Many people are affected by maritime safety. A safe and efficient shipping network determines a significant part of the global population safety. The international management code for the safe operation of ships and pollution prevention (ISM code) was adopted in 1993 and was made compulsory in 1998. This code sets up safety-management goals and calls for safety management system to be established by the ship-owners or ship managers. Further, the company is required to develop a way of achieving the set goals; which include making available necessary resources required to offer support for the set objectives. The code also requires the company to assign a designated person or persons in the highest management level more direct responsibility to oversee the safety measures. Documented and compiled safety implementation procedures are required to be included in the safety management manual, and a copy kept aboard. Implementation of safety rules and regulation has brought significant effects on the safety on the shipboard. The effects will be seen below.
Captains are trained to improve their driving skills. General safety has improved through the process of combination of technology, training and cultural improvements, full adoption of regulation, and through new construction as well as new design techniques. This improvement and change measures have been a catalyzed by the past marine experiences, such as the sinking of Titanic. The advanced training for sea captains incorporates safety response measures that will help to reduce accidents and environmental pollution. This has led to significant reduced number of marine and marine related accidents. During training, qualification is not the only consideration, but also experience is considered when assessing senior fleet officers.
Health surveillance provision has been put in place by the employers in order to identify and detect early signs of ill health characteristics that a worker can be exposed to in the course of performing his/her duties. This method has enabled individuals to be protected from harm or further harm, and allow immediate action to be taken to prevent it from becoming major problem.
Establishment and adoption of pollution reduction methods- This is as a result of the industry itself setting up self-regulating standards such us, establishment of vetting systems that set higher standard of oil tanker owners forcing them to adopt safety standard regulations. This has led to improvement in reducing the environmental disasters like that caused by EXXON VALDEZ.
Development of international seaborne trade technology and design in focus- The key driver to the digital world is technology. Introduction of devices like gyrocompasses and global positioning systems (GPS) have reduced accidents through considerable improved position awareness, which has been made possible by improved access to real time information. In addition to this, rescue and search operations efforts have been simplified by use of satellite assistance location finding techniques such as distress beacons and radar transponders.
How implementation of rules and regulations can be improved in order to minimize risks on board ships
Implementation of safety rules can be easily achieved by developing a safety culture. This culture requires every individual ashore and in the sea to understand and appreciate the safety culture. This culture is important to the shipping company as it encourages and motivates the personnel to understand the importance and the need for making safety a priority. Some of developed safety culture that enhances safety rules and regulation implementation easy are;
Introduction of self-regulation culture
This is done by developing and putting more emphasis on internal safety management safety, and the companies and personnel will be required to establish a performance target, which it will be working towards achieving it. Self-regulatory policy requires an individual, whether ashore or at the sea to act responsibly in order to improve overall safety instead of leaving the responsibility to others.
Culture of punishment
This will be important in solving problems that arise after an accident, for instance, damage of the ship, personal injury or damage of cargo and there is no one to blame for the damages. The threat of punishment will influence individual behavior and make them be responsible in navigation safety, lest he/she will be held liable for the damages.
Developing culture of compliance
This is done by giving the industry regulations in the form of prescriptions, which must be followed when constructing the ship and when the ship is in the sea. This is the advanced stage of safety measures since it is designed to prevent danger before actual harm occurs.
Management commitment on safety
Commitment from the top management on the issue of safety, in order to warrant the safety of its workers makes it easy to implement safety regulation and rules. This will motivate the workers to follow the suit of their leaders.
Measuring and monitoring the current safety behavior
This is essential so that the management can know weakness of their safety system and make the corrections on the identified weaknesses.
Complacency is the feeling one has when they are satisfied with their performance. It is the false sense of security; feelings calm and self-satisfaction with your own achievement or abilities that will prevent you from working harder than you have already done. Complacency can affect any person regardless of the occupation, whereby a person feels that his/her skill and knowledge is in doubt by the superiors.
Challenges involved with complacency aboard ships Management Complacency
Proper communication between the ship owners and the crew plays an important role of management. Bad communication between the Ship Company and management with ship crew results to management complacency. This form of communication creates a bad relationship between the crew and the ship owners/management. In this situation, the crew feels intimidated, criticized and feels that they has not been given hearing by the management. This leads to reduced active knowledge and a gradual suppression of motivation and creativity; even though the crew is endowed with knowledge and creativity, they are not motivated to use them. The crewmember is becoming passive and active participation in information exchange weakens or is lost. This situation leads to a state where members of the crew on board stop consulting or getting information from other crewmembers. The ultimate result of this is suppression of one’s knowledge and skills to non-usable form. In the state of suppressed conscience and newly formed attitude, individuals stop utilizing potential knowledge resource, leading to the activation of management complacency knowledge.
An example of management complacency can be experienced when the speed of the ship is not reduced in order to maintain the ETA that is not matching with traffic or weather condition, and some instances which involve technical conditions; behavior which may arise from the influence to satisfy the management or out of management influence.
Leadership Complacency arises due to poor communication between the crew and the master. This is witnessed on the master behavior, which has developed into attitude, which unconsciously creates a tense and uncomfortable environment for the crew. This creates a negative communication environment. The master’s attitude towards the crew becomes dominant, repressive and intolerable. This notion makes the crew feel insufficient, intimidated, criticized and unimportant. This affects the general environment where the crew no longer support their master by using their skills, experience and knowledge; rather, their knowledge and experience become suppressed by the circumstances behavior and attitude. For instance, a crewmember can perform an action in order to follow the master’s wrong directive with pleasure without taking any precautions. In such circumstances, a positive relationship between the crew and the master is totally lost. Therefore, the master’s behavior provokes the crew negative reaction when an emergency arises. The crewmembers remain tacit even if they realize that their master has made a wrong decision or did a wrong action unconsciously. In connection with this, ruthless management style is developed unconsciously by the authority resulting to counter-productive measures of providing security of the cargo, ship and its crew.
