other shipping stakeholders warned against compliance as a training exercise amid fears the industry is moving towards a tick-box culture, in the build up to the implementation of the revised Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) guidelines.

Delegates also heard how seafarers must be encouraged to use their initiative in developing their skills and not rely solely on crew managers.

Capt. Kuba Szymanski, Secretary-General of InterManager and chairman of the two day conference, told the 120 delegates that there is too much expectation on seafarers.

He said: “We have overloaded our seafarers already with menial tasks and keep demanding more and more from them. Instead of monitoring our seafarers, we should be encouraging them to be thinking and solving problems.

“We should leave computers for their purpose and stop letting IT be central to how seafarers are monitored. It is time we get the technology to work for the seafarers not against them.”

The human element continued its theme as speakers highlighted the importance of strategy and business goals linked to competence, and how these need to be embraced by seafarers in order to guarantee a cohesive operation.