Monday, September 2, 2013

In the Wake of Another Bulk Freight Vessel Running Aground Education of All Crew May Help

New Easy to Understand Booklets Aim to Reduce Maritime Accidents
Shipping News Feature

UK – WORLDWIDE – Just last week we had to tell of yet another disaster involving a bulk freight carrier breaking up and sinking after running aground. Despite all the advances in modern technology such calamities can still be avoided sometimes only by the quick wits and knowledge of crew members and, recognising this, the protection and indemnity insurance specialist Shipowners’ P & I Club have come up with a common sense scheme in a bid to avoid such incidents in the future.

The Club has added two new titles to its already extensive range of booklets designed to help reduce risks throughout the maritime industries by raising operating standards through education. The latest publications, with their simple, concise and clear text and diagrams, are an essential tool for small vessel operators trading in coastal waters and harbours, and are designed to complement the usual statutory safe navigation rules documentation, more particularly they are specifically aimed at the ordinary crew member.

Both titles ‘Tides’ and ‘Towards Effective Navigation’ are available in .pdf format or hard copy and published in English, Bahasa and Thai with the latter also available in Spanish. Tides, as the title suggests, is intended to allow the seafarer to have a better understanding of how to undertake tidal calculations. Hari Subramaniam, Shipowners' Deputy Loss Prevention Manager, who has trained mariners for over 34 years and who compiled both booklets, explains:

"This [knowledge of tides] is a major contributing factor towards groundings where the majority of our Members’ vessels operate within coastal waters, harbours and ports. Our analysis of the claims causation has highlighted the fact that many recent grounding claims could have been avoided by simply following this basic technique.”

The second title is designed to ‘open the window’ on navigation in a very simple and easy to understand way. It is aimed primarily at those mariners who are not fully trained in the art of navigation and it is hoped that the booklet will offer them a better understanding of the subject. Shortfalls in such knowledge include positional and directional references; using gyro and magnetic compass; bearings; and reading charts. The booklet covers all of these, as well as providing an exhaustive reference list of nautical publications. Hari Subramaniam, again:

“Our Ship Inspection Programme often highlights the fact that crews have a limited understanding of the rudiments of basic navigation and we also see claims arising where poor navigation is a main contributing factor. A better understanding of the subject will hopefully go some way towards reducing the incidence of these claims.”