02 May 2017 – North P&I Club has entered into an exclusive partnership with Seagull Maritime AS to incentivise its shipowner members to consider Seagull’s crew evaluation and benchmarking service. The initiative is part of a pioneering campaign by North to support its members in their aim to attract, recruit and retain the ‘right crew’ for their ships, as an important step towards tackling the global crew skills shortage.
Over the next 12 months any North shipowner member wishing to assess its existing and potential crew members – whether directly employed or supplied via manning agents – can use Seagull’s unique online crew evaluation system (CES) and associated benchmarking tool for a 25% discount on the standard US$4,000 fee.
According to James Moran, head of North’s Singapore office, North’s root cause analysis of major claims identified issues with officer quality and safety culture to be present in the majority of incidents. ‘Quality issues are a problem in an employment market characterised by officer shortages but in which shipowners must meet minimum manning standards. This can result in low quality officers who, in a more balanced supply and demand situation may struggle to find work, continuing to circulate in the market. These officers can be both ineffective in their work and potentially unsafe. Through our Right Crew initiative we are encouraging our members to find and keep quality seafarers – as well as to identify those who are not.’
Drawing on the theme of Singapore Maritime Week 2017 of ‘navigating through challenging times’, the global skills shortage among crew is a major concern for the international shipping industry, but has a particular impact in Asia, given the significant proportion of the global seafarer workforce that come from the region.
Moran adds, ‘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, so we are delighted to have joined forces with the company to offer our members an exclusive 12-month discount on its innovative evaluation and benchmarking service.’
Michael McCabe, managing director of Seagull UK, says, ‘North is well known for its pioneering and innovative approach to loss prevention so we are very pleased to be working with them on this campaign. North members who sign up to our service can immediately offer online tests to crew members to evaluate their background knowledge.’
Seagull reports that 8% of qualified seafarers scored less than 40%. ‘Low levels of knowledge can be a potential danger to the ship, the crew and to the individual themselves. Where low levels of knowledge are identified they must be addressed. This may be through training programs.’ says Moran. ‘The CES service will also 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. Although this is a global initiative in response to a global problem, it is is particularly relevant here in Asia, given the high number of seafarers drawn from China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, The Philippines and other countries in the region.’
CES tests, which can be taken anywhere on a standard PC, are based on over 5000 multiple-choice questions on knowledge areas in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). Test results are recorded and benchmarked against the CES global database of over 700,000 tests carried out since 2010.
In October last year North published three new briefings entitled Attracting the ‘Right Crew?’, Selecting / Recruiting the ‘Right Crew?’ and Retaining the ‘Right Crew?’ ‘The right crew for a shipowner depends on the type of vessel, where it operates, the demands of the sector and company preferences,’ says Moran. ‘While all crew will have STCW certificates, attracting, selecting, recruiting and retaining the right STCW-certified crew is critically important to our members.
‘We hope our partnership with Seagull will help raise awareness of the quality issues and offer practical assistance to our Members in their efforts to employ the Right Crew.’
North offers further assistance to shipowner members in the region through its Pre-Employment Medical Scheme in the Philippines, which provides guidance for members on enhanced pre-employment medical screening of Filipino officers and crew. Further details on the scheme can be found in its briefing entitled Pre-Employment Medical Scheme – Philippines.
About North P&I Club
North P&I Club is a leading global marine insurer providing P&I, FD&D, war risks and ancillary insurance to 140 million GT of owned tonnage. Through its guaranteed subsidiary Sunderland Marine, North is also a leading insurer of fishing vessels, small craft and aquaculture risks. The Standard and Poor’s ‘A’ rated club is based in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK with regional offices in Greece, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore and Sunderland Marine offices worldwide. North is a leading member of the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG), with 11.5% of the IG’s owned tonnage. The 13 IG clubs provide liability cover for approximately 90% of the world’s ocean-going tonnage and, as a member of the IG, North protects and promotes the interests of the international shipping industry. For further information visit: www.nepia.com.
About Seagull Maritime AS
Seagull Maritime AS is the leading provider of competence management solutions and e-learning material for seafarers worldwide and offers a comprehensive library of training and onboard courses for regulatory compliance and improved seafarer knowledge. Founded in 1996 and based near Oslo in Norway, it now has regional offices in the UK, Germany, Poland, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Greece. Seagull works in partnership with leading shipping companies to deliver a full range of competence management, training administration, assessment and training tools that ensure meeting and exceeding STCW and IMO standards. Its solutions have been delivered to over 9400 ships and office installations around the world. For further information visit www.seagull.no/maritime.