Does Your Safety Management System Make Your Operation Safer?

Safety Management Systems have imposed a considerable additional administrative workload on vessel crews. Do you feel it makes your vessel safer? Is it worth the burden? If it’s not worth it is it do you think it is because your particular system is bad or is the entire concept flawed?

K.C.

The entire concept has been blown WAY overboard. I had it put best to my by a shipmate:

“These systems can be made as complex or as easy as management wants them to be.”

It all depends upon what the system e administrator is trying to accomplish. It would appear (to this person )that life long career and employment justification go a LONG way to describe what the true function of ISO ISM really is about.

From what I have found ISO ISM has come from the British IMO organisation. Nothing like allowing an old crochety regulatory organization who has almost NO ships left, has little to justify further maritime indulgences to make up rules and regs to ensure a place to work for ‘out of work’ British masters who have nothing else to do.

Of course this is just MHO, but it seems to be true.

Accidents have been happening at sea for millenia. There is NO way accidents can be completely eliminated. As much as the insurers would like, and regulatory agencies brag about “Shit Happens.”

I have noticed that crewmen (Officers and Crew) are younger, the old salts have retired and the young kids simply do not know how to recognize danger. I believe that this is due to a shift in what activities these kids did when growing up. Video games are safe and the only injures you get are repetitive strain injuries or seizures. We grew up playing outside, the mistakes we made as kids, taught us to recognize dangerous situations, we learned from our mistakes. No matter how many volumes of ISM/SMS are written, you cannot regulate safety, the experienced personal cannot shadow each inexperienced crew member all the time to watch out for them, especially with the reduced manning and now Manilla Accord work hour restrictions. As much as the companies preach safety, you either get it or you don’t. I don’t believe the vessels are any safer with the system(s) that have been written and implemented. Until we change the mentality within the industry that we know it all, we will continue to have accidents and deaths. No amount ISM/SMS will change this mentality, it will have to come from mentoring young crew members and self-policing our industry. The concept of allowing a unqualified crew member to complete their contract, so they can go on to another vessel and out of your hair, vs. going through the process of documenting their short commings has to stop. It is said that we promote to the highest level of our incompetance in our industry and I can say that I have seen it first hand. There are exceptions to this in the industry. Companies need to figure out safety costs money, big money, but all the money spent can be recouped and then some, by having safer vessels

Yes it does. Overkill but safer.

I firmly believe that the same level of safety could be achieved with far less paperwork. Hell, an increased level of safety could be achieved with less paperwork. I have a couple of pet peeve forms which do absolutely NOTHING except take up my time and give someone somewhere in an office far from the ocean, a data entry task to do to justify their paycheck somehow.

The main reason ISM was installed was so there was a standard that was spelled out and ensured that companies were being held responsible if systems were not functioning and they were not fixing things. Most of the horsepower behind getting it was implemented after the MARINE ELECTRIC disaster off Cape May in the early or mid 70’s. I read a great (and scary) book about it last year. In a nutshell, the company blamed the crew but the mate, a guy with union named Calhoun and a USCG Captain were able to get the truth out there in spite of the lawyers and voila, ISM.

Of course now it has blown uo into what we have today because the lawyers got ahold of it and turned something simple into a paper monster.

The one good thing I can say about it is I follow our company’s ISM to the LETTER, not because I am a company man, but because I can use it to get the work I feels needs to be done by forcing people’s hands if I have to. If I document it, the office decides to do nothing about it, and something happens, because of that, unless it is a no sail item, it is the office that takes the hit, not me.

I also do nothing with just a phone call. I ALWAYS follow up with an e-mail or TELEX to ensure my a** is covered. I like the people I work for all the way to the top but I know what happens when lawyers get involved. Additionally, I am a good-looking guy so I want to keep the mirrors in my house up and I want to sleep well at night.

Another good thing I tell my crew is, the more paperwork we have to do, the less real work we have to do so I also keep a log of how much time we use doing paperwork so if the office asks why things are not getting done, I show them that almost 10% of our work hours everyday is devoted to paperwork, more for me, a little less than that for the crew. Once they see how much time we invest doing paperwork, they leave me alone, I can get back to work keeping my crew and my vessel safe while we do our jobs and that is ALL that matters. Anybody that tells you different does not know what they are talking about and is not to be trusted.

ISM is here to stay. Nothing we say or do without getting lawyers involved or someone dying like in the MARINE ELECTRIC incident. Besides, I have heard from other people that if you clench up, it hurts much more. Just relax, its going to happen anyway. You don’t have to like, try and use it your advantage

[QUOTE=BMCSRetired;70847]The main reason ISM was installed was so there was a standard that was spelled out and ensured that companies were being held responsible if systems were not functioning and they were not fixing things. Most of the horsepower behind getting it was implemented after the MARINE ELECTRIC disaster off Cape May in the early or mid 70’s. I read a great (and scary) book about it last year. In a nutshell, the company blamed the crew but the mate, a guy with union named Calhoun and a USCG Captain were able to get the truth out there in spite of the lawyers and voila, ISM.[/QUOTE]

Not to disparage the mariners who died on the MARINE ELECTRIC but I am going to say nyet on this. The ISM was developed by the British after the HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE rolled over off of Zeebrugge in Belgium. Do you honestly think that the deaths of 31 merchant mariners would rewrite how ships are operated around the world? It took the 193 that died in the HOFE tragedy to make the IMO wake up.

