Complacency and Seafarers

Perfection is a state which has never been awarded by almighty and neither been achieved by mankind. However a workable perfection, sometimes called 'Approximation', has often been achieved by man through a 'clever management'. Clever management can be described as a result of human intelligence and intellectualism. The GPS technology giving geographical positions to accuracy level in centimeters,the Law Court awarding death penalties, are a few example of what perfections can be achieved. Perfections in Ship operations management is no more a distant dream even when there cannot be a perfect ship and a perfect man. There can be a 'workable perfect' team of managers if the visions are correct. How much can the public governance be an exemption?
The understanding on the matter of Perfection has a role to play in understanding what is Hypocrisy, while we accuse of our incumbent governance system and our cultural values of having Hypocrisy. Plainly speaking, Hypocrisy is a lie, as observed in the law. Person 'A' is not a hypocrite if he promotes Prohibition of Alcohol even while *admiting* of himself as an Alcoholic. However, 'A' is a hypocrite if he promotes Prohibition while not publically accepting his own alcoholism. (additional note, how self-admission affect the matters of hypocrisy.) In matters of attending perfections, (e.g. the Ram-Rajya in governance, or, maybe a perfectly liberal state of Democracy), Hypocrisy is truely lying in refusing to attempt to achieve them for the reasons that perfections cannot be achieved, through a self-admission. Hypocrisy, in matters of achieving perfections, is not in attempting to achieve perfections while knowing that it cannot be achieved and still "(sort of) making fool of people" to work for something which can never be reached, the perfections. Here Belief holds superior to self-knowledge.Such is the irony of Hypocrisy perhaps because the social goal of governance has been set for infinity for 'conglomeration of people' to exist for such times.
Complacency is a situation where Perfections have been achieved and nothing more is required to be done to further perfect the system. In another shipboard training, Complacency is narrated as the Auto-pilot mode of life, comparable to a well-trained vehicle driver who as a result of mundane works of driving, becomes mechanical, thoughtless and therefore less safety-conscious. Seafarers are often cautioned to not become complacent which is to mean that they should not fall in belief of safety procedures being fully achieved, life being fully secured thus to grant luxury to work thoughtless, mechanically.
In religion, Complacency means 'inner tranquility'. The Buddhist faith strives to achieve the tranquility by elimination of all desires. Towards this interpretation, Complacency is a state that humans and religion aspire for.
Complacency however remains a managerial challenge and not an individual challenge. This is because the state of complacency in an individual arrives normally when he has achieved his state of workable perfections in his job. He has then reached his comfort zone of doing the task. Warnings of complacency, and methods to overcome it should not destroy his comfort zone. And at the same time self-knowledge cannot be full cure for the problem of human nature. Tiredness cannot be treated by merely informing that 'you are tired now'. So is boredom. In vehicle driving job, the constant reminders of safety procedures over Radio Channels mixed with soothing music serve to do overcome complacency.
In The study of accidents, the summary is that 'Most accidents are caused due to human error'. This managerial lesson and how it transforms ill-meaning on its application on Individual, is a case to study. With this report in their arms, many ship managers raised an alarm to their crew. When an accident happened, they would begin an exercise to find a man to put the human error on , because 'mostaccidents are caused by human error'. The story of complacency is not going any different route. To serves the needs of cut-throat business competetion (and evils walking-in, laws being secretly flouted), Managers get the seafarer to make papers to show all trainings are going well, the planned maintenance being fully achieved, and all legislations including the Rest hours being all achieved. Later, warn the sea farer of becoming complacency, And when accidents happen, to charge the seafarer of being complacent !! Obviously, what the ship managers imply is that "bloody Seafarers have stopped working", otherwise why else would every record would show a perfect compliance?
Complacency warning had effectively aimed to destroy the comfort zone of Seafarers, besides the issues of Leadership style, and the inter personal-relations.


  1. no machine/system works or fails by itself, but when it fails who is to be blamed...a friend narrated a story, few days back, of a merchant ship in Africa being delayed on port for several hours because an african hid in the garbage on the ship to escape from the country,caught by the port authorities the ship management had to go through lots and lots of paper work..somebody got complacent of duty for sure! once complacency creeps in, you stop to look beyond the obvious.

