North P&I Club is subsidizing the cost of an online seafarer evaluation program, part of a loss prevention effort that targets “officer quality and culture.”
The evaluation program's standardized tests, developed and offered by Seagull Maritime, can be taken anywhere with an internet connection and a computer. "Seafarer knowledge assessment and benchmarking is an important tool to highlight knowledge gaps. Seagull is currently the only provider of an online benchmarking tool of this type," said North deputy loss prevention director Colin Gillespie.
Gillespie suggests that "officer quality" issues are a component in most major claims, but a tight employment market may force shipowners to retain less-than-optimum staff in order to meet manning requirements. "We are encouraging our members to find and keep quality seafarers – as well as to identify those who are not," he said.
Studies by Allianz suggest that at least three-quarters of vessel casualties involve some form of human error, and many may be attributable to seafarer knowledge and skill. Seagull says that about eight percent of qualified officers get less than half of the questions right on its evaluation tests – a level of performance that may indicate a dangerous lack of knowledge.
"The CES service will . . . enable members to focus their training efforts, create benchmarks to compare manning agents, and to monitor crew quality over time by rank, nationality and crew pool," Gillespie said. "While all crew will have STCW certificates, attracting, selecting, recruiting and retaining the right STCW-certified crew – and identifying the ‘wrong’ ones – is critically important to our members."