25.09.2015 Arhiva

Povodom Svjetskog dana pomorstva kojemu je ove godine naslovna tema "Maritime education and training", pročitajte govor Branka Berlana, bivšeg pomoćnika glavnog tajnika SPH za međunarodne odnose koji danas predstavlja ITF u Međunarodnoj pomorskoj organizaciji (IMO). 


Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

            I want to thank the Secretary General for inviting the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) to address you on this World Maritime Day event. The ITF represents about 700 unions with more than 4.5 million transport workers in 150 countries. The ITF maritime sector made up of seafarers and dockers has become an important voice for professionals in seafaring and determines ITF policies on their working and living conditions.  Both on the industrial side in negotiations with ship owners and on the regulatory and political side in international forums such as the IMO. 

The theme for this year’s World Maritime Day - “Maritime education and training” - has special significance to the ITF as we represent most of the 1.5 million seafarers engaged on the world’s merchant fleet. Seafarers regardless of nationality have a common institutional culture created by history and maritime customs and traditions, and shared experiences in following the sea, that shapes their world view. The IMO’s international standards for maritime training and watchkeeping play a major role in strengthening and shaping that institutional culture. The result is a great deal of solidarity and mutual support among the world’s seafarers who see themselves as a distinct international community.    

This afternoon session topic “Seafaring as a profession” and my particular subject, “Contribution and role of seafarers to the global economy” gives me opportunity to present seafarers' views on these important issues in context of World Maritime Day 2015.

            More than ninety percent of world trade is carried by ships manned and operated by our seafarers. The standard of living of most of the world’s population is dependent on the contributions of a relatively small handful of invisible seafarers that make the global economy possible. It is very common to say that the international maritime transportation system is the engine room of the global economy and the backbone of prosperity and development. I fully agree with that view and as a Chief Engineer I would add that seafarers are the “oil and fuel” that powers that engine.  And, that power is produced and maintained through the recruitment, education and training of seafarers.  Without their contribution efficient and safe maritime transportation and the continued globalization of the world’s economy would be unsustainable.

            With a workforce of 1.5 million, normal attrition alone will require an intake of between 60 to 75 thousand new seafarers a year. It is estimated that within the next ten years there will be a shortage of 40,000 officers and an equal number of ratings. The recruitment and retention of seafarers is consequently a major problem not only for the future viability of our industry and the global economy, but for maintaining the necessary professional standards needed for quality shipping. Effective recruitment and retention of seafarers needs to address not only initial education and training of new entrants to the industry but continuing education for professional development and adapting to new technology for existing seafarers. As well as enhanced working and living conditions at sea, and the development of potential career paths to the wider maritime infrastructure ashore.

            In the past the IMO has primarily focused on developing and improving regulations and measures for a ship’s safety and the way they are constructed, built, equipped and maintained. More recently the IMO has recognized that safety is not only a hardware and equipment problem. And, there is a need to place greater emphasis on the human element to avoid maritime casualties. This is an important change as it recognizes the role seafarers play in contributing to safer shipping and cleaner seas.  But, to address the human element issues necessary to recruit and retain the necessary workforce of competent seafarers in a holistic manner requires the cooperation of the IMO, its member States, ship owners and maritime labor.

            The IMO has provided the necessary international standards for seafarer education and training in the STCW Convention. But, the training costs of meeting those high standards is considerable in both time and money. The training costs can be a significant barrier to new entrants into the industry or a burden on existing seafarers seeking advancement.  In some instances our maritime unions operate training schools in cooperation with and funded by the ship owners. This cooperation between labor and management to address training and availability of seafarers should be given greater consideration and expanded.

            There is also a need for ship board training berths for cadets to gain the needed experience to meet the IMO standards for credentials. Training berths should be provided by ship owners as part of their responsibilities toward the industry’s need for future seafarers to man their ships. The expectation that the necessary pool of qualified seafarers will self-generate without support from the other stakeholders in the industry is unrealistic. The reluctance of some ship owners to provide training berths is an unintended consequence of the change in the Tonnage Measurement Convention that now include crew accommodation spaces in the tonnage used to calculate port charges.  Perhaps some more creative thinking by IMO on how the tonnage rules are implemented might help to solve this problem.

