Importance – Maritime safety is important because neglecting it can lead to unfathomable disasters such as the fatal tanker explosion of the Bow Mariner, the sinking of the Motor Ship (MS) Estonia, the MS Herald of Free Enterprise accident, and the sinking of the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic,

Aside from maritime accident prevention, another key reason why maritime safety should be prioritized is that it can actively help lower the risk profiles of ships. Ship risk profiles are used by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Port State Control to determine the intervals between the required periodic inspections.

A Low Risk Ship (LRS) can have an inspection interval of 3 years, while a High Risk Ship (HRS) may need to be inspected every 5 months. The Paris MoU’s New Inspection Regime (NIR), which includes ship risk profiling, applies to its 27 member states, These include, among others, Canada, the United Kingdom, and most European countries.

Why is safety first onboard a ship important?

Taking Care of Personal Safety on Ships – Personal safety primarily includes the various ways and means which sailors can adopt to stay safe on an individual level, such as careful movement around the ship, steady handling of heavy cargo, etc. In addition, appropriate use of safety equipment is also a part of personal safety on ships.

Wearing Protective Clothing

It is imperative to wear comfortable and well-fitted clothes on board a ship as loose clothes can get caught in the machinery and cause injuries. Proper footwear with slip-resistant soles helps in minimizing the risks of slipping and must be worn at all times on the ship.

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment includes safety helmets, shoes, goggles, ear-muffs, safety harness, life-jackets, life rafts, etc., which is used to safeguard the individual seafarer from any harm. This equipment is mandatory for ships to ensure that there are no fatalities due to lack of life-saving appliances.

Safety Equipment for the Crew

Apart from personal life-saving devices used aboard ships, there are safety equipment for the entire crew, including lifeboats, fire extinguishers, fire suits and breathing devices, emergency medical equipment, and distress signals for summoning help.

Movement About the Ship

On ships carrying heavy cargo, the containers should be securely tied at all times. Sudden lurching of the ships may cause these to dislocate if not tied properly, which can result in major bodily harm. It is necessary to be constantly on alert for slippery patches, unguarded railings, or open hatches through which people may fall.

Appropriate Use and Placement of Tools

Portable tools and equipment must be carried with both hands. In case of climbing or descending a staircase, the equipment should be carried in a tool belt (if handy) or across the body, leaving the hands free for a firm grip. Portable power tools such as drills and welding equipment should be checked before operation and must be used only by professionals.

Steady Handling of Dangerous Cargo

Cargo often consists of highly flammable fuels and other such dangerous materials. Such cargoes must be stored away from the passengers. Safety instructions must be followed and the cargo must be labeled and segregated according to its nature. The containers must regularly be checked for any spills or leaks as they can prove to be hazardous.


Mooring is the process of anchoring the ship to the docks, using equipment such as ropes, cables, chains, deadweight anchors, etc. During this process, the passengers must stay away from the mooring area. While mooring goods and cargo, ropes under tremendous strain can break and cause damage.

The entire area should be cleared before mooring. The safety of the ship depends upon the safety of the passengers. Therefore, it is necessary to put your own safety first and take the proper precautions and follow the rules while travelling onboard a ship. The SOLAS convention of 1914 has been a pathbreaker in this area, emphasising the necessity of maritime safety.

Not only has the act taken ship and seafarer safety to new heights, but it has also spurred many amendments by the IMO to improve cargo management. Ship and safety equipment manufacturers in India provide all the required safety gear while travelling on water.

What are the safety practices onboard ship?

3. Working on board – Several hazards are common to all areas of vessels. Insects are very resilient and can be found almost anywhere, rats have been found in holds and soiled items can be dropped by people in all areas and should not be touched without gloves.

  1. Ship’s equipment: Never attempt to examine any equipment on board until you have consulted a responsible officer.
  2. Unskilled interference with safety equipment, navigational apparatus or electrical systems can affect the seaworthiness of the vessel, jeopardising the safety of the passengers and crew.
  3. You would be committing a criminal offence.

