Feedback – A failure in XXX Resource Management

Perusing ” A failure in XXX Resource Management” I must accept the authors concern. Although encompassing, the point is understood: the maritime industry has problems. It is mostly people and a close second is political and management oversight. Regardless of license, experience and qualification every mariner has the right and personal obligation to warn of impending danger. The author, in personal style, expressed concerns and opinions. For that impressive step, appreciation is warranted and any factual argument by those not agreeing should be espoused and considered; i.e., open a pilot house window and let in some fresh air.

COSCO BUSAN. Captain Sun and Pilot Cota have created an awareness that bad thing can happen and that determining responsibility and fault(s) is evidently not simple. The suspects are government, officials, owners, managers, operators, public committees, associations and the primary target, ship board persons. How many errors were committed may not be known, but the probability that only Captain Sun and Pilot Cota are alone responsibile is suspect.

Since America was only a gathering of colonies, commerce has been the sustaining life blood of economic and political survival. To impede commerce with redundant and useless laws, a political solution, is to deny growth and deter competition. There is a need for the maritime community, local, regional, national and international to clean-up their respective acts. Pilotage, in general as a service, not just a business is in a universal state of confusion as to qualification, competency and what is acceptable seamanship. Money alone is not the panacea, personal dedication and skillfullness come to mind.

As an accepted process licensed pilots, in most cases are found competent by virtue of their tested local knowledge. Licensed officers are also examined and based on a percentage score, licensed. That process has been historically accepted , however reliability and proficiency in the myriad of tasks required to be performed is not. A master, acting as co-pilot may not be equally qualified or competent as the person directing the navigation of the vessel, and therefore errors in judgment may be overlooked. The public is unaware and yet public safety is of concern. How many similar errors are repeated before the law of averages kicks in?

 

The history of pilotage is replete with cases where mandated local licensed pilots were not considered competent to moor and undock vessels; a specialized skill. Not to say they were not, but owners and managers were concerned and cautious; and they pay the bills.

The comparison of the pilots role versus the masters alludes to the increased burden for masters while the duties of pilots has changed little. Both are presently compensated at their worth, but in any grouping there is an average. Each has undergone various forms of training and then turned lose to practice, essentially without evaluation. Although copious dollars are spent on training individuals, the bridge teams may not be. An untrained team lacking discipline is a gang. Although not specifically pronounced the role of owners, managers and operators must include responsibility for any failure to verify that employees are qualified and competent and perform in the manner required by rule. A vessel found undermanned, crewed with unqualified persons or lacking operational proficiency is unseaworthy and local authority, as a matter of public policy, should be responsible to detain it. – John Denham