2 July 2013 – The ITF’s new representative on the IMO (International Maritime Organization), Branko Berlan, kicked off his new role by urging measures to promote a safety culture for all seafarers and passengers on board ships at the IMO maritime safety committee on 17 June.
Berlan joined the ITF from the Seafarers’ Union of Croatia, where he had been assistant general secretary since 1991. Previously, he had been a seafarer for 15 years, finishing his seafaring career as chief engineer.
He commented: “As was demonstrated at the IMO meeting, the ITF is a powerful voice in the maritime industry and I look forward to helping influence and shape maritime policy. Our priorities will be to create a new approach to the safety culture in the maritime industry, including better training and appropriate manning.”
At the IMO committee, Berlan joined Mike Murphy, chair of the ITF maritime safety committee, and other ITF maritime representatives in pressing a number of issues. These included calling for provisions on ship design and equipment to prevent injuries and deaths during lifeboat drills to be mandatory; making implementation the responsibility of the flag state administration or ship owner; and making the current voluntary guideline on evacuation of large passenger ships more relevant to increasingly large vessels by closely integrating into the evacuation plan the requirement for sufficient, well-trained crew with good communicating skills, as well as design improvements.
They also urged administrations to investigate and report to the IMO all serious maritime casualties, to improve the industry and meet the IMO secretary-general’s target to halve the number of lives lost annually; and asked the industry to recognize that administrative burdens fundamental to seafarer safety should “exist as a baseline of work that has to fit in with the rest of the work on the ship”.