Every day, seafarers face dangerous and challenging conditions. Your crew has to handle everything from operating heavy machinery in rough seas to navigating through geopolitical hot spots.
Safety remains a top concern across the maritime industry, and for good reason. From 2014-2019, the European Maritime Safety Agency recorded over 23,000 incidents resulting in 3,239 marine casualties. In addition, AGCS reports 876 total ship losses from 2011-2020, with foundered (54%), wrecked/stranded (20%), and fire/explosion (11%) the top three causes of total losses over the past decade.
That’s why building a safety culture for your maritime organization is so important. It’s one thing to understand that safety is a priority, and another to put it into action.
What is Safety Culture?
Safety culture starts with putting safety at the core of everything you do and every decision you make. This is reflected in the rituals an organization uses, such as the presence of a maritime safety committee, debriefings after incidents or accidents, and training.
Elements of a strong safety culture include:
- Empowering employees to be prepared and aware of hazards, accidents, and what to do in an emergency
- Active communication between management and crew about status, practices, and accident prevention
- Consistent evaluation of safety performance as a key success metric
Safety culture goes beyond compliance and safety certifications but is instead a set of practices that prioritize people over profit.
How Technology Enhances Maritime Safety Culture
While safety culture comes down to your people, your teams can use technology to make their job safer and more secure. Here are three ways that technology can make it easier for you to build a safety culture throughout your maritime organization:
- Reduce Human Error
A common statistic in the maritime industry is that human error causes 96% of at-sea incidents.
Mistakes can and will happen. Humans are unpredictable, after all. But human error is often less the result of an individual’s mistake and more an issue of cascading systemic failure.
The way the workplace is set up, how work is designed, whether equipment is maintained, and other control measures put in place through processes and protocols matter. For example, turning the lights on the bridge during the night shift is a safety hazard that reduces watch visibility — yet it’s a common error.
It’s exactly these seemingly minor occurrences that undermine building a culture of safety and put your crew at risk. That’s why at ShipIn, we’ve built contextual, AI-driven alerts for your team that can flag these kinds of safety hazards in real-time, both onboard and ashore, so you can have greater visibility into your onboard operations across your fleet and keep your team, cargo, and equipment safe.
- Build Trust Between Ship and Shore
Part of building a culture of safety is routine monitoring of best practices and everyday habits — best done through observation of the crew. That’s why it’s common to send out superintendents and managers to “ride-along” with your fleet. But they’re only one person, and can only be on one vessel at a given time, usually no more than twice a year at best.
Technology can’t necessarily replace those visits, as they’re essential to a well-functioning fleet. But it can fill in the gaps between those visits and increase the overall rate of communication between superintendents and crew for additional guidance.
ShipIn’s Visual Fleet Management technology maximizes opportunities for efficient ship-to-shore communication over available satellite links even when that coverage is spotty. In this way, ships can provide nearly continuous communication and visibility between crew and shore management on activities, behavior, and status.
Superintendents can be in touch with their respective crews on a daily or weekly basis, talking about what’s going on, exchanging notes, and giving support where needed. This increases trust between ship and shore and builds stronger relationships among your team.
- Implement Safety Best Practices Across Your Fleet
Uniting your organization around safety requires implementation of safety protocols across your entire fleet. But often, various ships don’t speak to one another or share what they’ve learned.
With technology like ShipIn, you can change that. With one source of truth available for your entire organization, management can look for patterns and practices that repeat across your fleet — whether that’s a common error that can be addressed with training or spotting best practices you can replicate from ship to ship.
Take, for example, a leading tanker company that decided to partner with ShipIn after suffering heavy losses from navigational incidents. They needed answers to pressing safety questions such as:
- Is the crew following all safety procedures?
- Is vital maintenance of equipment being conducted at regular intervals?
- Are safety incidents going unreported?
Once deployed, ShipIn’s system found the root of the problem by detecting a number of lapses in standard bridge watchkeeping practices through an “unattended bridge” report. Instituting new training practices and building awareness across the team has significantly reduced the “unattended bridge” alerts, improving navigational safety for everyone on board. These changes were then rolled out to the entire fleet, improving safety practices for the entire organization.
This isn’t just important for the safety of your team—it’s imperative to stay compliant with a variety of international regulations such as SIRE 2.0’s more rigorous inspection and reporting guidelines or the United States’ Safer Seas Act, which requires non-passenger carrying commercial vessels to install video surveillance.
Build a Better Maritime Safety Culture with ShipIn
Here’s how it works: ShipIn uses a network of cameras installed in high-traffic or high-security areas like the bridge, engineering room, and cargo hold. Our proprietary AI technology then watches thousands of hours of footage for you, identifying important safety and security events (such as lights on the bridge at night) and patterns (such as time spent at port) as they occur in real-time.
From there, ShipIn’s Visual Fleet Management technology offers continuous communication and visibility from ship to shore into shipboard activities, shipboard behavior, and shipboard status so that a shore-based manager can review, comprehend, and synthesize such information at-a-glance:
Designed with ship managers and seafarers in mind, ShipIn allows your team to:
- Gain real-time hazard detection and visibility into important areas of the ship
- Allow for remote guidance between shore management and crew
- Log events automatically to comply with regulations
- Assess crew competency and best practices
See how ShipIn can help you build a stronger safety culture for your maritime organization today.