In November 2017, the Shipowners Club held a webinar on Managing in a Crisis, in partnership with Steven Jones and Louise McWatt of McWatt and Jones, covering key crisis management aspects such as how to react to an emergency, respond to a crisis and deal with affected stakeholders.

On the aftermath, the Club cited key elements of media management:

  • Get real: Perhaps the most important aspect of media management is assessing what the problems potentially are, and deciding to deal with them.
  • Philosophy: Just as with any other maritime issue; whether safety, the environment or security – there needs to be a top down approach to the issue of media management.
  • From crisis to opportunity: When anything goes wrong in the marine adventure the focus is on limiting the negative effects and liability.
  • What is the ‘media’: This is not just about newspapers and journalists, this is also about social media.
  • Responsibility: In deciding on a need for action and a philosophy, there needs to be responsibility and accountability within the company
  • Social media effect: There has been much made of the ‘democratisation’ effect that social media has brought.
  • People problems: Does the company have policies and protocols in place when it comes to social media usage onboard or in the office?
  • Soft touch: Unfortunately at sea, the temptation is all too often to impose some draconian rules for communication which make seafarers feel even more isolated and cut off.
  • Relationships: From reporters and journalists through to seafarers, relationships are key when it comes to media management, communications and public relations.
  • Don’t panic: Preparation and realism are the key elements of media management.

In addition, when reacting to an emergency, there is no time for a company to analyse every 'nuance', according to Mr. Mark Clark from Navigate Response, who cited 12 phrases to avoid when managing a media crisis.

As reputations are defined by the human part of a company’s story, preventing losses can be achieved by providing communications awareness training to staff at sea and on shore, which is more than just media training, said Dustin Eno, COO & Crisis Response Manager at Navigate Response. Find out more here.