Crews are shipping companies’ most important resource, a fact that is abundantly clear during the prize days of the Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation. When the Foundation held its latest ceremony in the middle of May at the museum of photography, Fotografiska, in Stockholm, there were no less than 29 different work prizes. The range of innovations was huge: everything from courses and mobile bottle racks to ingenious tools and better air quality. The biggest prize was for fire prevention. Chief mate Björn Bendix, from the ice-breaker Atle, received SEK 30,000 for designing a colour-coded ventilation plan. He arranged for covers and dampers to be marked with three-digit numbers, the first number indicating the deck and the others indicating fore or aft, starboard or port. To be really clear, the numbers are also painted in different colours, depending on their location next to other spaces.
Several prizes were awarded for making heavy lifts easier on board. For example, communications engineer Magnus Liewendahl and first electrician Martin Sjövall on Viking Cinderella designed a cradle for cable drums. The crews’ inventions have many functions. They increase security and improve the work environment; in many cases they lead to greater efficiency and save costs for shipowners. Yet the prizewinners are often remarkably modest about all the attention, and we have often heard the comment, ”It was nothing special, I was just doing my job.” Considering the improvements in quality that their inventions lead to, great and small, they are well worth boasting about!