New authority to govern shipping

Increased distance to the industry and quality assured inspections. These are the changes that the Director General of the newly formed Swedish Transport Agency wants to achieve in the maritime department.
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Increased distance to the industry and quality assured inspections. These are the changes that the Director General of the newly formed Swedish Transport Agency wants to achieve in the maritime department.

Staffan Widlert
Staffan Widlert. Photo: Linda Sundgren

The Swedish Maritime Safety Inspectorate belongs to the past. It is now called the Maritime Department and since 1 January is part of the newly formed inspection authority called the Swedish Transport Agency. The Director General of the Agency, Staffan Widlert, says that the separation of the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Swedish Maritime Safety Inspectorate was necessary.
– In principle, I believe that it is right to separate the inspection unit and make it independent. An authority should not monitor and conduct audits on itself, he says.
In an investigation carried out before the reorganisation, some criticism was aimed at how the Swedish Maritime Safety Inspectorate has worked up until the present. Among other things, inspectors are accused of having identified too much with the industry they are commissioned to monitor. That is something which Staffan Widlert wants to change.
– It is absolutely crucial that we have this discussion within the authority, and I believe that we will need to take up these issues constantly since we recruit our personnel from the shipping industry. The inspectors’ remit is to pursue government policy and act on the basis of an authority perspective, he underlines.
Staffan Widlert, Director General, sees great opportunities for the new authority.
Four modes of transport
Within the new authority there are inspection departments for the three other modes of transport: air, rail and road. Each mode of transport has its own department with a large degree of autonomy.
The head of the maritime department is Per Nordström, previously deputy Marine Safety Manager at Swedish Maritime Safety Inspectorate.
– I believe that this will lead to a closer exchange of experience between the different modes of transport. In issues such as supervising methodology, the man-machine relationship and problems of tiredness, we can certainly help each other a great deal.
Staffan Widlert also sees opportunities for cooperation, including supervisory operations.
– We will appoint a project group to draw up uniform methods of inspection. At the moment there are enormous differences between the methods used for the modes of transport, in which some study every nut and bolt while others look almost exclusively at management systems. We will take the best parts from every area of inspection and create a joint, quality assured inspection policy.
Linda Sundgren

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