InterManager, the international trade association for the shipmanagement sector, has launched a campaign to encourage seafarers to think about safety issues when working in enclosed spaces and to identify measures which they believe would reduce risks.
Announcing the campaign during this week’s Crew Connect event in Manila, Philippines, Captain Kuba Szymanski, InterManager Secretary General, said: “The shipping industry has produced a wealth of rules, procedures, guidelines, leaflets etc concerned with the risks of working in enclosed spaces aboard vessels and yet seafarers are still dying while engaged in these activities.
“We want to hear from the seafarers themselves to find out why fatal mistakes are still being made? Are we missing a trick here? Is there something we haven’t taken into consideration?”
InterManager aims to eradicate or minimise unnecessary risks to life by seeking opinions from the people working in enclosed spaces. Capt Szymanski explained: “Often seafarers are considered to be part of the problem. We are encouraging them to be part of the solution by sharing their experiences and points of view. We want to know what approach those facing these risks think should be taken. Please tell us what you think is the best solution? Is there a simple, user friendly procedure, change or technology gadget which would be universally beneficial for colleagues working in enclosed spaces?”
InterManager has established a committee to consider seafarers responses with a view to producing industry guidelines and sharing best practice. Committee members include numerous shipping industry professionals with experience in dealing with Health, Safety, Environment, & Quality (HSEQ) matters.
Captain Kuba Szymanski said: “This campaign puts seafarers in the driving seat and allows them to take charge of this risk to their lives.”
Encouraging seafarers to share their views, he said: “We want to know what you believe is the best response to take when working in enclosed spaces – the approach you feel will make a real difference.”
Requesting ship operators to encourage their crew members to take part, he said: “Please ask your team for their ideas, comments or suggestions. It is important for us that as many crew members as possible participate. So maybe float this idea during onboard safety meetings or during one of the smokeos.”
In return for their assistance, seafarers could earn a Macbook Air as a prize for the best response and USD $2,000 for their vessel’s welfare fund. Responses should be received by 1st January 2019.