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MCIA Launches New Safety Initiative in 2009

Maritime Casualty Investigation Association intends to keep an eye on safety, assist industries its members serve and to play a positive and active role in promoting the new IMO Casualty Code (as part of SOLAS) and providing an educational resource regarding duties and obligations under that code.

Commentary

Bringing MCIA into being is an exciting and challenging process, particularly at a time when much of the maritime industry is tightening its belt and money is short. When times are hard and difficult decisions have to be made it is tempting to put safety issues on the backburner, to reduce training, rethink maintenance schedules and to take money-saving shortcuts. It is precisely at times like this that organisations like MCIA have the important task of keeping an eye on the safety ball and assisting the industries its members serve.

Over the past few years casualty statistics have been at best a mixed bag, at worst revealing worrying trends that must be addressed. There is an identifiable risk that those trends will worsen under the pressure of the financial crisis, it is important to develop strategies that will minimise the impact of the situation on the safety of seafarers, their ships and the environment.

We must also work together towards decriminalising seafarers, a significant burden on the industry. This is a trend that must be firmly resisted.

All of which means that MCIA, as well as other organisations, will have an uphill task over the next year. It is a task we must firmly take in hand.

Membership

MCIA continues to attract membership applications from an interesting and broad spectrum, including public and private sector and individual seafarers, with a geographical spread that includes the US, UK, Russia, Bulgaria, Australia, New Zealand and Iran among others. We seem to be well on our way to becoming a watering hole for our members to learn, compare and influence the development of maritime accident investigation as a profession and establish a core set of competencies, a key objective.

Please help spread the word about MCIA and its objectives.

Fees

At the moment MCIA is taking applications but is not yet invoicing for membership fees. We are in the process of setting up to accept online payments to make payment easy and membership accessible and hope to have news on that front shortly.

In the meantime, recognising the financial situation affecting many would-be members and that pioneers deserve to be rewarded, we have decided that membership fees paid by 31st March 2009 will also cover 2010. In other words one year's membership fee will cover both years.

We do have an agenda for this "two for one" approach: The new IMO Casualty Code becomes mandatory on 1st January 2010 as part of SOLAS and MCIA intends to play a positive and active role in promoting the new code and providing an educational resource regarding duties and obligations under that code.

Website

This should be up and running by the middle of January. It will include a library of maritime accident-related material available for download, either stored on the site or linked to other sites. It is intended that this include basic "how to" materials as well as more advanced and academic material relevant to maritime accident investigation and we welcome suggestions from members and others.

On the same basis we would like to put together a library of software appropriate to maritime accident investigation. Two typical examples are Tufts University's Visual Understanding Environment and OpenFTA by Formal Software Construction. MCIA also hopes to develop code-compliant templates and ontologies with the help of its members. By doing so, MCIA hopes to encourage common methodologies and systems.

Conference

We had hoped to hold our first international conference in Subic Bay, Philippines, before July 2009 but the present situation suggests it may be better to hold this over to late 2009 or early 2010. We would welcome feedback and ideas.on this issue.

Meetings

It is MCIA's intent to leverage the internet as far as possible to encourage international co-operation and debate. Currently it is proposed that there be a quarterly international members-only meeting held online using freely-available conferencing software.

Seminars

It has been proposed that MCIA should conduct online seminars. We would welcome suggestions and, indeed, offers to present such seminars. Once again, feedback welcome.

Competency Management

IDESS Interactive Technologies now includes maritime accident investigation competencies under its Casys competency assurance product offerings. at a quite modest fee.

Email Robert Rayner at rkr@idess.com or Tony Noakes at ajn@idessinteractive.com for further information.

CBT

MCIA is presently developing a maritime accident investigation CBT which will familiarise users with the new IMO code as well as best practices in maritime accident investigation with work-through practical examples taken from the Maritime Accident Casebook library. It will include relevant accident investigator competencies as well as other materials that can be used by maritime accident investigators in their day to day work, together with a certificate of completion.