IHS FAIRPLAY

Danish Maritime Days 2016

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Fairplay.IHS.com | October 2016 | 15 FAIRPLAY Industry insight peril", in the words of Capt Michael Lloyd. Forecasts are to be taken as just one of several contributions to decision- making. In addition, the captain's own meteorological and seamanship knowledge, reports from other ships and shore stations, and the passage plan with its alternative routes, should all be studied with the senior officers – not once but several times in advance of heavy weather. Inaccurate forecasts cannot be blamed. However, the issue of corporate orders and how rigidly the captain chooses to follow them is a much more divisive matter. One online commentator blasted Royal Caribbean Cruises, saying sending the ship into what the company knew would be a violent storm was "stupid and irresponsible" .This would suggest Anthem's captain had no say in the matter, which leads to questions about why he was the Anthem's captain at all. In the old days, the shipowning company entrusted the ship to the captain "and supported his decisions without interference", Lloyd added. He believes this understanding, which has been the basis of seafaring for centuries, has been turned on its head. Today, although captains remain able to make decisions affecting the voyage by law, "they are influenced heavily by head office and its culture", which is coloured by revenue and expense. Should a captain decide not to sail because of weather issues, inevitably, Lloyd fears, "head office will call him and question his decision". Having decisions underpinned by 20 years of sea-time questioned by accountants with limited, if any, sea time, is pressure that should never be brought to bear. When the Bahamas flag state investigation takes place, it must put to rest any suggestion that Anthem's captain was put under pressure from Royal Caribbean. Investigation reports make recommendations, although they rarely recommend a rebalancing of the decision-making process between the operations department on shore and the bridge team on board. If the captain is to face his critics, he should be able to provide the context. 'How rigidly the captain chooses to follow corporate orders is a more divisive issue' necessity.Takehumansoffaship,itisargued,andyou getridofthehumanerrorthataccountsfor80%of accidents.Runshipsfromshore,itisclaimed,andthree softwareengineerscanoperateafleetofvesselsmore efficientlythanseveralteamshavedoneuptonow. WhenIchallengedPaulStein,whoheadsRolls- RoyceGroup'stechnologyexperts,toexplainhowthis wouldaffecttheman-machineinterface,hetoldme, "Mankindisconstantlyadaptableandwillfindnew waystodevelop."Thebriefingwasn'taphilosophy lecture,Steinremindedme. Indrybulkshipping,rockbottomratesaregreat newsforcargoshippersandtheywouldliketosee theseratesstaywheretheyare.Butthat'snot sustainablebecauseshipownersarehaemorrhaging cash–andnotonlycash,butalsoexpertise,vision, andhope.Thecurrentmodelhasallowedtheloveof moneytodisruptowners'businessesandthere'sno signofaturnaroundinthenexttwoyears.Theywon't beinapositiontoinvestinsmarttechnologyuntilthe financialholeshavebeenshoredup,therearereserves available,andthepoolofexpertisehasbeenrebuilt. Whyso?Becauseeventhemostdisruptive innovationrequiresahandfulofmenandwomento getitgoingandrebootthesystemwhenitfallsover. Intheshortterm,lowfreightrateswillproduceno winners.However,inthemediumterm,disruption willbeseenasthewayforward. Disruptive change takes time and effort to become convincing. We are comfortable to ride in driver-less trains but not to ride in pilot-less aircraft, even though the technology has been fully developed. The shipping industry is not yet prepared for smart technology and disruptive business models. 'Shipping is trapped in a world in which the ship is the essential element without which nothing else exists' Shutterstock NASA

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