For the best and safest operation of a vessel, it is vital that both parties have a great cooperation, stresses the industry association Container Ship Safety Forum (CSSF) in its first guide which sets the basis for safe container ship operations. As such, when it comes to personnel, either shore-based or seagoing, shipping companies need to have procedures in place to ensure effective recruitment, familiarization, training and development.
When it comes to office staff, key procedures should ensure they have the required skills and capabilities, have the appropriate familiarisation to undertake responsibilites, there is an effective appraisal system to evaluate performance as well astheir training and development needs are being considered. For all the above, the company needs to maintain records of personnel’s qualifications, experience and training courses. Also targets for retention rates should be determined and monitored.
In this context, the following key procedures are important:
#1 The company should specify the minimum qualifications and experience required for each shore-based position.
#2 The recruitment process includes cooperation between the company and former employers to verify any experience referred to by the prospective new employee, so that the company has verification on the qualifications of new recruits are genuine.
#3There should be a formal familiarisation process in place for newly recruited shore-based staff. This should include a written plan for the formal induction of new recruits, to show that the inductee has received the appropriate training and familiarisation
#4 A formal staff appraisal should be used to ensure that shore-based employees undergo a performance assessment at least annually.
#5 The company should have a process to ensure that shore-based employees retain core technical skills through new training, refresher training and participation in industry forums, seminars and conferences.
For crew members onboard, it is of a great importance that the company fills the new position with an employer of the same rank and position, in order for the latter to be able to contribute to the vessel’s operation rapidly and safely.
#1 The company should conduct an improved recruitment and interview process for senior officers.
#2 A system of authentication is vital so that the company is able to check the certificates and also maintain records of these checks.
#3 The company should have procedures in place to ensure that crew changes are planned to take into account the balance of experience on board and should provide clear guidance on how newly recruited and newly promoted crew members are assigned to vessels.
#4 The company should provide to new members a pre-joining familiarisation project and inform of its policies and requirements.
#5 The company should have a procedure to ensure that crew members assigned to vessels with specific training needs for vessel type or operation are appropriately trained.
In particular, with regards to their training, the company should define the training requirements for all its seafarers in a document such as a training matrix. This document should describe company-specific training requirements that are in addition to the minimum requirements of the STCW or of the relevant
authority for the vessel and the trade. What’s more, the company should organise seminars and meetings for sea staff to promote and enhance its Safety Management System.
Important policies for shipping companies
Each shipping company should have:
- a formal drug and alcohol policy
- a policy to monitor retention rates and set appropriate targets
- a procedure to monitor and manage crewing
- e procedures in place to promote high standards
of housekeeping and hygiene, particularly in food storage and
- procedure to implement health awareness campaigns
- a documented disciplinary process
- procedures to ensure that the work and rest hours of all personnel are in line with STCW or the relevant guidelines for the vessel
- procedure that work and rest hours are being accurately recorded.
- procedures to ensure that after travelling to join a vessel, crew members are adequately rested before starting work.