Ships built under the Swedish flag often have a good work en-vironment. The problem is foreign construction, which sometimes has lower standards. Mikael Andersson from the Swedish Transport Agency makes this claim.
The fact that older ships sometimes have sketchy ergonomic solutions is perhaps understandable. But expensive new ships coming out of shipyards with a poor work environment is much more questionable. According to Mikael Andersson it depends largely on what flag the ships are built under.
“In Sweden we have a work en-
vironment law that says that there must be a good work environment onboard, and that applies to the whole ship. But foreign boats can have significantly lower requirements and there you see different solutions,” he says.
In the case of Swedish construction it is the Transport Agency that ensures that the work environment complies with existing laws and regulations. But
reviewing drawings can involve an enormous amount of work and for a large new ship, it may take a few days to go through all the departments, explains Mikael Andersson.
The drawings are one-dimensional and it takes a lot of experience to understand how different solutions will work in practice. You work with a ruler and protractor and make sure that slopes and distances are correct, that it is possible to get heavy equipment into the machine room and that comfort levels in the ship come up to the living space regulations on cabin size, showers, toilets and so on.
Ships built under foreign flags are outside Swedish legislation, even if the company is based in Sweden.
”Ships built in foreign shipyards under other flags are not always up to Swedish requirements. Then the company decides that they want to be under the Swedish flag, and there are often problems. The steps are often too steep and gangways too cramped for our requirements. Such things are almost impossible to change at a later stage and sometimes we need to have a dialogue with the ship owner to find other solutions to make Swedish flagging possible”, says Mikael Andersson.