Passenger areas and crew quarters: When searching these areas, be wary of sharp objects which may be secreted in the upholstery. If you move any safety equipment, e.g. lifejackets, you must put it back before you leave the vessel. Stowage compartments and lockers: Beware of hazardous chemicals and equipment.

Look first and request assistance from the crew if you are not sure what the area contains. Toilets: As well as presenting potential health hazards, in the form of discarded hypodermic needles, etc., toilets might contain corrosive cleaning chemicals and disinfectants. If you need to search these areas, wear appropriate safety clothing and equipment, particularly gloves, and wash your hands immediately afterwards.

Galleys: Electrical cooking equipment operates at high voltages and could be very hot. Beware of broken glass, etc. in rubbish bags and bins. Some vessels are equipped with galley lifts. These are particularly dangerous and should not be used for gaining access.

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Why is the safety of life at sea important?

The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) is an important international treaty concerning the safety of merchant ships. It ensures that ships registered by signatory States comply with minimum safety standards in construction, equipment and operation of ships.

What is safety of life onboard?

Life Buoy on a Cruise Ship (Photo: Marcel Kriegl/Shutterstock) SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) is the shorthand term used to refer to an international treaty that creates standards of safe construction and operation of both passenger and merchant ships.

  • It came about following the 1914 sinking of the Titanic.
  • The official name of the treaty is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.
  • The premise of the treaty is that signatory countries will ensure that ships sailing under their flag will adhere to the standards set forth by the treaty.

The treaty has been amended numerous times since 1914. In 1974, it was agreed that future amendments would be automatically adopted unless there are objections from a predetermined number of signatory countries. The current version of the treaty is therefore referred to as “SOLAS 1974, Amended,” even though it has been amended as recently as 2017 to incorporate new ship designs and technology.

What does safety first is safety always mean?

Conclusion – Safety 1st is a slogan that means it’s always best to avoid unnecessary risks, It sounds like an easy task, but sometimes we so hurry in making deadlines and meeting the goals that we forget about the safety of ourselves and others. We encourage you to remember this slogan because it can ultimately save lives! Some experts believe as many as hundreds of people die per day from workplace accidents alone.

Which is the most important factor in the safety awareness of the ships crew?

5 factors affecting situational awareness Crew members are prone to many distractions onboard; from a complex navigation bridge to high workloads while navigating their vessel through busy shipping lanes. Analysis of maritime accident reports shows that situational awareness is one of the most important safety factors, highlighting never to relax our vigilance when onboard.

A nalysis of accidents at sea that involve loss of life have highlighted the following distractions: #1 Using personal mobile devices whilst on duty Talking on cell phones can have serious consequences in safety-critical situations, and sending or reading text messages is potentially even more distracting #2 Multi-tasking while on watch Engaging in tasks other than vessel operation affects performance #3 Music on the bridge throughout the watch If the listening of music while on watch is accepted onboard, instructions should be promulgated to watchkeeping officers. #4 Work load and paperwork Crew members are front with a large amount of form-filling and record keeping being a part of today’s culture; a person onboard dedicated to such duties would ease the burden #5 Attentional disengagement or mind wandering Mind wandering or ‘zoning out’ can occur in situations where tasks are protracted, unvarying, familiar, repetitive or undemanding.

Reports from The Nautical Institute, Maritime CHIRP, UK MAIB, NTSB and ATSB include lessons learned from accidents due to poor situational awareness. Keep in mind that this is a skill that can be improved through mentoring and practice. Experience is key to making sense of your environment and making good decisions. Tags: : 5 factors affecting situational awareness

How do you improve safety culture onboard?

Marine Safety Culture is one of the most important aspects of shipping. It includes providing security to the life and property aboard a vessel and in the organization with the help of proper management, technology, and rules. Safety culture in an organization focuses on establishing a safe environment for people who work there and recognizing and preventing any mishaps that may occur.

