The IMO is wasting their time with the leadership classes

I was just thinking about the amount of dysfunctional peeps working
in the merchant marines ( a psychiatrist friend of mine even told me its kind of a well known thing among psychiatrists) and wow, a few one week classes isn’t going to change anything or make people normal.

Because of the secluded nature of the work, the added stressors of being away from home and the intense workloads,
there really needs to be more done about psychopathic types running engine rooms…and bridges!. I mean especially with the types of places that have the battlefield promotion thing and all, those people are exactly the type that end up there!

They should just stop the whole leadership and management training thing and just have required screenout exams for people who score high on dark triad personality traits for anything beyond 1st a/e or C/M. That would fix everything just fine!

It might also raise wages.

A lot

How would they find competent people who are not narcissistic, pyschopathic and also want to go to sea?

It would be hard unless there was a lot of $$$ involved.

ALso: then psychopaths couldn’t become first, chiefs, c/ms or captains and in turn couldn’t go on to higher management to continue on with their psychopathic tendencies causing accidents and oil pollution.
It would fix everything just perfectly. As a matter of fact who has the number to the IMO? I think I will call them myself

Great idea, let’s start with screening every elected officeholder in Washington DC.


Are you still butthurt about something?


No, just general observations.

Leadership class, thank God it wasn’t a 40 hour coarse.


Nothing like drive by drunk posting in your time off.


It was a waste of my precious time off and money. Thankfully I have a school just a few miles away and didn’t have to get a hotel or airplane tickets and rent a car.

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Leadership management is bullshit, because of its redundancy.
If one has taken BRM and ERM they should be good to go.
as far as psychological profiling goes, I’m not falling for the banana in the tailpipe again with you madam. I won’t be thrusting nor parrying.


I wouldn’t say that, but one 5 day class isn’t going to teach an asshole to not be an asshole.


true.I’m just saying, from my personal experience. The curriculum was almost identical to what I had to do for BRM and ERM, hence my reference to the redundancy…and I might add I did BRM and Leadership at two different non-affiliated schools.As far as the sections regarding cultural awareness and what it takes to be a leader, all the touchy feely subject matter so to speak, emphasis on those topics could easily be integrated (if they haven’t been already) into BRM and ERM for deck and engine officers, to eliminate the need for L and M.

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Learning and applying good leadership and management skills is very useful and profitable for most of us. Learning is a lifelong process and we can all benefit from more knowledge and better skills to improve our performance. However, the STCW Leadership and management courses are of relatively little actual value. Cost benefit analysis is also an important management concept. The cost of these leadership and management courses are outrageous in proportion to their very limited value, and the very low cost of teaching an academic course that requires no equipment. The IMO and the USCG had good intentions, but terrible implementation. They deserve a big fat F on this one.


The course seems redundant because most, if not all who are currently taking it are fulfilling GAP Closing requirements. Folks who have been Chief Mates and Masters for years and have already formed and solidified their leadership style. I believe there is value in a well run course for prospective Officers.

Where did the loud, arrogant blowhard know-it-all approach so popular aboard ship come from anyway? Not from the military, at least not directly. It’s a caricature of the military. Maybe it’s military-like authority outside the context of the actual military.

Aviation had the same thing. Pan Am had it’s “Clipper Skippers” till management got tired of all the crashed airplanes. New people coming in are going to learn and imitate what they see the old-timers doing. The dumb-ass overconfident blowhard who only knew what do to from twenty or thirty year of repetition

So yeah, the classes are a good idea.


I doubt this feedback is indicative of knowing it all, only that the STCW leadership courses are not that good and teaches very little.

Having been through a true 6-month leadership/management program at my current employer, STCW doesn’t even come close in terms of developing any sort of true skill. I can see why some people would be disappointed in a requirement which barely brushes the edges.

For those working for OSV companies, you are not tasked with budgeting MAJEX/CAPEX, interviewing candidates, review performance KPIs, or have the opportunity to influence people to achieve goals of the organization. You basically do what the office wants, or the client, and that is about it.


Good points; there is a tendency for sociopaths/psychopaths to reach top leadership positions in any organization. In a company, they are easy to spot and remove, on a ship or rig, the office may not have a clue for years, as there is no mechanism, either via the office management or regulatory bodies to detect them.

Is the entire crew evaluation mechanism working properly among companies that own/operate marine assets?

  • Is there anything to be learned from the way the US Navy identifies and develops good people? e.g. evaluation techniques?

If the IMO’s leadership classes fail to produce good leaders (or reform the behavior of bad leaders), how can us end-users of these regulations feedback to IMO when regulations are ineffective? I have the impression that too many regulatory bodies live in ivory towers and don’t want to be disturbed with information about practical realities down far away from their towers on the ground.

e.g. Since Fast Rescue Boats were made mandatory following the sinking of the Estonia in the Baltic Sea, how lives have FRBs saved? How many seamen have been killed using FRBs? Would the seafaring community be safer is there were no FRBs? Why do we never see this debated?

Probably far fewer mariners killed or injured using FRBs than lifeboats, especially the open boats that the CG still allows.

There really isn’t any process by which counterproductive rules can be debated or cancelled. Regulators do what regulators do, they regulate. If they didn’t write regulations they would be out of work and that is the bottom line.

Look at MARPOL annex VI NOx regulations for example, the IMO could care less about what leaves the stack. Unlike the SOx regulations that allow scrubbers to be made and installed by 3rd party firms, they wrote the regulation so that only the engine manufacturer is allowed to play in this pool of cash. The result of that is that it is impossible to purchase engines that meet EPA or IMO standards for operating in the NOx ECAs.

And by the way, the Navy isn’t exactly a shining example of evaluating personnel for sociopathic or psychopathic traits. They have a hard time weeding out the common crooks, spies, and total incompetents.

There is a reason the term “lifer” is a pejorative.

The vast majority of the time in the required classes has been a complete waste. Let’s face it these classes were created to make jobs for people. There have been a few classes that were productive. Fast rescue boat and the medical classes were useful. BRM, Leadership and Management, ECDIS, GMDSS, VSO and ARPA were not very productive uses of my time. ECDIS, GMDSS and ARPA are specific to the particular equipment. All that is required in these cases is to RTFM.

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We have a “for sale” section on the forum @vsp. I would suggest you make use of it instead of spamming other peoples’ posts. Or better yet, here’s an idea, pay for advertising on gcaptain and the forum.

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I fully agree that those STCW leadership courses were not really smashing. But they did two things - they gave us the newest developments and we met friends in persona which you haven’t seen in years. A very good opportunity to talk about things no company will ever teach you and don’t
forget the newest gossip.

An interesting subject !..with our leave time and money spent on such courses.
Great to hear your views on “Management and Leadership onboard Ships
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Management and Leadership on Merchant Ships