Leadership complacency brings about disastrous consequences caused by authority failure and wrong decisions. For example, in majority maritime accident analysis, the respective crew acted in accordance to the master’s decision, even in situations where the crew could point out the danger, but could not act contrary. The tankers Torrey Canyon presents a clear example of accidents that occurred as a result of uncritical management style.
Promotion and position taking in an officer’s profession plays a major role in the Self-Induced Complacency. An officer expectation is to be promoted through the positions of chief-officer to the top position of chief engineer, and this brings along responsibilities and respect within the company. Some habits and attitudes follow along personnel development policies, which a seaman must fulfill in order to be promoted.
For example, a chief officer who meets all the requirements for promotion to be the ship's master, is denied promotion after many years of excellent work and performance, while his partner possessing the same qualification and experience is promoted. Two scenarios can be witnessed; either, the chief officer can work more hard professionally in order to please the bosses and stand a chance of being promoted, or the chief officer will start acting contrary to what is expected of him; the chief officer does not fully use the knowledge and skills in regards to the navigation safety. Such reactions are a form of protest against the un-appreciation of the chief officer’s efforts, experiences and skills.
The Maritime Labor Convention (MLC 2006)
The Maritime Labor Convention (MLC 2006) is an international labor convention that establishes the minimum living and working standards for all the people working in the ships flying flags for accepting countries. This organization was adopted by governments, worker representatives and employers during the international labor organization in 2006. It comprehensively indicates seafarer's rights to good working environment, and secure ship owner’s economic interest through fair competition.
For the implementation of MLC 2006 in relation to ensuring compliance, the convention contains important enforcement components, which is based on the flag state ship inspection and certification system, and port state control.
Since the training is important in ensuring consistency and quality in inspection system, the MLC, 2006 has deployed well-trained and equipped inspectors across the world to ensure that the inspection process is carried on effectively and efficiently. The MLC 2006 convention also promoted effective implementation of its law and other measures by taking its inspection activity to the national level.
The MLC, 2006 through international labor organizations is working closely with national governments, ship-owners, seafarers and other stakeholders in the maritime industry to implement its goals.
MLC 2006 authorize delegation of flag state authority to recognized organizations
DOLE and DOTC met to sign an agreement to assist in the effective implementation of the maritime labor convention of 2006. The two bodies agreed to integrate the government’s activities towards implementing and complying with the latter. The agreement clarifies the role of such recognized bodies in their commitment to implement the convention's objectives of promoting and protecting workers’ rights and welfare and maintaining peace in the industry by promoting a good relationship between employers and workers.
The other issue of delegating authority to recognized organizations is to promote, develop and to link transportation and communication network systems, which are safe, efficient, and reliable.
The Flag State delegate authority of MLC 2006 compliance
The Flag State delegation of authority of MLC 2006 compliance to Recognized Organizations is justified because of the following reasons;
Delegation of authority to the recognized organization will help in promoting international cooperation, as globalized industries can operate constructively, by jointly addressing common challenges that undermine the working conditions of the seafarers and ensure fair competition to the ship-owners.
Incorporating such organizations will make it simpler to implement the objectives of the convention since such organizations are recognized by national governments around the world. In addition, each organization can be assigned a specific task to perform.
Delegating authority to recognized bodies is used to prove acknowledgement and acceptance to implement the obligation of the convention. In addition, since it can take time to implement the MLC 2006, the delegation of authority will make it simpler and faster.
Authority delegation assists the MLC, 2006 to run the organization obligation effectively and efficiently. This is because, the bodies delegated to perform implementation role, work on different global region and therefore reduce the burden, which could have been experienced if one body was left to oversee and implement the whole process.
Benefits of delegating MLC, 2006 authority
Delegation of authority makes it easier for different countries to accept and adopt the convention rules and regulation since the implementers comprise the country's government. MLC, 2006 policies, become acceptable and the countries will be able to take the initiative willingly and hence implement it.
Another benefit MLC, 2006 will get by delegating its authority is better decision making by the delegated government. The latter can be able to make assessment of the situation and from the facts make better and exclusive judgment.
Quick Decision making is warranted through effective delegation. MLC, 2006 decisions, can be made by the delegated body and, therefore, problems are solved very fast, than when a convention agent has to travel to the country where the problem is.
Reduced workload for the MLC, 2006 convention- The MLC, 2006 will not need to employ people in different countries to oversee that, its recommended policies and regulation are effectively implemented. The governments of different countries perform the delegated duties.
Shortcomings of delegating MLC, 2006 authority
Failure of the countries delegated to show accountability- Some delegated countries might not get committed to implementing MLC, 2006 convention policies effectively. Lack of accountability may limit the way in which the responsibilities assigned are discharged.
Lack of control over delegated duties- The MLC, 2006 might lose control over the delegated authority; the convention cannot exercise sufficient control over them.
Incompetence by some states to execute delegated responsibilities- Some countries will be willing to perform some duties on behalf of the MLC, 2006 but might lack the resources or equipment to execute the task delegated to them.
Delegation needs follow up- The MLC, 2006 will need to send an agent or representatives to a different country to oversee or monitor how the country’s government is working progressing in implementing the regulation passed by the convention.
The delegated body may put more focus on their internal country interest at the expense of delegated work. This makes it difficult for the MLC, 2006 policies implementation.
The establishment of MLC, 2006 is a historical event to the international labor standards. To ensure legal implementation and ratification of the MLC obligations, it requires adoption by governments and ship-owners. International labor organization works hand in hand with the stakeholders in the maritime industry to ensure that the obligations of MLC, 2006 are achieved.
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