In our special column this month, we are glad to host an interview with Mr. Adam Parnell, Director (Maritime), CHIRP, who says that the maritime career offers many opportunities for both personal and professional growth and advise us to start actively networking and invest in continuous learning. With regards to safety incident reporting, Mr. Parnell says that the picture picture is missing; in that regard, CHIRP Maritime are focusing on data-sharing partnerships.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Adam Parnell: I’ve always loved the sea – I spent my youth canoeing, dinghy sailing and scuba diving. Once I reached 19 I joined the Royal Navy, initially as an engineer, but later swapped to Deck officer so I could command ships. After 26 years in the Navy, I became a harbour master to keep that link with the sea – it’s in the blood, I think!
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
A.P.: Directing the CHIRP Maritime programme and advocating for seafarer safety is hugely rewarding. I’ve learned so much through investigating the reports that we receive through our confidential incident reporting system, and through engaging with international regulators and other maritime institutions to influence better safety outcomes.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
A.P.: That’s a hard one – a maritime career offers so many opportunities for personal and professional growth as well as some amazing life-experiences. I think the increasing diversity of people who are entering the profession is a real success story too (although there’s still a long way to go!)
S4S: Who is/was the most influential person/mentor to you & why?
A.P.: I learned a lot from those that I’ve been fortunate to work alongside, many of whom have remained lifelong friends. The best advice I’ve ever had was to push my limits and not be afraid of making mistakes, because failure can sometimes be the best teacher.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
A.P.: Never stop learning and bettering your own education. In particular, learn a second language – any language – it keeps your brain active, expands your cultural understanding and (bonus!) you might one day go somewhere where they speak it
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old-self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
A.P.: Don’t forget to take photographs to remind yourself of the amazing things you’ve done (and to convince others that you’re not making it all up!). And ignore the inner voice of self-doubt. And especially don’t ask about the goat skull in the curry. Just don’t.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
A.P.: I’ve started consciously and actively networking. I’ve found it very rewarding to connect people, particularly those working in different disciplines, because often their differing perspectives deliver that creative ‘spark’ when problem-solving.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
A.P.: Safety incident reporting is too fragmented – lots of organizations are doing it, but no-one is joining the dots and the bigger picture is missing. CHIRP Maritime are actively addressing that problem by developing inter-organizational data-sharing partnerships.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
A.P.: Whenever I’m facing a new challenge my mantra to myself is “How hard can it be?
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.