In an exclusive interview to SAFETY4SEA, Mr. Manit Chander, CEO, HiLo Maritime Risk Management, highlights that a step change in maritime digitalization and data-driven decision making is vital to strengthen safety culture.
urthermore, Mr Chander notes that the new generation of seafarers coming in, do not work in the same way as the seafarers before them, so we will have to change our approach. In that regard, industry needs a new, more agile approach to training, greater knowledge sharing and a better understanding of the human factor.
SAFETY4SEA: What are the top priorities in your agenda for the next 5 years?
Manit Chander: Our top priority is always to make the world a safer place, for the next 5, 50 and 500 years. We will do this by creating a step change in maritime digitalization. The industry is ready for it, particularly when it comes to safety. We want to bridge the gap to full HSSE digitalization, giving shipping companies the tools they need to make data-driven decisions. These priorities are not limited to the maritime sector. HiLo aims to bring more objective safety decision making to any industry in need of it.
S4S: What are the next frontiers for shipping risks? What should we expect to handle within the next 5 years?
M.Ch.: The next frontiers of risks all fall within people, processes and technology. The new generation of seafarers coming in, do not work in the same way as the seafarers before them, so we will have to change our approach. Tankers have always been highly regulated, but the other sectors are catching up quickly. These regulations will bring their own risks for shipping companies to manage. New technologies, including new fuels, are changing the way seafarers operate on board. We need to prepare ship and shore staff for the changes which are coming.
S4S: We all know that that even with advancements, that human error remains the greatest cause of accidents, increasing risk of injury and death. With the energy transition and changing technologies in shipping, are there any issues relating to crew welfare that need extra care?
M.Ch.: Human error is still seen as the greatest driver of incidents, but it is not a cause in itself, it is the result of an error process. If people, processes and technologies are not managed properly, it will result in human error. There are many decisions made ashore which affect behavior and safety levels on board. This is often overlooked and is a key step in protecting those at sea. By supplementing human experience with data-based decision support, we reduce the error ashore and improve seafarer wellbeing onboard. When it comes to changing technologies, we need to be aware of the mixed generations working on our ships. A seasoned seafarer will need to be trained differently to a new cadet. This requires a new, more agile approach to training, greater knowledge sharing and a better understanding of the human beings managing our vessels.
S4S: What are the key lessons learned from past major maritime incidents? Are there any alarming trends during the last ten years that you would like to share?
M.Ch.: We aren’t seeing new types of accidents, just new victims. The risks have been the same for decades on an industry level. Maritime trends are cyclical. Key risks increase, incidents happen, actions are put in place and the issue is forgotten in favour of the latest risk. This is why issues are not managed long term. We need a new approach. Another alarming trend is that while the total number of incidents is reducing, the impact of those incidents is much higher in terms of human loss and asset damage. The world is also much more connected, meaning the reputational impact of an incident is immediate and potentially catastrophic. The rarity of these incidents also means that fewer people are experienced in incident response, making it more difficult to limit the impact on the human beings and vessels involved.
S4S: How will technology & data enhance ship safety? What are your suggestions to move forward?
M.Ch.: Data is key. Data-driven decision making and technology barriers are effective in reducing human error. We need to shift the focus from subjective experience to objective risk analysis. As we move forward as an industry, we need to adapt what we have seen elsewhere in nuclear, aerospace and medicine, to shift from a reactive to a proactive model. Data is key in guiding human beings to make better decisions. The human element will never be removed from this process, and nor should it be, but we need to give people the tools they need to reduce errors and improve outcomes.
S4S: In your view, has the industry been successful in implementing safety culture? What should be our key priorities for strengthening safety culture onboard and ashore?
M.Ch.: The industry has been successful in implementing safety culture, although a lot of this has been in response to regulations. To strengthen safety culture, we need to focus on digitalisation and data-driven decision making. Data sharing is a vital ingredient for a strong safety culture. We have seen particular success from our customers, who have built knowledge sharing into the fabric of their business. While working with HiLo, these companies have seen a 5% reduction in spills, an 8% reduction in injuries and an overall incident reduction of 12%.
S4S: If you could change one thing across the industry from your perspective, what this would be and why?
M.Ch.: Bring safety to the core of the industry, not a ‘nice to have’. Seafarers are the lifeblood of this industry. Keeping them safe should come above everything else we do. Commercial activities are important, but they should never be prioritised at the expense of human wellbeing. As leaders in the industry, it is our primary responsibility to protect those working at sea.
S4S: Do you have any new projects/ plans that you would like to share with industry stakeholders?
M.Ch.: HiLo is developing the world’s first quantitative human reliability model, due to roll out in 2023. We are taking maritime risk analysis to the next level, investigating ‘how can we improve human reliability? We have made a huge breakthrough, establishing a human reliability model that quantifies the drivers and impact of human behaviour on maritime risk. Human reliability doesn’t exist in a vacuum. This model, known as ‘Pulse’ identifies the factors which drive human behaviour. By better understanding these factors, we can give seafarers the best chance of completing their work without error or harm.
S4S: What is your key message to industry stakeholders with regards to a more resilient maritime industry?
M.Ch.: Start working together. People have said that shipping companies will not share data. HiLo has proven them wrong. It is now time for the rest of the industry to start working as a community to improve safety for everyone. Classification societies, P+I Clubs, industry bodies – we need to start breaking down barriers and sharing knowledge with one another.
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.