How much does the Safety cost?


The recent Amtrac crash was probably caused by the driver who was busy with his cellphone and forgot to reduce speed on a curve. Centripetal force is a real thing.


Safety professionals have tried to convince the industry that there can be a difference between the RISK terms:-
ALARP As Low as is Reasonably possible
SFARP So far as is Reasonably Practical


It ultimately comes to what a Master or a Chief officer wants to do with his ship. I have twice run into difficulties with Port Captains when I refused to accept their unsafe practices and challenged them by referring to IMO codes and rules. They tried to threaten me but backed down in the end.



What’s that got to do with anything? Telling someone not to use or have their cell phone on them in the modern age is like asking someone to not breath air. It simply isn’t going to happen. Every person ever written up for being on their phone was written up by someone that I guarantee had thwir cell phone on them at that very moment.

The answer is to set reasonable rules like. You can’t be on your cell while piloting the vessel. You can’t be in your cell phone while taking on fuel. You can’t be on your cell phone while rigging. Sensible rules. Not blanket rules like “Never ever can you have your cell phone on watch or in any work area or anywhere outside your room!”. It’s an outrageous rules that will never be followed ever.

Beyond that there really is no answer. As companies they have to accept a certain amount of risk and stop crying about it. “Goal zero” is never going to happen. Ever.

This endless pursuit of perfection is not a race or a marathon, it is a death march.


Didnt the DWH get a safety award just days before the bing bang?
Apparently they just stopped reporting incidents


Be careful with cellphones at work.
Cellphones can cause distraction which can be dangerous at the workplace.
Try going a day without a cell phone. The world will not come to an end.


No thank you. I spend enough time away from family and friends as it is. I will always have my cell on me. Period. End of story. So will 99.6% of the mariners out here. It’s only dangerous if you are being a fool with it. Punish the fool, not the rest of us.

Anyway. You sound like a real cheerleader for the office/shoreside making up BS safety nonsense so have fun with that. I’ll be over here in the real world where we get work done and don’t need helmets and water floaties to take a shower.


And the train ran out of it, what is your point? Or did you just learn the word and felt a need to use it in a sentence?

No answer needed.


Sorry, I agree that Cell Phones should not be carried while on watch. If you can’t live for 4-6 hours without looking at it maybe sailing is not the career for you.

This policy reminds me of when my Company (Large ATB’s) banned Smoking on Deck. At first common sense said NO Smoking while alongside but the rocket scientists they were hiring could not get the difference of having a smoke on the stern of the Tug while underway and lighting up one while standing on the Bow while the Barge was loading Gasoline. So, the easiest course of action was to ban smoking on deck at all times.

One time I was called into the office for Smoking on deck while at our Company Dock. When I was asked if I did not realize how dangerous it was to be smoking on deck, I asked why was it dangerous. When they looked at me and said Fire or Explosion. To which I said (1) we were gas freed and (2) If Smoking was so dangerous, I guess the Torch and Welding Stinger that I was using was out also. Before anyone jumps my ass, I know it was against company policy and that I actually agreed with that policy as when you hire idiots you have to have a policy for everything!


Come on over to the “what happened to your industry” thread with this.

The water is warm


Between the words, he has this gold:

So what can we take away from these accidents and, where appropriate, their subsequent investigations? Seriously, even after the crew of the Skandi Pacific had carried out everything that the company required of it in terms of risk assessments and toolbox talks, there was still the worst possible outcome from what was supposed to be a routine activity [a man died]. Why did one of the deck crew not stop the job if he thought the situation was dangerous?..

So rather than getting people to sign that they have received and understood the safety briefing surely it would be better to make sure that people remain safe, thereby keeping the responsibility with the people in charge, rather than handing it over to the individual by means of a signature.

When procedures and “systems” are put installed to replace judgement and common sense, you end up with a bunch of people that merely check boxes and don’t use their brain. Short term, things may be better (safer), but long term, the brain atrophies and you now have a group that is incapable of thought.

This could be the implementation of what might be called a “safety culture”, a top down approach to keeping employees alive and uninjured. In addition what we seem to lack is guidance. There are plenty of words in formal documentation about what should not be done, or the reverse, which is that the work should only be done in a certain way, but not much in the way of guidance. Even the current offshore bible “Guidelines for Offshore Marine Operations” published in 2013, gives the appearance of development by a committee, and in parts attempts to regulate what might actually be the ordinary practice of good seamanship. There are, for instance, 21 separate instructions for a crane driver engaged in personnel transfer, the instructions extend to half a dozen pages. But will any crane drivers on any offshore installations anywhere, ever have seen the G-OMO? In the same document instructions relating to towing extend to two pages. I could go on, and probably will do so in future newsletters, but just in case it’s not clear, I’m with Dr Anand. We need to have a good look at the whole process of safety management.



I really like using check lists but sweet jebus we have some dumb ones. I was ranting about this to my C/M one time and he pointed out a simple to test for effective check lists, can the person using the list do the things the list requires?

In many cases they can’t. For example pre-SMS we had a ship created pre-arrival gear test check list. Often the 2/M ends up doing this on the mid-watch for an early arrival.

After SMS the company sent a pre-arrival check list with items such as lay out mooring lines, rig the pilot ladder etc. So the 2/m could no longer complete the check list as those items are done by other crew members later.

As a result the 2/m now has to pencil whip the list and what used to be a useful tools is now much less useful.


Airplanes use check lists, do they not?

Except they use the list to ensure a set of tasks (which the pilot knows intimately) are completed. The checklist isn’t used to “teach”. It is a memory aid, not an instruction list.

Alas, this philosophy is found all over our society…education, entertainment, etc.

Here is a TedTalk video on this exact topic: “Our loss of wisdom”. The whole video is worth a watch, but it starts at 8m 34s which correlates to our discussion about rules/procedures being useless. “Rules and incentives positive in the short-run, but create downward spiral in the long-run.”

Check List, Procedures, Training and Experience

The VIPs were on board to give the safety award when the well blew out. John’s book has a lot of detail about the Transocean culture.




Google the “Grounding of the container ship *Bunga Teratai Satu” *


LOL was referring to the blue pill in the Matrix (take it and continue to live in ignorance but blissfully!)


I’m going to need to remember that.


There is a saying out there:

“If you think safety is expensive try having an accident!”

In the UK the P & I clubs have been fostering safety awareness and loss prevention for decades and it is now seeping into the mindsets of ship managers. Indeed they are campaigning for increased firefighting on the new generations of mega container ships that have clearly outgrown the IMO SOLAS regs that were implemented when a general cargo ship was 10,000 tons.

I would be interested in how P & I is influencing US shipping, from El Faro perhaps there is a change due?


Don’t ever sail on a tanker. You can use phones in the house but not on deck. Sure way to get fired
Also a person should be reprimanded for using a phone while working. You think it’s right to start chatting away while everyone is working? Use your phone on your own time


Interesting example, I joined a well known ship, which was painted a uniform shade of grey and which often had large numbers of visitors with no experience of ships. All the stairs were painted yellow which was fine until the sun went down at which point the yellow became exactly the same as the grey, took a great deal of argument to get agreement to change to white which worked perfectly well in both situations.