Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Walport video highlights dangers of ‘human element’

Posted on | March 23, 2013 | 1 Comment

An exhausted Mate, with real fatigue kicked in and at the end of his tether, bawls out the ordinary seaman who appears dimmer than he should be (although he is barely qualified to be taking the lookout because all the qualified hands were “out of hours”).

A Second Mate taking a pierhead jump because the regular officer has been landed sick, bluffing everyone with his competence and capability with the ECDIS he is using to transfer the course onto, but in reality, dangerously clueless.

A Master, tired and preoccupied with getting his ship back onto schedule, driven on by the urgings of the Vessel Operator to get to the next port on time, despite the lateness of the earlier departure to take latecoming cargo at the insistence of the same driven individual ashore in the Rotterdam office.

Seems familiar in any way? Most will recognise this scenario as wholly authentic, but most fortunately will not end up, as this lot did, with the ship on a sandbank , where she had run at 20 knots.

This is the plot of a brilliant training film “The Human Element” – produced by Walport and Pukka Films, which explores the background to this sorry and expensive mess, as viewed by the accident investigator.

Many will have read the ground-breaking book “The Human Element – a guide to behaviour in the shipping industry” by Dik Gregory and Paul Shanahan, which was supported by the UK MCA, The Standard Club, BP Shipping and Teekay Marine Services, which invited its readers to consider something other than blame after an accident.

The film is cleverly derived from the book, with a melange of lessons drawn from a number of the actual cases it described, rolled into this one eminently avoidable incident.

The authors of the book have produced an accompanying training booklet, with advice on how to get the best from the film. It has important lessons for those afloat, and indeed, those ashore. “By God – that makes me think!” – commented a well known fleet manager sitting within earshot during the screening.

So it should. Well acted by professionals (with the crew of the Wilhelmsen car carrier – which didn’t really run aground – helping out, this is much shorter than Titanic but ten times more use. for more about it.


One Response to “Walport video highlights dangers of ‘human element’”

  1. Big Jim
    June 22nd, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

    Most vessel operators believe that Minimum Manning is a budget plan…

    I work on government owned ships that are repeatedly operated at or below minimum manning because they can get away with it through the use of waivers.

    It won’t be until someone dies, that someone on the regulatory end will care.

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