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Web Alert: The importance of a good safety culture

08 November 2017

The Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) was named the best safety service of the year at the 2017 Safety at Sea awards, in recognition of the importance of learning from near miss reports and using the lessons to prevent future incidents. The Standard Club has been supporting CHIRP to create quarterly video bulletins, highlighting hazardous incidents which they have been notified of, and giving advice for minimising the risks. These videos provide excellent material for discussion during a ship's safety committee meeting.

Read more on the first seven bulletins in the series here.

This last bulletin for the year covers safety lessons learned from an attempted armed robbery, more issues relating to pilot boarding and a reminder of a good approach to analysing safety reports.

A ship was drifting outside port limits off the coast of Vietnam. Four fishing boats approached – two from astern and two on the port bow. The two astern boats attempted to distract the crew with questions about scrap items aboard while pirates boarded and attempted to force access into the foc’sle. Fortunately, the Officer of the Watch anticipated this, and the general alarm was sounded. The pirates fled without taking any property or causing any damage. While overall piracy rates have reduced, there are still incidents taking place and there is continuing concern over attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and in Southeast Asia. This case study highlights the importance of having a security plan, with all knowing their roles in response to a threat.

The bulletin highlights ongoing concerns regarding pilot boarding. Ship design should take into consideration the arrangements when the ship is laden or ballast. The broadcast shows an example of a new build which has not been designed effectively, and modifications have had to be made to make it fit for purpose, and another ship which has an extremely hazardous arrangement for pilot boarding, in contravention of SOLAS Regulation 23.

The Human Element is a key factor in safety onboard ship. Incidents can be caused by lack of capability, distractions, lack of communication, lack of situational awareness, complacency, poor safety culture or fatigue. In each of the examples presented, a near miss could have been a serious incident. Unsafe practices should be challenged and proper planning carried out. Near misses should be raised at safety committee meetings, and confidentially at help members understand the human element and how it affects their crew, The Standard Club supported the development of a new book 'Being Human in safety-critical organisations' which explores why humans make errors despite their training, and what safeguards can be put in place to minimise the risks. Read more here.

The CHIRP video bulletin is available here on YouTube or here via facebook.