Spotlight on the surveyors
Modern seafarers may sometimes be concerned at the number of agencies and authorities which seem to spend all their time checking up on them. No previous generation has been so closely surveyed, inspected and audited, by flag states, class, port state, charterers and insurers.
The latest edition of Alert! the international Human Element Bulletin turns its attention to the people who are undertaking this important work of inspection and surveying. It suggests that the responsibility of surveyors and inspectors should not be underestimated, such is their contribution to maritime safety and efficient shipping. But it also points out that this is work carried out by human beings, not robots or automatons, and the very human qualities that come to the fore during an inspection as the inspector’s interaction with those whose ships are being surveyed remains enormously important.
You cannot program integrity, professionalism and transparency – three of the most essential qualities of a surveyor or inspector – into a computer; they are a product of ethics, training, knowledge and character, all very much part of the palette of the human element.
In our industry these qualities will have to come to the fore in a markedly international and often cross-cultural context, where surveyors and inspectors will interface with those whose first language may not be their own. Respect for others, along with an understanding of human behaviour and a courteous manner are all important attributes of the successful surveyor and inspector, while the same sort of qualities do not go unappreciated among those whose ships are undergoing the necessary scrutiny of surveyors.
This latest series of Alert! bulletins defines the responsibilities of particular stakeholder groups with respect to the human element, and the surveying and inspection process surely illustrates “the importance of productive human interaction”.
Articles in this bulletin focus on the special responsibilities and notable competencies demanded of the classification society surveyor, and the way in which tanker assessment and inspection is presently taking, with its need for two-way understanding and respect. The important relationship of the P&I ship inspector with the clients is underlined, showing how in this field knowledge and experience play such a significant role. Articles on auditing skills and surveyor training shine a light on this essential role, with the emphasis always being on the human element and the contribution made by the right attitudes, and negotiating skills along with the other important human attributes that make the competent surveyor.
The Alert! Project – launched in October 2003 – is a campaign to improve the awareness of the human element in the maritime industry. This is a Nautical Institute project, sponsored by The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust.
Further information about the human element awareness initiative, and electronic copies of Alert! can be found at www.he-alert.org.
The Nautical Institute is the international representative body for maritime professionals and others with an interest in nautical matters. It provides a wide range of services to enhance the professional standing and knowledge of members who are drawn from all sectors of the maritime world.
Founded in 1972, it is a thriving international professional body, with over 40 branches world-wide and some 7, 000 members in more than 110 countries.
The Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust (The LRET) is an independent charity that was established in 2004. Its principal purpose is to support advances in transportation, science, engineering and technology education, training and research worldwide for the benefit of all. It also funds work that enhances the safety of life and property at sea, on land and in the air. The LRET focuses on four categories:
• pre-university education: through appropriate organisations, promotes careers in science, engineering and technology to young people, their parents and teachers
• university education: through universities and colleges, provides undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships and awards at first degree/masters levels to students of exceptional ability
• vocational training and professional development: supports professional institutions, educational and training establishments working with people of all ages
• research: funds existing or new centres of excellence at institutes and universities