Many maritime incidents could have been prevented by the use of a navigation assessment. The way that an assessment should be conducted to the best advantage of ship operator and crew alike is the subject of a new book published today by The Nautical Institute.
Navigation Assessments explains how an assessment conducted in a positive and constructive way can provide tangible benefits for maritime safety while contributing to the professional development of bridge team members.
The book was launched at a seminar at the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in London, where author Captain Harry Gale, together with Paul Whyte of LOC, Captain Yves Vandenborn, Director Loss Prevention at The Standard Club, and Stuart Edmonston of UK P&I Club, discussed navigation accidents and the value of carrying out assessments. They looked at why assessments are necessary and what should be done with the assessors’ findings.
Vandenborn said: “In recent years, The Standard Club has seen a worrying increase in incidents relating to navigation, which could have been avoided. Carrying out navigation assessments while sailing is essential in order to maintain navigational standards on board and prevent incidents.”
He continued: “This book gives detailed guidance on the importance of navigation assessments, how to carry them out properly and what to do with the information obtained. It is a valuable resource for anyone at sea and we are delighted to have worked with The Nautical Institute on it.”
The use of the term ‘assessment’ rather than ‘audit’ is intended to emphasize the positive and to encourage crews to be truthful with assessors. An assessment should be conducted over several days at sea so that the assessor can gain an understanding of the culture on board and identify the navigation team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Coaching, consultation and feedback between assessor and bridge team can break down barriers and build stronger safety cultures.
The handbook acts as a practical step-by-step guide that will enable the assessor to carry out a fair and objective assessment which properly takes into account human element issues. Navigation Assessments is also intended to help mariners understand the assessment process. Thirty case studies of recent maritime accidents and incidents provide valuable learning points. It provides insights into cyber-security, training and mentoring, communication and cultural understanding, and the end-of-voyage briefing.
In his foreword to the book, Steve Clinch, Chief Inspector at the UK Marine Accidents Investigation Branch, states: “In my view, every ship’s manager, Master, deck officer and navigational assessor should have a copy of this guide to hand, no matter what their experience.”
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