Here are some examples of the problems we have been consulted on.  The scenarios that follow give you a flavour of our approach.

Scenario – Lost-time incidents

A tanker owner-operator has been experiencing an increasing number of lost-time incidents on-board their vessels. 

What we do to help…

  • Understand the problem by talking to shore-based and seagoing staff, analysing records and documents.
  • Categorise the root causes – for example, poor working practices, lack of situational awareness, not managing the workload, undertaking critical tasks at inappropriate times, lack of harmonious working relationships on-board, poor communication between ship and shore, cultural misunderstandings, poor safety culture.
  • Develop options for appropriate and affordable solutions– for example, involving seafarers in revising or mapping procedures and systems, rethinking recruitment and retention practices and/or designing a programme for staff development.

Scenario – Recruitment & retention

A large cruise ship company is having problems attracting and retaining engineering officers.

What we do to help…

  • Assess job profiles and job families in the organisational structure and review management reporting lines to understand job and organisation design factors.
  • Review pay and benefits package to determine equity/fairness and competitiveness in the market.
  • Interview incumbents and potential applicants to understand motivators and career aspirations.
  • Carry out a crew survey to identify contributory factors in the work environment and relationships which are affecting retention, such as communication, involvement in decision making, perceptions of supervisory  and organisational support,
  • Use crew seminars to feedback the survey results and identify priorities for action
  • Recommend an action plan and communication strategy to ensure that the changes are implemented and people are informed of actions taken.

Scenario – Damage to ship

A cruise ship company reports a number of seemingly unconnected problems to do with their ships being damaged in berthing.

What we do to help…

  • Participate in incident investigation and debriefing, observing and listening to the discussion in order to understand the explanations being forwarded for these incidents.
  • Reframe the scenarios to identify the resource management and leadership issues which may have contributed to the problems.
  • Observe the operational practices of a sample of ships in order to evaluate the communications and interactions of senior staff with each other and their teams in mooring operations.
  • Carry out a safety culture audit of the operational teams to identify underlying leadership and relationship issues hampering safe operations.
  • Debrief the senior management of the ship and the bridge team on the key findings regarding strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Provide recommendations to strengthen leadership on-board.
  • Develop a leadership development programme.

Scenario – Fatigue

A major incident investigation reveals that the likely cause is officers falling asleep on duty.

What we do to help…

  • Investigate the fatigue risks associated with the operation such as the trading patterns of the vessel, overtime hours worked and the watch schedules being used on-board.
  • Conduct visits to vessels and discuss with ships’ staff the impact of working patterns on their fatigue levels and well-being.
  • Use bio-mathematical modelling tools to examine a range of different scenarios for managing 24x7 operations to determine how best to organise rosters and manning levels and identify times of high-risk due to sleep deprivation.
  • Develop a fatigue risk management strategy that integrates with the safety management system in operation in the company.
  • Audit fatigue levels post-implementation using state-of-the-art technologies.