The process of implementing safety culture in the company starts with understanding the key points of safety culture and then the steps organizations can take to improve it further. Implementing Safety Culture in Shipping Safety culture has been an integral part of the shipping industry for a long time now.

People sometimes find the regulations laid down for marine safety to be a little cumbersome, but they have been responsible for saving many a life on and off seas. The recent fire off the Kandla port is an example of what happens when safety culture is lax and sailors do not adhere to regulations.


Self-regulation requires an organization to set goals for its performance. Every individual working for the organization must take proper action and carry out his/her duties responsibly. Safety measures should be undertaken within the organization itself.


The organization must be given a set of rules and regulations to be followed. Though compliance alone is not enough to prevent accidents from taking place, it helps if an organization adheres to the rules.

Remedial Measures

In a typical organizational culture based on the culture of punishment, if an accident occurs, the person responsible is called to account. The motive is to influence and change the behavior of people in the organization by issuing the threat of a punishment, thus enabling them to adopt a more alert behavior. Fig: Understanding Marine Safety Culture What are the Key Components of an Effective Safety Culture?

Commitment of top-level management

It is vital that the management of any organization view safety culture as an investment and not a burden. The importance and the need for safety culture to be implemented starts at the top tiers of the organization. Without a strong leadership, the organization’s safety culture can be hard to improve.

360-degree approach to training

Employees in an organization should be given the proper and updated training that can be effective in case of an accident. This includes providing information about competently carrying out safety operations, handling safety equipment and other life-saving appliances, safety procedures, and training in recognizing and avoiding safety hazards.

  • A training regimen that guarantees an all-round coverage must be made mandatory by the organization.
  • After their training, employees should be made to understand why their near misses could be fatal and not simply blamed.
  • An error on the part of the employee must be analyzed and checked, making the employee aware of his own fault.
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This policy enables the employee to learn from his mistakes, thus making him more careful in dealing with any other scenarios and reduces errors on his part.

Current performance analysis

The organization must establish a system to measure its performance. Without a system, it is impossible to keep track of the achievements of the personnel or to learn from the mistakes that have been previously made. Performance of the organization as a whole must be analyzed and improved constantly.

Methods for improvement

Continuous implementation of proper rules and a commitment to safety can guarantee the improvement of an organization’s safety culture. The employees also need to reflect upon the improvements that can be done to improve the marine safety culture at an individual level.

Having understood the key essentials of a healthy marine safety culture, let us now turn towards how can it be improved once in place. With a view to understand the philosophy of marine safety culture in reputed ship manufacturing companies in India, we recently interviewed Mr. Rajiv Deshpande of SHM Shipcare.

Mr. Deshpande, VP and HOD (Special Projects), manages a team of 30 service engineers conducting periodic safety inspection of life-saving equipments on Indian offshore platforms. Here is an excerpt from the same. Interview on Marine Safety Culture with Mr.

Rajiv Deshpande Q1.What does the idea of Marine Safety Culture mean to you? Mr. Deshpande : Marine safety culture is like performing pooja (daily rituals), or making meals in everyday life. We have all the material, we know all the steps, the procedure, and finally how to wind up the process. This happens automatically, as this knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation and drilled into our minds by our elders, from a young age.

Similarly, the material required and safety measures should be known to every person involved in a marine job, whether onshore or offshore. He/she should do his best in the implementation of these requirements while preparing for work, in every step of execution of the work, and before winding up the job.

  1. Regular failure of equipment/services
  2. Increase in near-miss incidents or accidents
  3. Lack of awareness of required documents and rules for services
  4. Non-completion of work during regular service and incomplete service reports
  5. Non-adherence to safety drills and training schedules
  6. Shortfalls like no follow-up service report and lack of vigilance in ensuring compliance

Q3.How do Indian companies tackle/implement marine safety on their vessels? The first step is to organize the pre-service correspondence for scope of the work and the material required. This involves a toolbox meeting with a qualified service engineer.

