We are striving for a good work environment. There are many problems and while some can be solved, others can only be reduced – such as high sea movement, vibration and noise. Those that can be solved include overly high workloads, fatigue and under-manning. The question is how we should proceed with these solvable issues.
The fact that unreasonably high workloads and long working hours (short rest periods) result in poor operational performance with the risk of injuries and accidents is hardly a secret. Manning levels are often set at unrealistically low numbers by national governments/maritime administrations as a competitive advantage to attract companies and ships to their registers. But now the IMO has adopted a new resolution on low staffing levels. The resolution is called A. 1047 (27) ”The principles of safe manning”, and entered into force on 1 January 2014. It takes into account the actual operating conditions on board each ship to ensure that it is suitably and efficiently manned. Manning levels must provide security for navigation and activities at sea and in port, prevent human injury or death, prevent damage to the marine environment and property, and ensure the health and welfare of seafarers through avoiding fatigue.
The SOLAS Convention Chapter V, Regulation V / 14 has been amended so that it now requires national authorities to establish manning through a transparent procedure that takes into account IMO resolution A. 1047 (27).
The problem is that not all shipowners and national authorities are fully aware of these new regulations. Let us therefore help in spreading this knowledge to all the parties concerned for increased safety, a better work environment and Sweden’s continuing claim to be a pioneer in maritime safety.