Speaking of the MARINE ELECTRIC, who remembers the day that the SS POET vanished off the face of the planet? I do and it still seems amazing that as late as the 80’s ships could still disappear without a trace like that!

[QUOTE=cappy208;70838]“These systems can be made as complex or as easy as management wants them to be.” [/QUOTE]

Noble Drilling’s SMS is 10 pages and has no way to report non conformities to the designated person for action. CARs can only be tagged for action by the rig crew. Such a forward thinking company!

what’s more amazing is that their ships and rigs with this super dooper system still get SMC’s! Figure how much that costs Noble to arrange?

what a bunch of bananas

“Not to disparage the mariners who died on the MARINE ELECTRIC but I am going to say nyet on this…”

Thank-you Dr. History.

I am talking about the US implementation, not the original idea nor implementation of it internationally. The USCG has not had an original idea on Marine Safety in over 200 years that they were not forced at gunpoint to implement with the exception of the CFVS boardings and stickers originally implemented by District 17.

The MARINE ELECTRIC forced their hand, domestically.

This just happened again last month. I read in one of the trade journals a 6 or 7 year old bulker vanished with a cargo of ‘semi liquid solids’ ( what the heck is that!?). These cargos are known to spontaneously combust, explode, liquify, and shift all by themselves. So the mysterious is still happening.

Speaking of how well ISO / ISM is working, how does the BP horizon look now that all the safe working environments have been assured, the JHA’s were done, and they certainly had a blow out preventer handy didn’t they.

Speaking of how well ISM, BRM, and breaking the error chain is being used; what is the latest from Shittino? Have they found someone else, something else, or a corrupt computer program to foist the blame on? Yet??

Yes Senior Chief… It is here to stay. But for what good. I do agree that having an ironclad paper trail can be worth its weight in ass covering, but there is such a thing as overboard.

IMHO, the absolute best thing to happen to my industry was the Scandia/Northcape incident. When upper level management got jail sentences and HEAVY fines did this ring through the industry. The example of the M E is similar. Once the management got held accountable, then the ordinary changed to the way it should have been. But, this too will meet the ebb and flow, get watered down into mediocrity and be surpassed by another level of stupidity. Probably sooner than we realize.

[QUOTE=BMCSRetired;70850]The MARINE ELECTRIC forced their hand, domestically.[/QUOTE]

But the HOFE happened 4 years after the MARINE ELECTRIC.

Obviously as cappy208 points out that the ME loss pointed a lazerbeam right at MTL management and finally the buck passing to the master and crew came to an end which was a very good thing to occur.

Speaking of Shittino, there has been no news at all in the past few months. Is the craven coward still holed up in his house? Effing ASSHOLE! Reading about the HOFE loss made me become aware yet again how EXTREMELY LUCKY the crew and passengers were in the COSTA CONCORDIA that the loss wasn’t in the many hundreds!

[QUOTE=cappy208;70838]From what I have found ISO ISM has come from the British IMO organisation.[/QUOTE]

The IMO is a United Nations organisation, it is not British.

Nothing like allowing an old crochety regulatory organization who has almost NO ships left, has little to justify further maritime indulgences to make up rules and regs to ensure a place to work for ‘out of work’ British masters who have nothing else to do.

You might want to find out how the regulations that govern how you work are developed and who develops them and why.

Of course this is just MHO, but it seems to be true.

So far your opinions have been more myth and prejudice than fact.

Accidents have been happening at sea for millenia. There is NO way accidents can be completely eliminated. As much as the insurers would like, and regulatory agencies brag about “Shit Happens.”

The reasons accidents happen are consistent and predictable. The number of accidents has been greatly reduced in spite of some people and their opinions.

I am not an artist, but this echoed out of my brain. [ATTACH]1941[/ATTACH] All this talk about making ‘it’ safe to totally eliminate any chance of an accident is pretty funny.

If course no accidents are desirable. But, this is fraught with the human element. There is NO way to eliminate that part if it. You can regulate it to death, but like ‘Forrest Gump’ said: “It happens” This is not from someone who has given up, but is a realist about what can be expected. (And has seen it. again, and again, and again)

Regarding the IMCO, When the concept for a worldwide ship regulatory body came about it was conceptualized and implemented by the British. In my mind (prejudiced it may be) this was a hold over from the British Colonial era. The vessels most under scrutiny were ‘flag of convenience’ states (Liberia, Panama, India, and the like) This was as a result of and under years of direct British direction and supervision. Now we have the Manilla Accords. The US was being treated as a lepper by the organization itself!

