Mr Joe Wasa, General Secretary, Association of Marine Engineers and Surveyors (AMES) on Saturday said that 80 per cent of accidents aboard ships were caused by human elements.
Wasa made this known during an Instagram live programme organised by Mrs Ezinne Azunna of the MaritimeTv with the topic: “Marine Safety: Shortcuts Lead to Deep Cuts”.
He noted that training and retraining of ship personnel were critical to avert these accidents.
“In the maritime industry, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and flag state of any country set out legislations, laws and codes that deal with safety and on the operating level, this falls on the shipowners and their crew.
“In the past, we normally have training officers in every shipping company and they are in charge of competence and professionalism of crew members and presently, what shipping companies do have are the safety officers.
“Also in the past, the Nigerian Shipping Federation (NSF) was saddled with the competence of crew employed aboard a ship but now the non-existence of the NSF has left a big gap.
“Human element is always the problem and this accounts for 80 per cent; and so crew members should undergo the needed training that will make them competent,” he said.
Wasa also noted that motivation of seafarers was often overlooked as majority of them were motivated by the money attached instead of competence.
He cited an example of a gallery boy that lost his life recently in an accident aboard a ship, who went to do an operating job that he was not competent to do.
The AMES boss urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to domesticate the international conventions that had to do with safety of crewmen.
“The IMO conventions; Marine Pollutions, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers should be domesticated in the country to aid safety,” he said.
He noted that the shipowners philosophy was very important, adding that Hands-on owners are not much as some of them see the maritime industry as a money-making venture.
Wasa said that ideally, marine notices should be archived for future reference by the Marine Accident Investigation Board.
He pointed out that as regards challenges with revolving technology, there was the need to train seafarers to ensure that they utilise these technologies.
“Technology has helped tremendously in shipping activities like the unmanned machinery space whereby a ship sails without being manned and this has been on for the past 40 years.
“For top sea inspection, it is done with robots and ships design officers always thinker with ship forms to ensure effect of wave do not affect ships and this is done technologically,” he said.
Wasa said that an experience he had that would buttress the point that shortcut led to deep cut was when he did not use an appropriate door and decided to use a water-tight door and this led to the cutting off of his thumb.
“Shortcuts should never be encouraged in ship operations.
“Efficiency ship operations does not encourage shortcuts and so things should be done properly,” he said.
Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
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