Wednesday, July 06, 2011

the future of Ship Management courseware

The future ship management courses in my imaginations:

My ship's old work photos show the daring works done by ship staff such as starboard anchor d-shackle lug re-affirming. The lug had pushed itself out as its tapering locking pin was lost away sometime, somewhere. Crew had to go overside at the curvature body of ship and do the hot work weld, also arranging to relieve the anchor weights off that lug. That required tough preparations.
Then, there is one pic showing the seat ring of a valve burst away when the vessel was discharging at merely 8kg/ sq cm.
During the teaching job which I was on some time ago, I picked that a lot of fresh un-christened sea-cadet would question during the COLREGS class as to what action should a vessel take if there is a vessel on the starboard side and a shallow patch on port side, and also a vessel coming from top.
Such fanciful questions are due for any fresh entrant to sea career. Even I had posed such ones in my years.
But today as a teacher I needed to answer them. Somethings that can put an end to such 'stupid' , mind-murdering enquiries.
I began with drizzles of history and sociology, telling then how Indians could not have developed the art and science of 'Navigation', even though the word Navigation is said to be of Sanskrit origin ' Nav - gath', because what the indus valley people did was only what today we recognize as only Terrestrial Navigation. The archeological sites of Lothal in Gujarat and other sea-ports does not still prove any long distance sea voyage involving The Celestial Navigation technique. Vasco da Gama only had to reach to cape of good hope from Europe as the route further to india was already known to have been in use. This India-africa route was more of a Parallel Navigation, which is , navigation paralleling a coast line.
Astronomy has its foundation in human civilizations for the gains of sea navigations. We developed more on Astrology, and never on Astronomy , as hardly any Indian sailor has been credited with a sea-route discovery.
Thus , we developed our skills on fate-management and the Brahmins Supremacy, thereby, but never as a colonialist power. It is another historical irony and socio-historical enquiry to figure out as to how the Indian Daispora colonises the world today. But our present sociological papers confirm that we are branded ''fatalist'' people. We didn't spread our Daispora because we were great navigators.
But , in essence , any travel job teaches one great lesson to all the travellers of the world. That- there are often places of no return, the points of no returns , and essentially u have to 'look before u leap'. Thus, an interest in the future outcomes of an action was always a human interest. Indians developed astrology , an un-theorised art-science legacy-passed to Brahmins, whereas, the western mariners built up 'Prudence'.
the differenciation between Astrology and Prudence could help the young sea cadet understand the answer to his 'stupid' inquiry. The prudence of sea-life is provenly documented as rule 5 and Rule 6 of COLREGS.
Rule 5 is about look-out, that is, to continously, incessantly, keep watch on the situation even when everything is seemingly good, and Rule 6 is about safe-speed, to adjust your speed to any possible future necessacity.
In the end, I would try to drive home the lessons of Prudence to the budding sea officers.

Question, today was how to counter the challenge of anchora d-shackle slip, and that of valve seat-ring burst, because if it can happen today , it can happen anyday. And you are only being lucky that anchor got noticed when the weather was not bad, and it was bright day and u r not in a river passage, and seatring burst when u were not in US ports or in the Marpol restricted area. The ship-contained pollution could have had u arrested.
Are you working on the safety line of ur goodluck alone, or the ISO and ISM Accreditations have helped improve ur fate ?
In my thinking, a manager should have a management philosophy deep nourished on matters of prudence.
The modern day Prudence would lessons in Legalities as well. Because consider the arguments, --'A' , a ship manager, makes a claim that such anchor jobs cannot be forecast because these are not in possibility range and anyway ship staff can anyway do it by its resources.
B's claim could be about the payment of reward money for doing the job and saving millions for the company, and also for going out of bounds of his ITF-IBF job details, ' no overside works' , to complete it.! What is the prudent action that can save such expenditures and embarrassments? A dry dock inspection?
But how did it get skipped? In the haste to save money, certain jobs of drydocks were avoided; further embarrassment was saved to the company by non-payment of salvage reward money , which can be claimed to be due for the shipboard staff who did the job. There was undoubtably serious risk involved in the job and it saved huge money to the company, while the work in not in the normal and routine profile of the sea men's work.
Someone, the dry docking PIC's of the vessel have not done a fair job then, the consequences of which have been borne by the incumbent ship staff. Companies should be forced to make one 'ship staff salvage fund' and pay to its seamen if such works are performed on the vessel. This shipboard salvage fund must be built-up from the dry-docking budget of the vessel.
The future ship managers must get the pressure of having an unworthy ship for operations of cargo carriage, so that due dillidence on their part is not missed out. Presently, engine staff will be the greatest beneficiary of such funds because serious engine troubles are most common on ships.
Unless the ship managers learn some management lessons of Prudence - of Legalities and honouring them, the bad ships will continue to prevail even with all of ISM, ISO and STCW.
However, one aspect of Prudence will continue to have sufficiently resourced staff and skillsmen on ships to be able to meet any eventual failures. The 'confused'( those who don't understand the concept of Salvaging) brands of ship managers, as of today, quietly hush away the salvage reward owed to ship staff by questioning - what else for have u been posted on board a ship!??