Soon a new batch of Mariners will go out to sea – newly graduated with their first watch in command of the bridge or first engine room watch/duty to look forward to.
They will have to use their training and judgment to follow the “ordinary practice of seamen” to keep them and their ships safe upon the seas.
Something that often gets overlooked as people progress on in their careers is why things are to be done the way that they are and how those things could be done better or more efficiently.
There are many things that are required to be done a certain way by regulation on different vessel types. Those things such as the requirement for safe working loads to be permanently marked on the fittings and lifting points of tankers – remains good practice on all vessel types.
During my time at sea, I’ve been on other types of vessels where things such as the marking of SWL wasn’t done. Because it wasn’t required, and they hadn’t been marked before in the vessels history, so they didn’t see it as necessary to mark them later on.
I don’t believe that things such as this should be regulated by law, but I do believe that in our industry the companies should share best practices, change their procedures and make improvements to their vessels based on recommendations from associations such as the OCIMF Ship Inspection Report Programme (SIRE) and the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Changing the operations of vessels to keep in mind the latest best practices will help to keep the seas safer for passengers, crew, cargo and the environment.
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If you are soon taking your exams and heading out to sea, may you have fair winds and following seas.