                        Technological changes will also affect the role of the seafarer and their education and training. Technology is not good or bad. It has both positive and negative consequences. But, what it does do is create uncertainty. Will the introduction of more advanced technology into shipboard operations deskill and diminish the traditional skills of seafarers? Or will it upgrade the seafarer’s role as tasks take on more complexity? Or even replace seafarers?  The answer probably lies in the intentions of those planning the technology driven systems.  

IMO is currently developing a strategic implementation plan for e-navigation. It has the potential to change the role of the navigator and bridge team in decision making regarding navigation and may alter the legal authority and responsibility of the master. The eventual role of e-navigation in the maritime industry will be based on policies made both here at the IMO and at the national level on the appropriate role of, and dependence on, technology in a critical safety sensitive environment.   Education and training issues, both on the ship and ashore, and the future role of the seafarer will be part of the debate on those policies.  As representatives of the human element we have views on the appropriate relationship between man and machine and what those policies should be. But, that is for discussion at another time.   

            Working conditions aboard ships is certainly another factor in the recruitment and retention of seafarers. It is generally recognized that fatigue is an endemic problem in the maritime industry that works 24/7 365 days a year. A fatigue impaired seafarer is a serious threat to safer shipping and cleaner seas. There are some who see the solution as primarily a management problem that can be solved through education and training. Those of us who work at sea realize that workload, fatigue and manning are obviously interrelated issues. We know that the most common cause of excessive fatigue are ships that require an operational workload that exceeds the available human resources in their manning levels.

While there is a place for education and training in fatigue management the primary focus should be on the availability of resources to manage.  As seafarers we appreciate the difficult task the IMO has accomplished in attempting to match shipboard manning levels to the demands of a ships operations.  The recent revision of the Principles of Minimum Safe Manning, the amendment to SOLAS to take those principles into account in setting manning levels, and revising the ISM Code to require operational level manning have all been major steps forward.  If properly implemented they have the potential to improve the quality of life of seafarers, reduce the number of fatigue related accidents that endanger seafarers, ships and the environment, and begin to level the competitive playing field between quality and substandard shipping. But poor implementation of good regulations is a persistent problem at IMO. The most effective tool for implementing standards is transparency and Port State Control.  More needs to be done to provide greater transparency in complying with workload, fatigue and manning related regulations, and bringing them under monitoring by Port State Control.

When thinking of maritime education and training we naturally think of seafarers. But, there is also a need to consider the training of shore side personnel who interface with ships and seafarers.  They frequently make decisions effecting seafarers and the operation of ships without adequate knowledge of the maritime industry, its operational needs, its customs and practices, and its regulations. This is particularly true in maritime security regimes and the interface between ships and port facilities. The ISPS Code envisioned a cooperative working relationship between the ship and the port facility that takes into account needed access for ships and seafarers within a port facility security regime. Unfortunately there is often a singular focus on the port facilities security with little regard for the operational needs of the ship and the seafarer’s necessity for contact with shore side services after weeks or months of confinement on a ship.  The ISPS Code and its conference resolutions as well as IMO guidance clearly outlines the appropriate relationship that should exist between port facilities and ships and seafarers within a security regime. There is a need for better education and training of port facility personnel on international regulations and guidance related to ships moored at port facilities and the seafarer’s rights to shore leave.

Maritime education and training should have elements that eventually permit a career path to the shore side of the broader maritime infrastructure. If we are to successfully attract young people into the ship side of the industry that requires long periods away from home and normal social contacts there is a need to develop a potential career path that leads to a possible future in the shore side of the maritime industry. There is a need within the broader maritime infrastructure ashore for the experience and skills gained at sea.

I would like to conclude by thanking all of you for listening to our comments. They are meant to be constructive.  We fully realize that the IMO is a deliberative body with many diverse interests being represented. But, there is always a remarkable spirit of cooperation at the IMO in seeking the appropriate balance between those sometimes conflicting interests.  And, the deep concern and consideration displayed by the members of the IMO for our seafarers’ wellbeing is greatly appreciate by the seafaring community.   

Tema Svjetskog pomorskog dana 2015. godine je "Pomorsko obrazovanje i osposobljavanje" . Tema je određena s ciljem skretanja pažnje na širi spektar pomorskog obrazovanja i osposobljavanja, posebno njihovu adekvatnost i kvalitetu, kao temelj sigurnog brodarstva koji treba sačuvati kvalitetu, praktične vještine i sposobnosti kvalificiranih ljudskih resursa, kako bi osigurala njegovu održivost.