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Research team works towards safer and more cost-effective crewing

At this year’s World Maritime Day on 27 September, the International Maritime Organization will celebrate its 70th birthday by addressing challenges in maritime transport in order to work towards continued growth in the industry.

One of these challenges is crewing, which affects not only the cost of transport – accounting for about 50% of the operational expenses onboard – but more importantly the safety and welfare of seafarers themselves. To address this, Solent University senior research fellow Dr Kate Pike is leading a team to find out the best manning strategies to employ onboard a vessel, with a focus on keeping the top management in place for more than one voyage.

Kate says: “There’s been quite a lot of research in other industries highlighting the benefits of stable teams, but never in this context for the Merchant Navy.”
Research team member and founder of Impact Crew, Karen Passman, adds: “A high-performing senior crew are not only going to be more efficient in terms of their roles, but also in how they delegate to crew and the standards that they expect from their crew. This in turn will impact on the onboard culture and hopefully the adherence to protocols and safety standards.”

The three year project, sponsored by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the TK Foundation, began in April 2017 and is drawing upon best practice from stakeholders within the maritime industry.

The project will ultimately highlight the benefits and limitations of implementing either a fluid or a stable crewing strategy, and will provide recommendations on the best implementation of these strategies for the merchant shipping industry.

Karen hopes these recommendations will have a major impact: “If we’re able to prove that there are superior safety, maintenance and performance benefits, as well as long-term cost savings from one crewing strategy over another, we hope this in turn will cause ship owners and managers to more rigorously consider which crewing strategy they choose to adopt.”

The findings from the study will be announced at the Effective Crew Project Conference at the IMO headquarters in London on 31 January.
Source: Solent University

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