  1. Having the required documentation in place, a checklist of system shutdown procedure and a checklist for system status before initiating the work, tools and materials issued by a qualified service engineer while performing the job, and presence of a TPI is a must.
  2. The complete service report is issued with the shortfalls and the remedies for compliance of the same.

It is also necessary to train the vessel crew as and when required. The last step is to follow-up with the client for remedying the shortfalls and submitting the final reports to the concerned authorities. Q4.What are the practical problems in implementing marine safety culture in India? How can they be resolved? The two major problems faced by marine safety culture in India are:

  • Lack of health, safety, and environment awareness and rules concerning the job in hand
  • Implementation of HSE codes in day-to-day work for better productivity and work-safe environment

This lack of compliance is observed in many accidents in India. For instance, there was a fatal accident on the ONGC offshore platform. During the maintenance activity of the high-pressure Halon system, the bolting of the cylinder was not inspected and the valves were not shut properly.

While the servicing was in progress, one of the valves opened accidentally and the cylinder was thrown out from its holding position, injuring the people nearby. This was because the checklist for system shutdown procedure and the checklist for system status before starting the work was not followed.

Q5.How does SHM provide training in the use of safety equipment? Mr. Deshpande : SHM always drives itself to give the proper training to concerned people, as per the code of IMS mandated by the IMO. However, as learning is a continuous process, there is always scope to learn more; to do better today than yesterday and tomorrow than today.

This gives an excellent insight into the values of marine safety culture in shipping industries. Based on this, we can further extrapolate the ways in which organizations can improve their safety culture. How Can Organizations Improve their Safety Culture? Organizations can improve their safety culture in several ways.

Some of these are outlined below:

Enabling their employees to follow their own ideas and encouraging them to execute them for the benefit of the organization,

This makes employees proactive and makes them feel that they are an integral part of the organization. When employees see their suggestion for safety being implemented on an organizational level, they are spurred to follow them more alertly. Making the workers aware of the company’s plans and outlines before executing them and communicating with them is another way of ensuring that your employees know you are keeping them in the loop and taking their thoughts into account before issuing any declaration.

Implement a reporting policy where you record the achievements and mistakes for each day and learn from them.

This keeps your employees constantly aware of the safety precautions they need to follow and hence, on the alert for any mishaps that could occur. Simultaneously displaying their achievements and their awareness about safety concerns helps in boosting employee confidence.

Increasing motivation, communication, and teamwork.

This influences the quality of decision-making and creates a more positive safety culture. Several leading shipping companies in our country have their independent work ethic and an individualistic safety culture. Final Thoughts We thus see that a positive maritime safety culture is imperative to carry out operations successfully.

Who is responsible for the safety onboard?

Definition of Safety Officer – Safety Officer onboard the vessel is an appointed safety adviser who promotes safety onboard by carrying out inspections, identifying hazards and potential hazards to health, safety and the environment with subject to the agreement of the Master.

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The safety officer should be familiar with the principles and practice of risk assessment and should be available to advise those preparing and reviewing risk assessments. It is recognised that where the safety officer also has other responsibilities (e.g. chief officer) they may well conduct risk assessments themselves.

However, the general principle is that the safety officer takes an independent view of safety on behalf of the Company. The safety officer must undergo sufficient training, have experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him or her properly to undertake the duty imposed under the relevant provision as per COSWP Chapter 13,

What is the first and most important step towards personal safety on ships?

The first and most important step towards personal safety on ships is to be aware of your surroundings.

Why security on board ship and in port is very important?

Why is Port Security Necessary? – Port activity is thriving around the world. Millions of tons of goods, as well as millions of passengers, pass through ports each year. Without proper security, ships, goods, ports, and passengers are at risk of harm and attack. Port security prevents nefarious activities from occurring.

Why is safety important in port operation and cargo handling?

1 Introduction – Kaohsiung Port is largest international port in Taiwan and was ranked 13th among global container ports in 2016. Such a port-city development has significant contribution in Taiwan’s economic growth but has also brought negative environmental impacts on port operations and human health.

