MarPoll: ‘We’re no longer training seafarers; we’re training astronauts’

Today Splash reveals the results of our last survey, while detailing the questions we are posing for the next online poll.

Called MarPoll, Splash’s topical shipping survey runs once a quarter with results also carried in sister title, Maritime CEO magazine.

With greenhouse gas emissions and the looming sulphur cap dominating headlines at the moment, the latest MarPoll has a strong environmental focus, which is sure to generate much debate. We also ask – among the nine questions posed – how much newbuild prices are set to rise or decline in the coming 18 months.

Full results of the previous MarPoll, which closed 10 days ago, are carried at the end of this article. With more than 600 votes cast one of the most hotly contested questions was the debate about whether the ship of the future will require more sophisticated skillsets from seafarers than is the case today. 79% of readers agreed with this statement, with many voters leaving memorable quotes, none more so than the following: “On many ocean voyages, it is easier for the astronauts of the ISS to get to safety on land than it is for seafarers. With less crew onboard, more sophisticated equipment, a high level of isolation and increased use of remote monitoring, we are no longer training seafarers; we are training astronauts.”

Another reader suggested the days of gut instinct for seafarers was coming to a close, writing: “All mariners are going to need to become more tech savvy, particularly to technologies. Mariners are going to have to use their senses and instincts more as a backup to the reliability and veracity of their equipment (particularly GPS and other positioning devices).”

This point of view was questioned however by another voter who wrote: “The more you leave control of vessels to a computer, the more you need to have a better A to Z understanding of the algorithms behind it. It is the classic example of voyage calculation gone wrong due to a wrong entry in the template. A seasoned professional should know after the result if the system has been fed something wrong or not – i.e. gut feeling and human eye will still need to overlook all processes and their results.”

Many felt that inevitably the numbers of crew onboard will decline in the future thanks to shore supported monitoring. The winners in this could well be the master and chief engineer who will likely get a higher pay grade.

To vote in the latest MarPoll takes just two minutes and there is no registration. To vote, click here.

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