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  3. we will have to do little paraphrasing to clear out to ourselves where does Complacency step-in in the line, 'no machine/system works or fails by itself'.
    I understand in this, that you are taking the whole ship as one machine being operated by humans, the event of failure you describe is that of Stowaway hiding in the Ship resulting in the loss of man-hours, a kind of 'failure of the big machine'.
    Further, In your views, "once the complacency creeps in, the people stop to look beyond the obvious".

    In my write-up, I have struggled hard to derive the meaning and usage of the word 'Complacency'. Complacency, in my thoughts, is more or less, the 'inner tranquility'. however, Complacency is not "tranquility by achieving the state of perfection".
    I have insisted on the word Complacency being abusively used , to describe the human failures because such usages are sequencing into the solutions of the problems being sought by way of hard pressing on the humans. Towards this, I have said, "Complacency however remains a managerial challenge...." (the tired horse cannot be asked to defeat tiredness by being warned of possible Tiredness, much as men cannot be separated from their search for the 'Inner Tranquility' , the Complacency.)

    The solution of such losses of man-hours, as the problem of Stowaway is a large problem of machine-society interface. Even if the machine has suffered the loss of man-hours, the one leg of cause lies in the Society too.
    The crew on duty in-charged to prevent climbing of stowaway cannot be described as being 'complacent'. This is where I contest, this is an abusive usage of the word and the concept of Complacency.
    In the standard of cases, the ships cast off from the port, go outside from the berth, anchor off and then do a stowaway search before finally proceeding to sea. The paper-work arising due to a stowaway being found is a part of the procedural duty to perform. There cannot and should not be a complain of work-load. Failures are part of human life, and causes of failures in such cases often are never investigated because of an ever-going mouse-cat chase game being the security staff and the possible stowaway to hid himself away. Infact, the timely detection of the stowaway before leaving the port limit where the stowaway came on the ship is a case of 'job well done".!

    How should one bring in the word 'Complacency' in this, unless of course, the reporting person , you friend in this case, has been a feudalistic attitude person ("solutions of the problems being sought by way of hard pressing on the humans"), who sees the errors and shortcomings due to human nature as necessarily the individual personalized mistakes. Over-sighting, getting tired, forgetting , are errors and shortcomings of human nature. The case of complacency would be when inner-peace has been found with these deficiencies of human beings, and the exploration of the avenues of adopting technological assistance stopped. If the reporting person has real care to prevent stowaways, he should consider hiring dedicated security team and the instrumentation (the camera, the nigh visions, etc) to work over.

    The general ship routine in this case to save on the cost, 'the complacency("the inner peace") on the economics of sea trade', is otherwise to work it over by way of on-anchoring search of the full ship before proceeding to sea.

  4. ida,

    In short, your friend is probable being a Feudalistic Narcissist person, because the procedural way of departing from all ports is to carry out a stowaway search just before the departure. And, In the case of African ports, by proceeding the ships to anchorage to conduct such searches because African ports are more prone to stowaway activities.
    A stowaway found before the final departure is a case of 'job well done', even if little delays and some cost have been incurred.

    The feudal narcissist behaviour (in psychology) confuses up the short coming of human-nature as the case of individual failure so to find a source for his 'narcissist supply' by hard-pressing on his victim.
    Fact is, such failures are common, and more when the ship crew is involved in other tasks too beside the Security/Stowaway watch. By your personal experience you should understand where the human shortcomings intervene, and such causes should note be individually assigned.
    If the watchman on duty goes to sleep and a theft happens, it is not his failure anymore in the Humanitarian World after the world war II. The laws will bind on the house owner to set Burglar Alarm, properly lock and seal the house, wel-lit, security camera installed, and maybe a comfortable cabin with the security cover for the security staff for accomplishing the task of preventing theft. And if a failure still happens, the owner might still have to take the blame, for not having the Insurance. The owner may still not be able to nail the security man !


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