To be a sustainable port-city, and to operate in future as a smart city, it is key for aspects such as port safety to be considered. Russo et al. note that to successfully develop cities for the future, three processes should be noted: city development, city planning theories and city rules, Improving port safety is key to the evolution of technological processes and city development, and in turn, this development should be framed within appropriate theories implemented through appropriate rules, and it is the convergence of these aspects that helps reach any practical implementation of plans,

Importantly, port operations entail many risks and related hazards such as oil spills, collisions, grounding, truck accidents, injuries, and personnel going overboard. Reducing such risks diminishes their subsequent adverse (and possibly serious) impacts on the environment, health, and also on company viability through financial loss and increased insurance costs.

Concomitantly, effective port safety has many positive impacts of increased health, green port sustainability, and reduced company costs, and is required by international law to be maintained in full conformity with IMO standards and should be measured against an appropriate benchmark such as “Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore”,

Human factors are recognised as root factors in 80–90% of incidents, Dangerous human factors include fatigue, carelessness, stress, health, situation awareness, mistakes, inadequate training, and safety culture, Further, port policies, port facilities, increased vessel traffic and loading/unloading of cargo, international policies, and force majeure events such as typhoons, earthquakes, and tidal waves are also key.

  1. There are therefore a huge number of factors studied in port safety, and much literature describes and analyses studies of these factors individually.
  2. Further to the challenges involved in maintaining port safety, numerous challenges in researching port safety exist.
  3. By maintaining we mean the actual process of keeping the port safe, in reducing risk, in reacting to events, and all the factors that may be involved here.

By researching port safety we mean the idea of investigating and establishing how such safety is achieved, what are the factors involved, and issues such as the amount and nature of the data involved. The process of actually researching port safety can be highly complex.

For example, some accidents may be caused by a combination of factors (e.g. port environment, human risk perception and safety culture, facilities failure, etc.), and ascertaining culpability and cause can be very difficult, or even impossible, Some sensitive cases may be settled out of court, some data may be official, and sensitive data involving business reputation, secrets, or lawsuits may be withheld.

For example, accident investigation of port state jurisdiction over vessels is usually limited within the territorial sea, but flag states have greater jurisdiction, Even insurance premiums, the knowledge of which would help ascertain costs and magnitude of risk, are hard to access.

There is thus a need to approach what data exists with caution and to contextualize it within whether it is self-generated or historical. In Taiwan, maritime shipping accounts for 99% of international trade. Kaohsiung port, the largest in Taiwan, accounts for 70% of container throughput, and plays a key shipping hub role in the East Asia region.

In 2015, there were 34,456 ship movements in Kaohsiung port, Footnote 1 and thus constant vigilance for port operators is essential to help ensure port safety. According to Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration report, Footnote 2 collision/contact are the main port accident causes (86.6%) and reports indicate that crews lack safety awareness.

In Taiwan, port accidents have continued to occur in Kaohsiung in recent years. Table 1 shows the publically available statistics related to fatalities/injuries and ship damage in the port of Kaohsiung during 2014–2015, and that 8 fatalities occurred, and 114 ships were damaged. Table 1 Fatalities/injuries and ship damage statistics in Kaohsiung port Table 2 shows the publically available data on the distribution of accident types.

Collision/contact has accounted for 48.1% of all accidents within Kaohsiung port. As Table 2 shows, ‘collision / contact’ is the main type of accident. When the causes are unknown, they are categorized into other types. In sum, human carelessness is recorded as the main cause in these accidents (cf.).

Regarding Port State Control ship checks, in 2015, there were 330 ships checked by Kaohsiung port authority. Of these, 286 ships were found to have shortcomings that needed to be improved and 44 were judged as “ship detention”, i.e. they were deemed to have safety shortcomings and were prevented from sailing until these had been rectified.

Footnote 3 Table 2 Accident type statistics in Kaohsiung port The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. Section 2 reviews literature around maintaining and researching port safety. Section 3 outlines and explains the approach to interviews with port operators and government officials.