Seafarers’ professional development is being impeded by an over-reliance on monitoring, technology and a “tick-box culture” of regulatory compliance, the secretary-general of Intermanager has 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,” Capt. Kuba Szymanski told the Crew Connect Europe conference in Copenhagen, of which he was also chairman.
“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,” he continued.
Seafarers must be encouraged to use their initiative in developing their skills and not rely solely on crew managers, the conference heard.
Captain Szymanski’s comments come at a time when shipowners, managers and seafarers have just under seven months left to implement the revised Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) guidelines before December 31.
Existing seafarers holding certificates of competency (COC) and other certificates have until the end of the year to make sure they meet the requirements of the so-called Manila amendments to the STCW Convention, which came into force on January 1, 2012.
In related news, charity the Sailors’ Society has launched a new iPhone and Android app for aimed at helping seafarers improve their health and well-being while at sea.
The ‘Wellness at Sea’ app contains interactive challenges related to social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual health, and provides practical information such as local maritime welfare services and ship tracking data.
“Sailors’ Society’s Wellness at Sea coaching programme has been well received by the industry and we were keen to take it to the next level by putting the tools to enhance and monitor well-being in the hands of seafarers themselves,” said Sandra Welch, Sailors’ Society’s deputy chief executive.