Although my thoughts may be simplistic, I don’t feel we need more government (from ANYWHERE) But we need corporate accountability EVERYWHERE. Once heads roll in management for misdeeds (aka Marine Electric and Scandia Northcape) the industry actually is pretty good at self regulating. Any more thoughts about the criminal who owned the Norfolk to Iceland Feeder ships who kept getting Government contracts on death traps? He should be the next one to go to jail, and be fined (to the extent of putting him out of business) Then other operators would toe the line and we wouldn’t need the IMO to help regulate what should be the ordinary practice of seamen going about their jobs.

[QUOTE=cappy208;70907]I am not an artist, but this echoed out of my brain. [ATTACH]1941[/ATTACH] All this talk about making ‘it’ safe to totally eliminate any chance of an accident is pretty funny.

If course no accidents are desirable. But, this is fraught with the human element. There is NO way to eliminate that part if it. You can regulate it to death, but like ‘Forrest Gump’ said: “It happens” This is not from someone who has given up, but is a realist about what can be expected. (And has seen it. again, and again, and again)[/QUOTE]

Nobody is making the claim the accidents can be eliminated completely, that’s a bit of straw man. The problem with arguing that mariners don’t need a SMS is that so many mariners were getting hurt and killed for very stupid reasons. How many mariners had to go into confined spaces and die before ship operators would figure out it was unnecessary?

I think the safeguards are based in accurate understanding of human nature. Each of us thinks we can get away with taking shortcuts and many times we can but if you look at the fleet worldwide lots of mishaps are occurring for stupid reasons. I’m betting that Capt Schettino of the Costa Concordia thought he was far too sharp to have to waste his time with the minutia of voyage planning.

K.C.

Iso/Ism makes things safer because instead of actually doing anything which might entail a little risk, I am perfectly safe in the wheelhouse with my back to the window as I fill out endless paperwork/computer forms. (Sarcasm filter off).

[QUOTE=seadog6608;70944]Iso/Ism makes things safer because instead of actually doing anything which might entail a little risk, I am perfectly safe in the wheelhouse with my back to the window as I fill out endless paperwork/computer forms. (Sarcasm filter off).[/QUOTE]

if Joe Hazelwood had spent the day in his office filling out paperwork instead of (speaking of dives) having a couple of shots at the Pipeline Club maybe he could have slipped that tanker past Bligh Reef.

More seriously, a lot of the paperwork can be redundant and unnecessary, but if you have a good system and don’t have time to get the work done then the problem could be the workload is too high. It takes time to document your work at every level. If the ABS inspector didn’t have to make out reports they could knock out twice as many ships but there would be no point without documents.

I discourage computer work generaly while on watch but for what has to done our workstation is set up so the mate is facing forward. The screen is mounted on a swivel arm low enough to see over while the work is done standing up.

K.C.

Number one.

It is offensive to even utter the words ’ the mate on watch has a forward facing computer’. The position for any navigation watchstander is… Eyes out the window or on the electronic nav systems. Period.

Number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Hazelwood had NOTHING to do with Cousins being incompetent. Hazelwood was NOT on the bridge at the time of the grounding. This was the usual and customary practice at that time and location.

Apollo 13. Morro Castle. Marine electric. Challenger. Columbia. Costa Concordia.

Every one of these incidents were a direct result of corporate irresponsibility. This led to a ‘top down’ mentality of just do what we say, and management knows best.
Until upper management is held accountable (as in being fired or jailed) they won’t do the right thing. This is why we “need” outside regulation. Sounds sad that corporate has drug the whole industry down to third world 'flag of convenience" status needing outside oversight.

The analogy of the ABS inspector is not valid. The ABS inspector shows up every other year for an audit. He does not fill out redundant paperwork each watch, day, trip, voyage or throttle setting. There’s another good one. A bell book. Put that right up there with the Aldis lamp.

[QUOTE=cappy208;70978]Number one.

It is offensive to even utter the words ’ the mate on watch has a forward facing computer’. The position for any navigation watchstander is… Eyes out the window or on the electronic nav systems. Period.[/QUOTE]

Some work has to be done by the mate on watch. As an example we send hourly position reports via email while in the HOA/GOA area and in the Persian Gulf as well depending upon charterer requirements I don’t get up every hour and do it.

2/m does noon reports etc . Mates have always done clerical work in the wheel house, filling out the log, recording the weather, reading nav warning, even nav plotting is clerical work in a sense. The fact that the mate uses a keyboard and a screen instead of pen and paper doesn’t change the fact that this type of work has always been done on watch.

K.C.

they discourage computer work here too. The problem is, they won’t pay me to do it off watch. I get paid for an eight hour day and anything else is OT. So it either gets done on watch or it doesn’t get done. It would be nice to have a forward facing computer but I guess I’ll wish in one hand…

[QUOTE=cappy208;70978]Hazelwood had NOTHING to do with Cousins being incompetent. Hazelwood was NOT on the bridge at the time of the grounding. This was the usual and customary practice at that time and location.[/QUOTE]

I don’t agree. The master is responsible for the safety of the ship. It is the master’s job to evaluate hazards and risks and mitigate as required. Leaving the bridge does not relieve the master of the obligation to keep the vessel safe. If that was true my job would be about 10 times easier.

K.C.