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On August 26, MSSM (Maritime Safety – Health and Environment) once again held its work environment conference in Nyborg, Denmark. There were many seminars to choose from. The theme was Modern seamanship and good understanding of the sector – this is how we can prepare for the future.  Bente Klarlund, medical doctor and senior physician at Rigshospitalet and professor at Copenhagen University (also known in Denmark as the ”exercise preacher”) was there. She pointed out that it is not easy to find your way in the health jungle. What should we believe? Can you really eat yourself ten years younger? Is health an individual’s responsibility? Can you live a healthy life at sea? And where is the line that separates caring for the employee and meddling? It’s all about the DESA factor (Diet, Exercise, Smoking, Alcohol). By being physically active at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week, and exercising twice a week at higher intensity, you could extend your life by not just 10 but 14 years according to Bente Klarlund. Another seminar had the title, ”We succeeded with MLC 2006 – but what has changed?” Ships were to be certified no later than 20 August. We managed that, but what did we do, what have we changed, and did conditions for seafarers become any better or we have created a paper tiger? And why isn’t Sweden ready? These were some of the questions that were asked. Søren Nørgaard Thomsen, managing director of ESVAGT Safety and Support at Sea, spoke about whether good seamanship and a high level of safety generate jobs. At ESVAGT they work hard to create a good, safe work environment. Through good seamanship, among other things, the existing company structure is kept at the same time as a new structure can be developed, which can create new jobs. Jörgen Lorén, a Swedish master with Stena Line, was there and talked about FIRST (First Independent Responder Safe Transfer). It is a new sea rescue concept which should make it possible to quickly and efficiently rescue a large number of people and lifeboats in the water after an accident. The concept was demonstrated in the waters of the Stora Bält outside the Hotel Nyborg Strand, where the conference was being held. I can report that these conferences get better every year. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.

Karl-Arne Johansson/SEKO Seafarers

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